Named after Sun Life’s former President and CEO, Dean Connor, the program provides recipients with financial assistance and practical work experience to help launch their careers.

Systemic racism excludes Black and Indigenous individuals from accessing education, jobs and other opportunities for economic and social advancement. For youth in these communities, this has meant significant challenges in starting and building meaningful careers.

Black and Indigenous youth deserve equal access to education, opportunities and resources as they begin their careers. Scholarships, sponsorships and internships play a vital role in enabling youth from underserved communities to acess education, jobs and networks.

The Dean Connor Inclusion Scholarship & Internship Program provides recipients with $5,000 in financial support for one academic year and includes a four-month paid summer internship with Sun Life. Students spend their summer learning, growing and gaining valuable experience with a diverse network of like-minded peers. They also participate in various in-person events and workshops tailored to their personal and professional development. In addition, students receive professional guidance and coaching from a Sun Life mentor and the possibility of full-time employment with Sun Life after graduation.

“This scholarship was an amazing opportunity to meet ambitious professionals eager to give equal opportunity positions to deserving Black and Indigenous members of society. It’s hard to find people who care and Sun Life really does!” - Program recipient

Since its establishment in 2021, the program has awarded 33 scholarships to students from 22 different schools across Canada. The goal is to provide 100 scholarships to Black and Indigenous students over five years. 

The program has also proven to be a valuable pipeline for diverse talent. Overall, 36% of recipients received further professional opportunities with Sun Life. Within the first cohort, four recipients received full-time employment and two returned for another co-op opportunity. The following year, five recipients returned for a co-op placement and one received a full-time offer from Sun Life.