Lassonde School of Engineering at York partners with Scotiabank to deliver industry leading research into financial crimes, advance STEM and STEAM programs


TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2021 — Today, York University announced that Scotiabank will provide $980,000 to support a variety of initiatives at the Lassonde School of Engineering for computer security research and to further advance equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in STEM fields.

At a time when financial markets, technologies and products have become more complex and financial crimes are increasing, Canadian universities can play a critical role in addressing the global shortage of trained experts equipped to tackle these crimes – many of which can impact the most vulnerable such as children, newcomers and the elderly.

The funding will support York’s Global Financial Crimes Research Fund over four years and Computer Security Program Fund for two years.

Part of the gift, named the Scotiabank Lassonde Financial Crimes Research  Initiative, will go towards research led by York’s graduate students on global financial crimes and money laundering, with a special focus on detecting and disrupting the illicit financial flows connected to human trafficking and online child exploitation.

“York University is profoundly grateful to Scotiabank for their generous investment of $980,000 in support of the Lassonde School of Engineering. This contribution reflects the shared commitment of York and Scotiabank to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields and to advancing the ground-breaking work of our researchers in the field of financial crime prevention,” said Rhonda Lenton, President and Vice-Chancellor of York University. “In recognition of this substantial investment, the fund that supports critical research in global financial crimes will be named the Scotiabank Lassonde Financial Crimes Research Initiative.”

“Our partnership with the Lassonde School of Engineering builds on a history of collaboration between Scotiabank and York University that spans five decades,” says Stuart Davis, Executive Vice President, Financial Crimes Risk Management, Scotiabank.  “We are honoured to be working with Lassonde’s students and faculty on leading-edge research to inform techniques used to combat financial crimes risk, while promoting a shared purpose to advance social sustainability goals.”

The funding will also  contribute to Lassonde’s  Kindergarten to Industry Academy — expanding the K2I Academy to three GTA school boards to further enhance Grade 9-to-12 science and mathematics programs. The goal of this initiative is to remove systemic barriers to access for underrepresented students in STEM and increase student achievement and enrolment in the prerequisite courses needed to enter post-secondary studies in engineering. Lassonde’s K2I Academy is an innovative ecosystem of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educators, thought leaders and partners focused on bringing STEM experiences to youth, educators and communities. K2I Academy is working with partners from kindergarten to industry to dismantle systemic barriers and to build sustainable programs that diversify representation in STEM professions. Part of the gift will also include a flexible fund which will provide $10,000 over four years to support programs at Lassonde School to help support emerging initiatives or to create future opportunities.

“Thanks to the investment from Scotiabank, the K2I Academy was able to adapt programs to an online format during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Jane Goodyer, dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering. “K2I Academy was able to purchase specialized electronics and other learning materials that allowed students to participate from home at a time when many hands-on learning opportunities in STEM were cancelled or delayed.  At Lassonde, we know how important it is to support students of all backgrounds. That’s why I am pleased we are collaborating with Scotiabank through a shared sense of purpose, determined to equip every student with the skills and values needed to succeed in STEM fields as they work toward a better future.”

Lassonde School of Engineering’s Helen Carswell STEAM Program for Women will also receive funding over four years to support grade-10-and-11 students from marginalized neighbourhoods to participate in a unique summer work-integrated learning program of paid research related to the UN Sustainability Goals while also earning a high-school credit. High school students in the program will work on research projects related to engineering and science under the guidance of undergraduate-research-assistant mentors, high school teachers and Lassonde faculty. More than half of the gift will go towards sponsorship of UNHacks and Ellehacks events at Lassonde.

York University is a modern, multi-campus, urban university located in Toronto, Ontario. Backed by a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners, we bring a uniquely global perspective to help solve societal challenges, drive positive change and prepare our students for success. York’s fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario’s Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education. York’s campuses in Costa Rica and India offer students exceptional transnational learning opportunities and innovative programs. Together, we can make things right for our communities, our planet, and our future.

About Lassonde School of Engineering

Located in the heart of the multicultural Greater Toronto Area, the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University is home to engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs, representing a diverse community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners. With 11 undergraduate programs, seven graduate programs and a host of certificates and accessible study options, Lassonde is shaping the next generation of creators who will tackle the world’s biggest challenges and devise creative solutions through interdisciplinary learning opportunities. Lassonde’s creators think in big systems rather than small silos, design with people in mind and embrace ambiguity.


Media contact: Anjum Nayyar, York University Media Relations, cell 437 242 1547,