Skip to main content
Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Shanti Fernando

Associate Professor

Undergraduate Program Director

Political Science

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Contact information

Bordessa Hall - Room 509
Downtown Oshawa
55 Bond Street East
Oshawa, ON

905.721.8668 ext. 3809


Dr. Shanti Fernando received her PhD degree in Political Science from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario in 2003. Her thesis on Chinese American and Chinese Canadian community development, was the subject of her subsequent UBC Press book, entitled Race and the City. Her concentration has been on Canadian public policy that can decrease inequalities in accessibility and educational and employment opportunities.

She had taught at York University in Toronto, Ontario and Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, before joining Ontario Tech University in 2008. In addition to her role as an Associate Professor at our university, she also served at Director of the University-Community Link Unit (providing links in research and education between the university and the outside community) from 2011 to 2014.

Curriculum vitae 2017


  • PhD, Political Science Queen's University 2003

Courses taught

  • Community Development Policy
  • Urban Development
  • Rural-Urban Fringe
  • Equity Policy
  • Canadian Politics
  • Theories of Policy Analysis

Research and expertise

Research background and interests:

  • adult education
  • mental health advocacy
  • community development policy
  • community organizations
  • Canadian anti-poverty policy
  • racialized minorities and advocacy research

Research supervision areas: 

  • anti-poverty activism
  • anti-racism
  • mental health policy
  • community group activism
  • urban and rural development
  • education policy
  • equity policy
  • immigration policy
  • labour market integration
  • political economy

Research areas of specialty:

  • community development and public policy

Dr. Fernando has worked with students conducting research in areas including:

  • community organizations
  • anti-poverty policies
  • issues surrounding the experiences of recent immigrants and youth
  • Aboriginal women
  • educational policy
  • government social support policies
  • agricultural policy

Ontario Tech graduate student research:

  • Benjamin Earle: Structural Violence and Anti-Poverty Strategies in Northumberland County: A Social Harm Criminology Analysis - completed 2014 (co-supervisor)

2016: Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada: 5 Year Insight Grant; "Increasing Literacies through Supported Education and Policies of Inclusion". Total Award: $169,389. Dr. Shanti Fernando (PI); Ontario Tech Co-Investigators Dr. Alyson King; Dr. Allyson Earner; Dr. Tyler Frederick; Dr. Laura Pinto; Collaborators: John Rodnick- Waypoing Centre for Mental Health Care; Kathryn Kunkel — Selkirk Mental Health Centre.

2013: Supported Literacy Education for Persons Living with Mental Illness: Exploring Social and Economic Implications. Funded by the SSHRC Insight Development Grant. $50,926. (Fernando, S [Principal Investigator], King, A, Eamer, A, Stanyon, W (Co-Investigator))


  • Recent publications

    Fernando, S., King, A., and Eamer, A. (2016). Supported Education practitioners: agents of transformation? Accepted for publication by Occupational Therapy in Mental Health.

    Zaidi, A., Fernando, S., Ammar, N. (2015). An exploratory study of the impact of information communication technology (ICT) or computer mediated communication (CMC) on the level of violence and access to service among intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors in Canada. Technology in Society. Vol 41. 91-97.

    Fernando, S., King, A., Loney, D. (2014). Helping Them Help Themselves: Supported Adult Education for Persons living with Mental Illness. Canadian Journal for Studies in Adult Education. Vol.27 (1) 15-28.

    Fernando, S, King, A: Winners and Losers: Literacy and Enduring Labour Market Inequality in Historical Perspective. Interventions Economique, 2013, 47. 2-20

    Fernando, S and Earle B: Linking Poverty Reduction and Economic Recovery: Supporting Community Responses to Austerity in Ontario. Canadian Review of Social Policy. 65/66. 31-44.

    Recent conference presentations:

    Fernando, Shanti I. (2016) Adult Educators as Community Developers at 2016 Annual Conference of Canadian Association Studies of Adult Education. CASAE/ACÉÉA, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, May 29.

    Fernando, Shanti I. and Rinaldi, Jen. (2016) De/Constructing Exclusionary Immigration Law and Policy, Past and Present. Annual Conference of Canadian Disability Studies Association, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, May 30.

    Fernando, Shanti I. and King, Alyson E. (2015). Education Interrupted: Learning Careers of Adults Living with Mental Illness. European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA) Access, Learning Careers and Identities Network Conference. Seville, Spain. November 26. 

    Fernando, Shanti I. and King, Alyson E. (2015) From Patient to Student: Study of a Canadian Hospital Supported Education Program. 1st European Conference on Supported Education. Groningen, the Netherlands. November 16 to 17 2015.

    Fernando, Shanti I. and King, Alyson (2015). Is Knowledge Power? An exploration of an historical normative framework for literacy policy, adult education and the economy in Canadian communities. Warwick Lifelong Learning Annual Conference, England (June 30). 

    Eamer, A., Fernando, S., and King, A. (April 2015) “Still on the margins: English language learning and mental health in immigrant psychiatric patients.” Proceedings of Ireland International Conference on Education (IICE-2015), April 20 to 22 in Dublin (Ireland) to be presented by Shanti Fernando and Allyson Eamer.