OTTAWA -- Queen’s University in Kingston has been ranked one of the top universities in the world for promoting social and economic sustainability on and off campus.

The school has been ranked first in Canada and fifth in the world by the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which assesses a university's societal impact based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN goals look to advance work to protect the planet environmentally and socially.

The ranking measured over 1,200 post-secondary institutions and looked at 17 different categories for measuring sustainability.

In an interview with CTV News Ottawa, Queen's University principal Patrick Deane says the school sat down and reviewed the categories, which focus on poverty, gender equality and climate action.

Deane says the school reviewed school programs and extra-curricular activities and let the goals guide their work.

"The utility of the sustainable development goals for the universities is they provide a frame work to understand what we do and to organize our awareness of those activities in a meaningful way," he says. "It gives point and direction and helps us identify what else we might be doing to advance these goals."

The school was noted for its Promise Scholars program, which gives financial support for students who are the first in their family to attend post-secondary education. 

Deane says anyone who wants to go to university should be able to.

"Anybody who can bring their talents and resources to the university and benefit from the experience of attending university," he explained. "University is, and should not be, just for those with the ability to afford it. It should be available to anyone who can benefit from it. So accessibility should be one of the most critical considerations for any institutions like our own."

The University of Ottawa was ranked in the 101-200 group by the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.