Frequently Asked Questions Addressing the Recommendations of the 15th-year Evaluation of the Canada Research Chairs Program


1. Why is the program implementing an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan?

2. Why was a 15th-year evaluation of the program conducted?

3. What were the recommendations of the 15th-year evaluation of the Canada Research Chairs Program?

4. Why is the program requiring that institutions develop equity, diversity and inclusion action plans?

5. If the expectation is that institutions will make swift progress towards meeting their equity and diversity targets, why is the program providing institutions up to two years to make improvements?

6. Why is the program implementing public accountability requirements?

7. What will happen if an institution does not meet the requirements and deadlines stipulated in the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan?

8. What are the four designated groups?

9. What is the purpose of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Best Practices for Recruitment, Hiring and Retention?

10. Why are institutions with an allocation of less than five chairs exempt from the Institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plans?

11. What has been done to date to address equity and diversity within the program?

12. Why has the program’s equity efforts expanded to include diversity and inclusion?

13. When will additional details regarding the items within the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan be shared?

14. Why is a consultation being conducted to respond to the recommendations of the 15th-year evaluation?

15. How will the consultation be conducted?

16. When will the consultation be completed and the results shared?


1.  Why is the program implementing an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan?

The 15th-year evaluation of the Canada Research Chairs Program found that despite the actions taken to date to address the underrepresentation of members of the four designated groups (FDGs)—women, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal Peoples and visible minorities—within the program, the majority of institutions still do not meet their equity and diversity targets. Among other recommendations, the evaluation recommended that, management should require institutions to adopt greater transparency in their processes for the allocation of Chair positions and selection and renewal of chairholders, in order to ensure institutions have greater accountability in terms of meeting their equity targets. 

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan includes a set of measures that will be implemented to make swift progress towards improving the transparency, governance and accountability within the program. Other potential changes to the program to address the equity concerns within the program will be considered as part of the public consultation that will be held in 2017 (see question 14 below).


2. Why was a 15th-year evaluation of the program conducted?

The Government of Canada mandates that all federal programs undergo a formal evaluation every five years. This evaluation ensures that the program is accountable for the use of public funds; is efficient and effective; and is transparent and meeting its objectives. The findings from these evaluations are then used to manage and improve the program’s design, policies, and procedures.


3. What were the recommendations of the 15th-year evaluation of the Canada Research Chairs Program?

The full evaluation report and management response is available on the program’s Publications page.


4. Why is the program requiring that institutions develop equity, diversity and inclusion action plans?

Despite the measures taken to date, many institutions are not meeting their equity and diversity targets. As such, the program will require institutions with five or more allocations to review their policies and practices, and develop a robust action plan to address the underrepresentation of individuals from the FDGs among their chair allocations.

The action plan requirements include setting impactful equity, diversity and inclusion objectives that will enable meaningful progress towards addressing the disadvantages currently experienced by individuals from the FDGs in the program. Institutions must progressively meet these objectives, in the 18 to 24 months following the implementation of their plan on December 15, 2017.

It is important to note that institutions can only address their gaps once chair positions become available (i.e., when their current chairholders’ terms end). However, it is expected that institutions will manage their allocation of chairs carefully in order to meet their equity targets, which includes choosing not to renew Tier 2 or Tier 1 chairholders, as necessary.


5. If the expectation is that institutions will make swift progress towards meeting their equity and diversity targets, why is the program providing institutions up to two years to make improvements?

The terms of Canada Research Chair awards are five years for a Tier 2 chair and seven years for a Tier 1 chair. Some institutions do not have any vacant chairs available and will need to wait until the terms of their active chairs end before recruiting and nominating new chairholders with their equity gaps in mind.

The program is providing the minimum amount of time that would be necessary to urgently address the issue. It also recognizes that institutions that have not made significant progress in meeting their equity and diversity targets need enough time to develop a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to reviewing their policies and practices, to consider what measures are necessary to address systemic barriers impeding their equity and diversity objectives.  


6. Why is the program implementing public accountability requirements?

Support provided by the program is an investment by Canadian taxpayers. The program is accountable to stakeholders and the Canadian public regarding who receives support and how funds are used to meet the program’s objectives. To help ensure accountability to stakeholders (including researchers and Canadian taxpayers) institutions will be required to publicly account (on their websites) for how they manage their allocations of chairs, and their progress in implementing their action plans and meeting their objectives. If an institution fails to meet these requirements by the deadlines stipulated, the program will withhold peer review and payments for nominations submitted to the fall 2017 intake cycle, and to future cycles as necessary, until the requirements are fulfilled. For a list of the required information, refer to the Chairs Administration Guide.


7. What will happen if an institution does not meet the requirements and deadlines stipulated in the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan?

The program is committed to correcting long-standing equity concerns and ensuring that all institutions meet and sustain their equity and diversity targets. If an institution fails to meet these requirements by the deadlines stipulated, the program will withhold peer review and payments for nominations submitted to the fall 2017 intake cycle, and to future cycles as necessary, until the requirements are fulfilled.

Moving forward, program management will monitor the submitted nominations in accordance with each institution’s equity and diversity targets to ensure that progress is being made and sustained. If progressive improvements are not made between December 2017 and December 2019, additional measures may be taken. These potential additional measures will be discussed as part of the public consultation being conducted in late spring/summer 2017 (see question 14).


8. What are the four designated groups?

The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity and other grounds. Canada’s Employment Equity Act requires that federally regulated organizations and businesses provide equal employment opportunities so that no person is denied access for reasons unrelated to ability. The purpose of the Act is to achieve equality in the workplace and to correct conditions of disadvantage in employment that four designated groups experience: women, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities. For specific definitions of the four groups, refer to the Employment Equity Act.

As a federal program that provides funding to Canadian universities to enable the employment of individuals, the program is legally bound to ensure that the edicts within these acts are upheld. As provincial employers, universities are bound by provincial human rights laws which include very similar principles and prohibit systemic discrimination against individuals from the four designated groups.


9. What is the purpose of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Best Practices for Recruitment, Hiring and Retention?

The best practices document was developed based on recent research in the field and in consultation with equity experts and other national and international organizations trying to address their equity challenges. The best practices, which are not requirements, are provided to institutions to use as an inspirational and practical resource as they develop their action plans, and review and revise their processes, policies, and procedures for the recruitment, nomination, and support of chairholders. This resource is available on our website and will be updated as needed.  


10. Why are institutions with an allocation of less than five chairs exempt from the Institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plans?

Institutions with less than five chair allocations are very small institutions, and meeting these requirements would represent an unfairly large administrative burden. These institutions will continue to need to meet the other program requirements related to equity, diversity and inclusion.


11. What has been done to date to address equity and diversity within the program?

Visit the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Practices page for an overview of the program’s measures. Some of the more recent actions include:


12. Why has the program’s equity efforts expanded to include diversity and inclusion?

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.


13. When will additional details regarding the items within the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan be shared?

The program will communicate additional information regarding the program’s action plan initiatives, as soon as they are available, within the timelines noted in the plan. These will be shared on the program’s website on the Program Updates page.


14. Why is a consultation being conducted to respond to the recommendations of the 15th-year evaluation?

A public consultation will be conducted in spring/summer 2017 with key stakeholders on what additional program changes could be made to address all seven of the evaluation’s recommendations.  In considering changes to the program’s design, it is important that the viewpoints of all stakeholders be carefully considered. All program changes will be considered with an equity lens to avoid any unintended negative impacts for individuals from the FDGs.


15. How will the consultation be conducted?

Meetings and workshops will be held at a number of institutions. An open forum will be available for all individuals to provide their feedback through the CRCP website. Further details will be provided in the near future.


16. When will the consultation be completed and the results shared?

Results will be considered by program management in fall 2017, and it is expected that any changes to the program will be implemented in 2018.


Questions

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