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National research expert in systemic racism, technology and criminal justice joins Ontario Tech

Dr. Kanika Samuels-Wortley appointed as a Canada Research Chair

Dr. Samuels-Wortley, Canada Research Chair in Systemic Racism, Technology and Criminal Justice; and Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Ontario Tech University.
Dr. Samuels-Wortley, Canada Research Chair in Systemic Racism, Technology and Criminal Justice; and Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Ontario Tech University.

Ontario Tech’s nationally acclaimed research leadership portfolio will strengthen with the appointment of Dr. Kanika Samuels-Wortley as the university’s newest Canada Research Chair (CRC).  

Funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Dr. Samuels-Wortley’s Tier 2 CRC in Systemic Racism, Technology and Criminal Justice will explore how race and racism influence the operation of the Canadian criminal justice system, by examining both historical and contemporary criminal justice processes and procedures.

The five-year CRC appointment for Dr. Samuels-Wortley, Associate Professor in Ontario Tech’s Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, strongly supports the university’s commitment to research leadership in Healthy Populations, Community Well-Being and Social Justice, which is one the university’s six strategic research areas.

Prior to joining the faculty at Ontario Tech, Dr. Samuels-Wortley was an Assistant Professor in Criminology at Toronto Metropolitan University.

She is also a Visiting Fellow at Australian National University’s School of Regulation and Global Governance in Canberra, Australia. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Waterloo. She completed her master’s degree in Criminology at Ontario Tech. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from the University of Toronto.

Ontario Tech CRC research spotlight: Dr. Kanika Samuels-Wortley 

Patterns of disparities within social institutions that consistently disadvantage racialized persons is known to be a form of systemic racism.

As a CRC, Dr. Samuels-Wortley and her research team will use robust methodologies rooted in enhanced critical race perspectives to generate empirical and theoretically informed studies that examine and identify systemic barriers within criminal justice policies and procedures that negatively impact Black and Indigenous Peoples.

The research program will allow criminal justice practitioners, policy makers, academics, and the public to have a better understanding of the complex relationship between race, racism, crime and criminal justice. This will lend support to the development of effective and equitable criminal justice policies.

Did you know?
  • Kanika Samuels-Wortley received her Master of Arts (Criminology) degree from Ontario Tech in 2015. She is the university’s first previous graduate to later become an Ontario Tech Canada Research Chair.

“Systemic change can be achieved through the collaboration of experts from various fields. I am thrilled to be part of an academic institution that provides this opportunity. Importantly, I look forward to working with community members, leaders, and practitioners across all levels of the criminal justice system to position Canada as a leader in achieving equitable justice”.
-Dr. Kanika Samuels-Wortley, Canada Research Chair in Systemic Racism, Technology and Criminal Justice, Ontario Tech University

“Ontario Tech is proud to have Dr. Kanika Samuels-Wortley join our research community as the most recent Canada Research Chair. Her outstanding research program promises to strengthen the university’s research excellence in the priority area of Healthy Populations, Community Well-Being and Social Justice. I look forward to witnessing her contributions over the next five years to establishing best practices in the criminal justice system and building inclusive communities.”
-Dr. Les Jacobs, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, Ontario Tech University

Related links
About the CRC program

The CRC program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s national funding bodies. 

  • Tier 1 Chairs are outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields. Valued at $1.4 million, appointments are for seven years and are renewable once.
  • Tier 2 Chairs recognize exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. Valued at $500,000, appointments are for five years and renewable once.


Media contact

Bryan Oliver
Communications and Marketing
Ontario Tech University
289.928.3653 (mobile)

About Ontario Tech University: Celebrating 20 years
A modern, forwarding-thinking university, Ontario Tech advances the discovery and application of knowledge to accelerate economic growth, regional development and social innovation. We inspire and equip our students and our graduates to make a positive impact in a tech-focused world. For us, it’s not only about developing the next tech breakthrough. Understanding and integrating the social and ethical implications of technology differentiates us as university. Learn more at