Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

The Canada Research Chairs Program is implementing the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan outlined below to respond to the recommendation in the program’s 15th-year evaluation that management should require institutions to adopt greater transparency in their allocation, selection and renewal processes for chairholders.

The action plan will focus on improving the governance, transparency and monitoring of equity and diversity within the program. These actions will support institutions in making swift progress towards addressing the underrepresentation of the four designated groups (FDGs)—women, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal Peoples and members of visible minorities—within the program. More substantive changes that may be necessary to address the equity and diversity challenges within the program will be considered as part of a public consultation (see A.1 below).

For more information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions, and read an open letter  sent to university presidents in May 2017.

A) Improved transparency and implementation of best practices within recruitment processes

Action Timeline


Conduct a public consultation
The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat conducted a formal, public consultation on the potential changes that could be made to the program to respond to the 15th-year evaluation’s seven recommendations. This includes additional changes (not included in this plan) that may be necessary to address equity and diversity challenges in the program.
This consultation with key stakeholders provided an opportunity for all individuals to give their feedback through an open forum on the CRCP website.

Consultation (Closed)


Require institutions to develop their own equity, diversity and inclusion action plans

All institutions with five or more chair allocations will be required to develop an equity, diversity and inclusion action plan. This plan will guide their efforts in sustaining the participation of and/or addressing the underrepresentation (based on institutions’ equity gaps) of individuals from the FDGs among their chair allocations. Institutions will be required to report publicly and to the program on the progress made in meeting their objectives on a yearly basis.

The plan must include impactful equity, diversity and inclusion objectives that will enable swift progress towards addressing the disadvantages currently experienced by individuals from the FDGs in accessing and benefiting from the program. Institutions must progressively meet these objectives in the 18 to 24 months following the implementation of the plan on December 15, 2017. This means that the objectives must be met by December 2019. The objectives must be set based on the number of chair allocations that are (or will become) available in the institution within the next 18 to 24 months.

Institutions should develop the plans in collaboration with individuals from each of the FDGs, chairholders, faculty and administrators responsible for implementing the program at the institution. Refer to the Chairs Administration Guide for more details.

Due December 15, 2017


Implement the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Public Accountability and Transparency Requirements for all participating institutions as an eligibility requirement

To be eligible for the program, all institutions with five or more chair allocations must clearly publish on their websites specific information, by October 27, 2017, regarding the management of their chair allocations. For a list of the required information, refer to the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Public Accountability and Transparency Requirements in the Chairs Administration Guide.

Due October 27, 2017


Require that institutions submit a copy of the open job advertisement with the paper copy of all nominations submitted to the program for peer review
As of the October 2017 nomination deadline, the program will not accept nominations that do not provide evidence of an openly advertised process. This applies to all new, advancement and foreign nominations, and those for both external and internal recruitment.

As of October 23, 2017


Increase the number of institutions included in the yearly monitoring schedule to verify the transparency of their recruitment and nomination processes

As part of their mandate, the Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will conduct a yearly review of the transparency and openness of institutional recruitment processes and report to the management committee on the results and recommended actions.

The Secretariat will continue to monitor chairs job posting advertisements to ensure that they meet the program’s requirements regarding the Tier 2 justification option for individuals who are more than ten years from their highest degree and who have taken career breaks and include institutional equity statements.

Spring/summer 2017


Require that all institutions provide training to all individuals involved in the recruitment and nomination processes

Deans, department chairs, research grants officers, and search and hiring committee members (as applicable) must receive training on the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion within the program, and on the potential negative impact of unconscious bias on the career paths of individuals from the FDGs.

As of November 2017


Develop and share best practices for recruitment, hiring and retention 

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Best Practices for Recruitment, Hiring and Retention document, which does not include requirements, is a tool provided for institutions to use as they assess and determine what measures are needed to meet their equity and diversity objectives. 

May 2017


Review and revise the program’s current Guidelines for ensuring a  fair and transparent recruitment process 

The guidelines will be revised to ensure that they are aligned with the program’s mandate, and equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

Spring/summer 2017


Demonstrate leadership by participating in and promoting the 2017 Gender Summit

The 2017 Gender Summit, will be in Montréal, QC, from November 6 to 8, 2017.

November 6 to 8, 2017

B) Target-setting methodology and data collection

Action Timeline


Review and revise the current equity target-setting methodology that is used to set targets within the program

Current methodology on establishing equity and diversity targets is available on the program’s website.



Require that all institutions (small-, medium- and large-sized) participate in the equity target-setting exercise

Once the methodology is revised, all institutions will be required to participate in the exercise to update their equity data and reset the baseline.



Continue to publicly share each year the results of the target-setting exercise

The program will publish the results of the target-setting exercise on its website. In consideration of the Privacy Act, it will not release the number of chairholders who self-identify if the number is five or less to protect the identity of the individuals.

The latest statistics are available on the program’s website.



Require that all institutions collect data (using best practices) on the participation of individuals from the FDGs, applicants to chairs job postings and active chairholders

Best practices regarding how to collect this type of data from respondents have been shared with institutions in the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Best Practices for Recruitment, Hiring and Retention tool. This includes how to encourage self-identification, identifying how the data will be used, communicating the privacy measures that will be taken to protect the data, and not double-counting individuals within any analysis and reporting of the data.

As of December 2017


Require that all institutions participate in the newly reinstated University and College Academic Staff System survey administered by Statistics Canada


2017 and ongoing


Develop tools for collecting data on the participation of individuals from the FDGs within the funding programs of the three federal research funding agencies

The Secretariat will work with the executive vice-presidents of the three federal funding agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council—to develop harmonized tools for collecting self-identification data from applicants to all of their respective research funding programs.

spring/summer 2017

C) Clarification within program literature

Action Timeline


In keeping with best practices, expand the focus of the program’s equity efforts by including both diversity and inclusion as expected outcomes of the program’s and institutions’ equity efforts

It has been shown that organizations are more successful at being equitable when they value diversity and inclusion, in addition to equity. The benefits of diversity, in terms of the retention of individuals and greater collaboration and innovation, are also more likely to be realized when a broader approach is taken.

As of May 2017


Clarify expectations regarding equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the program’s literature

The program’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion
The Government of Canada and the CRCP are committed to excellence in research and research training for the benefit of Canadians. Achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to seize opportunities and for responding to global challenges. As such, the program is committed to the federal government’s policies on non-discrimination and employment equity.

Participating institutions administer funds in partnership with the agencies and the Secretariat. Therefore, all institutions that accept agency funding are expected to make concerted efforts to meet their equity and diversity targets, and provide a supportive and inclusive workplace. This supports the goals of equity, diversity and inclusion within the CRCP and the broader Canadian research enterprise.

Visit the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Practices page for more information.  

As of May 2017


Clarify the program’s literature to ensure that institutions consider their equity targets, gaps and the “glass ceiling” effect* during decision-making processes

Institutions should consider this when deciding whether to nominate, renew, advance or phase-out (in the case of the loss of an allocation) chairholders. Institutions are also encouraged to consider limiting the renewal of Tier 1 third term chairholders in consideration of their equity targets. As of May 2017, only 20 per cent of currently active Tier 1 chairholders are women.

*The glass ceiling effect refers to an invisible barrier (likely influenced by unconscious bias) that keeps individuals from the FDGs (especially women) from rising above certain ranks professionally, despite their equivalent qualifications to other candidates for the position, promotion or award. 

As of May 2017


Revise the chairs nomination form to improve the collection of data necessary to monitor equity within the program

The Secretariat will amend the self-identification form in the chairs CV to:

  • change the way the questions are asked to align with best practices for collecting this type of data;
  • identify the benefits of self-identification; and
  • clarify how the information collected will be used and protected.

The Secretariat will also revise the administrative page in the nomination package to ask institutions specific questions regarding the transparency of the recruitment and nomination process for each chair nomination submitted to the program.

October 2017


Change the leaves policy to allow chairholders to work part time for a determinate period of time (12 months or less) as they transition back to work after maternity, parental, medical or family medical leaves

As of May 2017


Clarify that the expenses related to equity and diversity efforts are eligible under the Research Support Fund

The Research Support Fund’s list of eligible expenses has been revised to clarify that equity and diversity related expenses—such as training on unconscious bias, salaries of equity officers and equity consultant fees—are eligible expenses.

As of May 2017

D) Improved governance

Action Timeline


Conduct an analysis of success rates of individuals from the FDGs to monitor for bias in the program’s peer review process

A data field will also be added to the program’s IT platform and the chairholder nomination form, to enable monitoring for potential unconscious bias in the peer review of all nominations that include career interruptions.

summer 2017


Revise the terms of reference of the Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy to:

  • have them report directly to the program’s senior management governance committees;
  • expand the committee’s mandate to include all of the programs the Secretariat manages—the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canada Excellence Research Chairs, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund and the Research Support Fund—in order to ensure alignment in terms of equity, diversity and inclusion within the four programs;
  • appoint an external chair to lead the committee;
  • expand the membership to include other key stakeholders (e.g., Universities Canada, international representatives from other research councils, such as the United Kingdom’s Research Councils, etc.);
  • add, as part of their mandate, a yearly review of the transparency and openness of institutional recruitment processes; and
  • advise on issues related to diversity and inclusion, as well as equity.

spring 2017


Explore ways to raise the prestige and significance of  the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Recognition Award

The Secretariat’s annual award recognizes institutions who affect substantive change in addressing equity, diversity and inclusion.

Spring/summer 2017


Provide training on unconscious bias for governance committee and peer review committee members

In addition to the yearly training received by Secretariat staff, the Secretariat will make biennial training on unconscious bias and equity, diversity, and inclusion mandatory for all of its governance committee and peer review committee members.

spring 2017

Program Updates

Updates on the implementation of the action plan will be available on the Program Updates page.


If you have enquiries related to the Canada Research Chairs Program’s equity, diversity and inclusion practices, please contact:

Sally Booth
Policy and Performance Analyst, Canada Research Chairs Program
Tel.: 613-947-9203
Email: sally.booth@chairs-chaires.gc.ca

Marie-Lynne Boudreau
Manager, Canada Research Chairs Program
Tel.: 613-943-7989
Email: marie-lynne.boudreau@chairs-chaires.gc.ca