Polytechnique Montreal has become the first university in Canada to receive parity certification from Women in Governance, a non-profit organization that supports women's leadership.

The engineering university is among 48 organizations - and one of only two insititutions of higher learning, the other being the John Molson School of Business - being honoured this year for efforts to increase the proportion of women in its student body and on its staff.

“By creating a gender-balanced workplace, the university as a whole is open to a larger talent pool,” Philippe A. Tanguy, president of Polytechnique, said in a statement. “Intensifying our recruitment efforts to that end is one of (our) priorities. By remaining committed to that goal, we can and will improve our teams’ skills, stimulate innovation, and foster an open, inclusive atmosphere.”

Women make up 14 per cent of Polytechnique faculty and 43 per cent of other staff. So while the university is honoured to have its efforts acknowledged, "we have a great deal of work ahead of us to improve the status of women in our university," said Annie Ross, co-chair of the university's committee on equity, diversity and inclusion research. "Collectively, we intend to make every effort to improve the situation.”

In 2017, Polytechnique's board of directors had issued a formal declaration committing it to promote diversity, not just in term of gender, but for those who are visible minorities, Indigenous or differently abled.

Polytechnique representatives will formally receive the certification at a gala in Montreal Wednesday night.