Frequently Asked Questions


The program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

Why does the program have an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan?

Why does the program require that institutions develop equity, diversity and inclusion action plans?

Why does the program have public accountability and transparency requirements?

What will happen if an institution does not meet the requirements and deadlines stipulated in the program’s action plan?

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

What has been done to date to address equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the program?


External assessment of institutional equity, diversity and inclusion action plans

Why is a panel of experts conducting an external assessment of institutions’ action plans and progress reports?

When are the progress reports due?

Can an institution revise their action plan prior to the assessment process?


Self-Identification

Why am I being asked to complete the self-identification questionnaire?

Why should I self-identify?

Can I identify in more than one group?

I have already provided my self-identification data to my institution and/or other federal research funding agencies. Why am I being asked to self-identify again?

Where do I find the questionnaire?

Why are there eight identification categories?

How was the terminology in the questionnaire chosen?

Age—Can you clarify what is being asked?

Gender identity—Can you clarify what is being asked?

Sexual orientation—Can you clarify what is being asked?

Indigenous identity—Can you clarify what is being asked?

Members of visible minorities—Can you clarify what is being asked?

Population group—Can you clarify what is being asked?

Disability—Can you clarify what is being asked?

Language—Can you clarify what is being asked?

I am not comfortable responding to these questions. What should I do?

How will my information be used? How will it be stored?

Who will see my information? Will peer reviewers be able to access this information?

Can I make changes to my questionnaire after it has been completed and submitted?

Will my responses be tied to funding decisions in any way?

Is this a new requirement for the program?

Why has the questionnaire been revised?

When will the revised self-identification form be implemented across the three federal research funding agencies?

How often will this tri-agency questionnaire be revised?

Who can I contact for more information or to provide feedback?


Requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs

Why is the program implementing new requirements and an institutional attestation form?

When are these requirements in effect?

Our institution’s recruitment process for a nomination took place prior to the program implementing these requirements. What should we do?

How will these requirements be enforced?


2019 Addendum to the 2006 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement

When was the Canadian human rights complaint that led to the 2006 Settlement Agreement first filed?

Is the 2006 Settlement Agreement and its 2019 addendum legally binding?

What was discussed during the mediation process between the parties leading up to the 2019 Addendum?

How does the program define equity, diversity and inclusion?

How does increased EDI lead to greater excellence in research?

What are examples of systemic barriers faced by underrepresented groups in research and academia?

What measures has the program taken to address the underrepresentation of individuals from the four designated groups?

What is the current level of representation in the program of individuals from the four designated groups?

Does this mean that the program’s current EDI measures will change?

How and when will the measures within the addendum be implemented? When will additional information be available?

Does the 2019 addendum have an impact on the December 2019 deadline for meeting current equity targets?

How will the measures in the Addendum be enforced?

Why is the program renaming its Institutional EDI Award to the Robbins-Ollivier Award for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion?

Why is it important that the level of diversity within the program generally reflect the level of diversity within the Canadian population?

What will the new equity target goals be?

Why is it necessary to set equity targets for the program?

Why isn’t the 2016 Census data being used to set targets for persons with disabilities?

How and when will the program engage with representatives of Indigenous communities to assess and revise the target-setting approach for Indigenous peoples?

How does the tri-agency Dimensions ̶ Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada program align with the changes being announced to the Canada Research Chairs Program?

What is meant by applying an intersectional lens to the program’s EDI work?

How will intersectionality be addressed for the program’s target-setting approach?

How does the CRCP consider and support LGBTQ2+ communities in its measures?

What other measures are being implemented by Canada’s research funding agencies to address EDI within the research ecosystem?




The program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

Why does the program have an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan?

The 15th-year evaluation of the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) found that despite the actions taken to date to address the underrepresentation of members of the four designated groups (FDGs)—women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of visible minorities—within the program, the majority of institutions are still not meeting their equity and diversity targets. 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 (implemented in May 2017) includes a set of measures that are being implemented to make swift progress towards improving the program’s transparency, governance and accountability. This includes requiring that institutions develop equity, diversity and inclusion action plans.



Why does the program require that institutions develop equity, diversity and inclusion action plans?

As many institutions are not meeting their equity and diversity targets, the program requires institutions with five or more allocations to review their policies and practices, and develop a robust action plan to address the underrepresentation of members of 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 members of FDGs. Institutions must progressively meet these objectives within the 18 to 24 months following the implementation of their plan on December 15, 2017.

Refer to the Institutional Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Action Plan Requirements for more information.



Why does the program have public accountability and transparency 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 are required to publicly account (on their websites) for how they manage their chair allocations, and on their progress in implementing their action plans and meeting their equity and diversity objectives.

For a list of the required information, refer to the Chairs Administration Guide.



What will happen if an institution does not meet the public accountability requirements?

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 in the program’s action plan, 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.



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

The best practices guide was developed based on recent research in the field and in consultation with equity experts and other national and international organizations. It is provided as tool for institutions to use as they address their equity challenges, 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 the program website and was last updated in September 2018.



What else has been done to date to address equity and diversity (EDI) within the program?

See an overview of the program’s equity, diversity and inclusion requirement and practices, and read an open letter to institutions about some important milestones that have been achieved.




External assessment of institutional equity, diversity and inclusion action plans

Why is a panel of experts conducting an external assessment of the institutions’ action plans and progress reports?

The Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) conducted a preliminary assessment of all the institutional action plans submitted on December 15, 2017, to document best practices and better understand and assess the challenges facing institutions. To better support institutions moving forward, the program will convene a panel of experts in equity, diversity and inclusion to conduct an external assessment of these plans and their corresponding progress reports (due December 15, 2018) in winter 2018-19.

This panel will provide important feedback to institutions to help share best practices, and ensure that institutions reach their equity and diversity targets by December 2019 and continue to incorporate the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion systematically, strategically and sustainably in managing chair allocations. The Steering Committee will review the panel’s assessments and recommendations, and will use this information to assess what further measures may be needed prior to December 2019 to support institutions in meeting these important goals.



When are the progress reports due?

Institutions must submit progress reports using the program’s reporting form by December 15, 2018. Institutions must submit the forms by email to edi-edi@chairs-chaires.gc.ca.

If an institution does not submit the progress report by the deadline, the program will withhold peer review and payments for nominations submitted to the current intake cycle, and to future cycles as necessary, until the requirements are fulfilled.



Can an institution revise their action plan prior to the assessment process?

Yes, institutions may revise their current equity, diversity and inclusion action plans prior to the assessment process. Institutions must submit their revised action plans to the program as a PDF by email to edi-edi@chairs-chaires.gc.ca. They must also update their plans on their institutional public accountability web pages by December 15, 2018.




Self-Identification

Why am I being asked to complete the self-identification questionnaire?

All participating institutions must set equity targets to ensure that recruitment and nomination decisions (i.e., decisions regarding who accesses and benefits from the program) are based on research excellence and that no one (including members of the four designated groups [FDGs]—women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of visible minorities) is excluded for reasons unrelated to qualifications and ability.

To monitor the level of equity and diversity within the program and to ensure that institutions meet their targets, the program collects disaggregated demographic data from all nominees and chairholders, using a form developed by the three federal research funding agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

This data collection is necessary to understand whether there are any potential biases or systemic barriers within the program’s policies, practices, processes and systems. This helps the program identify areas where changes may be needed to address inequities.

These efforts also support the three federal research funding agencies’ commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and to collecting self-identification data across all agency programs. An open letter to the research community from the presidents of the funding agencies communicates the rationale for this initiative. 

If you have comments or suggestions regarding this data collection, please send these to edi-edi@chairs-chaires.gc.ca.



Why should I self-identify?

It is important that your participation, as a nominee and potential chairholder to the Canada Research Chairs Program, be reflected within the program’s statistics. All nominees and chairholders are asked to provide these data to ensure the program has an accurate picture of who is participating in the program. This is necessary to understand whether there are any potential biases or systemic barriers within the program’s policies and processes and where changes may be needed to increase the diversity of nominees and chairholders.



Can I identify in more than one group?

Yes, individuals can and should self-identify in all groups that apply to them.



I have already provided my self-identification data to my institution and/or other federal research funding agencies. Why am I being asked to self-identify again?

In accordance with the Privacy Act, government institutions must collect personal information such as self-identification information directly from the individual. The government institution must inform the individual of the specific purposes for collecting their personal information and how it can be used and disclosed, and must obtain their consent for the collection. Also, there may be differences in the way questions are asked by different organizations, and responses provided by respondents can change over time. Therefore, the program must collect this information from all nominees and chairholders.



Where do I find the questionnaire?

You will be required to fill out the self-identification questionnaire as you complete the curriculum vitae portion of your chairholder nomination. A link within the curriculum vitae instructions will direct you to the form. The program may also require active chairholders to occasionally update their self-identification data as part of data renewal exercises.

See a preview of the program’s self-identification form.

See also: Why am I being asked to complete the self-identification questionnaire?



Why are there eight identification categories?

The questionnaire covers eight dimensions: age, gender identity, sexual orientation, Indigenous identity, visible minority identity, population group, disability and language. While the questionnaire does not include every important diversity dimension, these eight dimensions cover aspects of identity that are generally recognized as being impacted by bias and discrimination in the postsecondary research sector.

When first launched in 2006, the questionnaire included the four designated groups (FDGs) as identified by the Employment Equity Act due to their underrepresentation in the Canadian labour force: women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of visible minorities.

See also: Why has the questionnaire been revised?



How was the terminology in the questionnaire chosen?

The questions are primarily based on the current standards used by Statistics Canada in census questionnaires, and wording from federal legislation, including the Employment Equity Act and Accessible Canada Act. For some of the new or revised questions, current federal standards are either not available or not being used within the form as they would not suit the specific uses for this self-identification form (see Why am I being asked to complete the self-identification questionnaire?). The wording in the questions is based on research and analysis of current approaches to self-identification, as well as targeted engagement with stakeholders and experts. The terminology and approach to the questions seek to balance inclusion, respect for privacy and reportability.

The program recognizes that, for certain identities, terminology is not universally agreed upon and continues to evolve. Feedback is welcomed. See Who can I contact for more information or to provide feedback?



Age—Can you clarify what is being asked? 

The age question asks the respondent to enter their date of birth. Date of birth distinguishes users with the same or similar names, and helps the program to identify individuals who may have duplicate personal identification numbers (PINs).  



Gender identity—Can you clarify what is being asked?

The gender identity question prompts the respondent to indicate the identity (or term) that best describes them at the present time. The question does not ask about sex assigned at birth or sexual orientation.

Note: This question will be used by the program to monitor representation within the program, to monitor the institutions’ progress toward their equity targets for women and to monitor for potential bias in the peer review process of the program. Nominees who self-identify as women and trans women, in response to this question, will be counted toward the nominating institution’s equity target for women.

“Gender identity” refers to a person’s internal sense of being a woman, man, both, neither or somewhere along the gender spectrum. It influences how people perceive themselves and each other, how they act and interact and the distribution of power and resources in society. The question recognizes that gender identity can change over time.

The gender identity categories offered as potential responses represent the considerable diversity in how individuals and groups understand, experience and express gender identity.

The response options for this question are defined as follows:

  • Gender fluid refers to a person whose gender identity or expression changes or shifts along the gender spectrum.
  • Man refers to a person whose current gender identity aligns with characteristics conventionally associated with males.
  • Nonbinary refers to a person whose gender identity does not align with a binary understanding of gender such as man or woman.
  • Trans man refers to a person whose sex assigned at birth is female, and who identifies as a man.
  • Trans woman refers to a person whose sex assigned at birth is male, and who identifies as a woman.
  • Two-Spirit is a term used by some North American Indigenous people to indicate a person who embodies both female and male spirits or whose gender identity, sexual orientation or spiritual identity is not limited by the male/female dichotomy.
  • Woman refers to a person whose current gender identity aligns with characteristics conventionally associated with females.


Sexual orientation—Can you clarify what is being asked?

The sexual orientation question asks the respondent to select how they currently identify.

Note: This question will be used by the program to monitor representation of persons from the LGBQ2+ community within the program and to monitor for potential biases in the peer review process of the program.

The response options for this question are defined as follows:

  • Asexual refers to a person who identifies as feeling very little or no sexual desire.
  • Bisexual refers to a person who identifies as being sexually attracted to people of their sex and/or gender and people of a different sex and/or gender.
  • Gay refers to a person who identifies as being sexually attracted to people of their sex and/or gender.
  • Heterosexual refers to a person who identifies as sexually attracted to people of a different sex and/or gender.
  • Lesbian refers to a person who identifies as a woman and as being sexually attracted to women.
  • Pansexual refers to a person who identifies as being sexually attracted to another person regardless of their sex or gender.
  • Queer refers to a person whose sexual orientation differs from the normative binary vision of sexuality.
  • Two-Spirit is a term used by some North American Indigenous people to indicate a person who identifies as embodying both female and male spirits or whose gender identity, sexual orientation or spiritual identity is not limited by the male/female dichotomy.

Please note that the program will report on these data using the term LGBQ2+ to refer to people, as a group, who identify as lesbian, gay, asexual, bisexual, pansexual, queer or questioning, or who otherwise express sexual diversity. The acronym does not include T because transgender data are captured in the question on gender identity.



Indigenous identity—Can you clarify what is being asked?

The Indigenous identity question asks the respondent if they identify as an Indigenous person. This question is about personal identity, not legal status or registration.

Note: This question will be used by the program to monitor representation within the program, to monitor the institutions’ progress toward their equity targets for Indigenous peoples and to monitor for potential bias in the peer review process of the program.



Members of visible minorities—Can you clarify what is being asked?

The visible minority identity question asks the respondent to indicate if they identify as a member of a visible minority, as defined by the Employment Equity Act. The Act defines visible minorities as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”

Note: This question will be used by the program to monitor representation within the program, to monitor the institutions’ progress toward their equity targets for members of visible minorities and to monitor for potential bias in the peer review process of the program.



Population group—Can you clarify what is being asked?

The population group options listed are those used by Statistics Canada in the national census. Population group should not be confused with citizenship or nationality. Respondents may select all categories that apply.

Because this is a mandatory question, if a nominee or chairholder has already identified as an Indigenous person and does not identify with any other population group, they are asked to select “population group not listed above” and specify Indigenous.



Disability—Can you clarify what is being asked?

The disability question asks respondents to indicate whether they personally identify as having a disability, according to the definition provided by the Accessible Canada Act. According to the Act, disability means any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment—or a functional limitation—whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society. Respondents may select all categories that apply

The question does not ask whether the respondent has ever qualified for a disability benefit under the Canada Pension Plan or other program. It also does not take into consideration whether a respondent has received accommodations.

Note: This question will be used by the program to monitor representation within the program, to monitor the institutions' progress toward their equity targets for persons with disabilities and to monitor for potential bias in the peer review process of the program.



Language—Can you clarify what is being asked?

The language question asks respondents to identify which language they first learned and which language they use most often at home. Respondents may select all categories that apply.

The question does not ask which language the respondent prefers to use to communicate with the program or in which language the respondent submits a nomination to the program. This information is collected elsewhere in the application process.

Note: This question will assist the program in fulfilling its obligations under the Official Languages Act (Part VII). It will be used to monitor the participation and success rates of nominees based on language and to monitor for potential bias in the peer review process of the program. For example, these data will allow for analysis on how many applicants/nominees submit applications in their second language.



I am not comfortable responding to these questions. What should I do?

If you do not want to self-identify, you have the option to choose “I prefer not to answer” for each question. You must select this option and save your responses for your questionnaire to be marked as complete. Doing so fulfills the mandatory requirement for completing the questionnaire.



How will my information be used? How will it be stored? 

The self-identification information is collected, used, disclosed, retained and disposed of in accordance with the Privacy Act. It may be used for the purposes of program operations (including future recruitment for peer review processes, where applicable), planning, performance measurement and monitoring, evaluation, and audits, and in aggregate form to report to government or to the public. Self-identification statistics will always be reported in aggregate form to ensure confidentiality.

To protect the privacy of individuals, if the number of individuals who self-identified as a member of the four designated groups (FDGs)—women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of visible minorities—or with intersectional identity is less than five, the data will not be publicly reported.

Appropriate privacy notices will be provided and consent obtained when self-identification information is collected.

For further information on how self-identification information is / will be used and stored by the program, contact staff directly at edi-edi@chairs-chaires.gc.ca.

For privacy-related issues, or where someone wishes to remain anonymous, contact Access to Information Act and Privacy (ATIP) staff at ATIP-AIPRP@SSHRC-CRSH.GC.CA.

See also: Who will see my information? Will peer reviewers be able to access this information? and Will my responses be tied to funding decisions in any way?



Who will see my information? Will peer reviewers be able to access this information?

Access to these data is strictly limited to a small number of agency staff with the appropriate training and security clearance and on a need-to-know basis. Self-identification information is not part of your application and will be neither accessible to, nor shared with, external reviewers and/or selection committee members.

In addition to its program monitoring, the program shares aggregated self-identification data—about institutional representation of women, Indigenous peoples, members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities—on an as-needed basis with host institutions to allow them to monitor their efforts in meeting their equity targets for the Canada Research Chairs Program. No data on sexual orientation or the subcategories of visible minority groups or persons with disabilities will be shared with institutions for any purpose. The information will be securely transmitted to a specific, authorized individual at the respective institutions under strict confidentiality and privacy requirements.

See also: How will my information be used? How will it be stored?



Can I make changes to my questionnaire after it has been completed and submitted?

Yes. Self-identification information can be changed at any time. However, you will only be prompted to provide your information at the time of submitting a nomination. Please contact program staff at edi-edi@chairs-chaires.gc.ca if you wish to update your information.



Will my responses be tied to funding decisions in any way?

Choosing to self-identify or not will have no consequences for the peer review results of a chair nomination. The questionnaire is a tool that will allow the program to monitor progress toward increasing the level of equity, diversity and inclusion within the program and to implement measures in support of this goal. However, if an institution is not meeting its equity targets, following a deadline stipulated by the program, nominations will be restricted to individuals who self-identify as one or more of the four designated groups until such time as the targets are met.

See also: Why am I being asked to complete the self-identification questionnaire?



Is this a new requirement for the program?

No. The program has been collecting self-identification data from all nominees and chairholders since 2006. In September 2018, the program adopted the self-identification form of the three federal research funding agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Since then, the agencies have worked closely to revise and further harmonize this form. The program implemented the revised form in June 2020.

See also: Why has the questionnaire been revised? and When will the revised self-identification form be implemented across the three federal granting agencies?

For more information, see the open letter to the research community from the presidents of the agencies and Self-Identification Data Collection in Support of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.



Why has the questionnaire been revised?

The questionnaire has been revised in light of feedback from the research community and legal requirements. Namely, the 2019 Addendum to the 2006 Human Rights Settlement Agreement pertaining to the Canada Research Chairs Program requires the collection of data on LGBT2Q+ communities and the addition of “white” to the response options for the previous question on visible minorities. Revisions to the questionnaire were also made in response to new legislation, such as the Accessible Canada Act.



When will the revised self-identification form be implemented across the three federal research funding agencies?

A phased-in implementation of the revised form is being planned across the three federal research funding agencies. The Canada Research Chairs Program is the first program to implement this revised form to fulfill the legal requirements and related timelines agreed upon in the 2019 Addendum to the 2006 Human Rights Settlement Agreement.

See also: Is this a new requirement for the program?



How often will this tri-agency questionnaire be revised?

The agencies monitor the development of new standards for the collection of self-identification information by such agencies as Statistics Canada, and will update their practices with new standards as appropriate.

See also: Is this a new requirement for the program?



Who can I contact for more information or to provide feedback?

The program welcomes feedback from the research community on all aspects of this questionnaire. You may provide suggestions or comments by contacting program staff at edi-edi@chairs-chaires.gc.ca.



Requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs

Why is the program implementing new requirements and an institutional attestation form?

In its action plan, the program committed to reviewing and revising its guidelines for ensuring a fair and transparent recruitment process to ensure that they were aligned with the program’s mandate and equity, diversity and inclusion goals. As a result of this review, the program is implementing new requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs and the corresponding Institutional Attestation – Recruitment and Nomination Process form.



When are these new requirements in effect?

The new requirements are in effect for recruitment processes that start after September 10, 2018, (see questions 23 and 24 for additional information). They apply to all new nominations (excluding renewals) submitted to the program. The Institutional Attestation – Recruitment and Nomination Process form must also be submitted with all new nominations.



Our institution’s recruitment process for a nomination took place prior to the program implementing these requirements. What should we do?

If a recruitment process takes place prior to the requirements being in place, the institution must submit a formal letter with the nomination outlining exactly how the process followed the previous guidelines.

TIPS will conduct regular monitoring exercises to ensure that institutions are following the requirements. In cases where the results of a monitoring exercise find that a recruitment process did not follow the requirements, the program reserves the right to withdraw a nomination, suspend future payments or terminate the award of an already active chair.



How will these requirements be enforced?

Institutions may be asked to provide, at any time within the 48 months following the nomination, evidence that their recruitment and nomination processes met the requirements. TIPS will conduct regular monitoring exercises to ensure that institutions are following the requirements. In cases where the results of a monitoring exercise find that a recruitment and nomination process does not follow the requirements, the program reserves the right to withdraw a nomination, suspend future payments or terminate the award of an already active chair.




2019 Addendum to the 2006 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement

When was the Canadian human rights complaint that led to the 2006 Settlement Agreement first filed?

In 2003, a group of eight academics from across Canada filed human rights complaints alleging the CRCP discriminated against individuals who are members of protected groups under the Canadian Human Rights Act. In 2006, a settlement agreement was signed requiring the CRCP to implement specific measures to increase the representation of individuals from the four designated groups: women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of visible minorities. In 2017, the agreement was made a federal court order at the request of the equity seeking plaintiffs because they considered that not enough progress had been made over the ensuing 11 years in improving the representation and addressing the barriers within the program. In 2018, mediation between the CRCP, the equity seeking plaintiffs and the Canadian Human Rights Commission was held in lieu of federal court proceedings, and an addendum to the 2006 Settlement Agreement was subsequently signed in early 2019.

The CRCP recognizes the important contributions that Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Louise Forsyth, Glenis Joyce, Audrey Kobayashi, Shree Mulay, Susan Prentice, and the late Michèle Ollivier and Wendy Robbins have made to increase the level of representation within the program by way of their 2003 complaints and their concerted efforts in the mediation processes, which led to the 2006 Settlement Agreement and its addendum in 2019.



Is the 2006 Settlement Agreement and its 2019 addendum legally binding?

Yes. The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) is required to implement the 2006 Settlement Agreement  and the 2019 addendum in good faith and could be brought to federal court for not implementing and enforcing them. TIPS and its governance committees comprising president and vice-president representatives of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, as well as deputy ministers and directors general of Health Canada, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, are strongly committed to implementing the agreement in collaboration with eligible institutions participating in the program. Working together will ensure that the inequities within the program are addressed, building on the progress that has been made in recent years, and that meaningful equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is achieved.

These efforts are aligned with the Canada Research Coordinating Committee’s priority area: “removing barriers faced by under-represented and disadvantaged groups to ensure equitable access across the granting agencies and establish Canada as a world leader in equity, diversity and inclusion in research.” They also build on the commitment and broader efforts being implemented by Canadian universities to reduce barriers within academia.



What was discussed during the mediation process between the parties leading up to the 2019 addendum?

Participants in the mediation process signed an agreement requiring all documents shared between the parties and discussions held during mediation to remain confidential.



How does the program define equity, diversity and inclusion?

These terms are defined as follows:

  • Equity is the removal of systemic barriers and biases (see question number 30 below) enabling all individuals to have equal access to and to benefit from the program. To achieve this, the program and participating institutions must develop a strong understanding of the barriers faced by individuals from the four designated groups (women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of visible minorities) and put in place meaningful measures to address these, embracing both the value and excellence of their contributions.
  • Diversity is defined as differences in race, colour, place of origin, religion, immigrant and newcomer status, ethnic origin, ability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and age. Recognizing the need for and value of equity and diversity must be accompanied by concerted and meaningful efforts to ensure inclusion. A diversity of perspectives and lived experiences is fundamental to achieving research excellence.
  • Inclusion is defined as the practice of ensuring that all individuals are valued and respected for their contributions and equally supported. Ensuring chairholders are included and supported by the program is also fundamental to achieving research and training excellence.


How does increased EDI lead to greater excellence in research?

ResearchFootnote 1 shows that teams of diverse researchers are more innovative, have a greater collective intelligence, have more capacity to tackle complex issues and, ultimately, achieve excellence. For Canada to reach its full potential for innovation there needs to be a diversity of perspectives to tackle issues and respond to opportunities effectively that will have real impact. Moreover, to retain excellent research talent in Canada, diverse researchers need to feel meaningfully welcomed, supported, valued and included.

Research also shows that diversity is good for innovation. In 2017, Bessma Momani and Jillian Stirk released the Diversity Dividend: Canada’s Global Advantage, a reportbased on extensive research that quantifies the benefits of a diverse workforce and outlines a number of measures needed to achieve a more diversified workforce. They show that a 1 per cent increase in ethno-cultural diversity is associated with an average 2.4 per cent increase in revenue and a 0.5 per cent increase in workplace productivity.



What are examples of systemic barriers faced by underrepresented groups in research and academia?

The persistent systemic barriers faced by underrepresented groups within the CRCP reflect those that exist and are well documented within academia and Canada’s research ecosystem more broadly. Examples are:

  • The 2018 report published by the Canadian Association of University Teachers, Underrepresented and Underpaid: Diversity & Equity Among Canada’s Postsecondary Education Teachers, highlights the lack of diversity in the academic workforce and wage gaps between men and women and between white, Indigenous and racialized staff.
  • The Equity Myth: Racialization and Indigeneity at Canadian Universities (PDF, 6.3MB), published in 2017 by Frances Henry, Enakshi Dua, Carl E. James, Audrey Kobayashi, Peter Li, Howard Ramos, and Malinda S. Smith, discusses the barriers in academia faced by racialized and Indigenous faculty, including unconscious or implicit biases such as CV and accent bias, bias in letters of reference, citation and self-promotion bias, affinity bias; precarious work; white normativity; tokenism; ineffective equity policies; wage gaps; and increased workloads (e.g., “the equity tax”).
  • The 2012 Council of Canadian Academies report, Strengthening Canada’s Research Capacity: The Gender Dimension, highlights the bias, stereotypes, lack of role models and mentors, and barriers within institutional practices and policies faced by women in research that prevent their full participation.
  • Recent research conducted by Holly Witteman, Michael Hendricks, Sharon Straus and Cara Tannenbaum demonstrates a gender bias in peer review processes resulting in a 4 per cent lower success rate for women when the focus of the review is on the calibre of the researcher versus the quality of the research being proposed.


What measures has CRCP taken to address the underrepresentation of individuals from the four designated groups?

Soon after the launch of the program in 2000, the CRCP recognized that a low number of women were being nominated to the program (14 per cent) and began working with institutions to address the issue. Since 2006, TIPS has implemented the 2006 Settlement Agreement. In May 2017, in response to recommendations made in the 15th-year evaluation of the program, the Government of Canada launched the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. The plan stipulates that institutions must develop their own EDI action plans; publish information and data about the management of their Chair allocations on public accountability and transparency web pages; and meet institutional equity targets by December 2019. 

For more information, see an overview of the program’s equity, diversity and inclusion requirement and practices and read the open letter to institutions outlining important milestones to date.



What is the current level of representation in the program of individuals from the four designated groups?

This data is available on the Program Statistics page and is updated twice a year.

Since the 2017 launch of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, institutions have implemented changes to their processes and increased the number of nominations for individuals from the four designated groups to the program. This is reflected in the results of the most recent intake cycle (April 2019) where institutions nominated 47 per cent women, 22 per cent visible minorities, 5 per cent persons with disabilities and 4 per cent Indigenous peoples. This is a notable improvement in the number of individuals from underrepresented groups taking up these prestigious Chairs as compared to previous years.

This strong progress is the result of collaborative efforts on the part of the participating institutions and the Government of Canada. Along with the efforts at an institutional level, the implementation of measures such as limiting renewal of Tier 1 Chairs and revising the distribution of regular Chair allocations across the federal research granting agencies have led to increased diversity and increased potential for research excellence in the natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, and social sciences and humanities.



Does this mean that the CRCP’s current EDI measures will change?

Yes. However, the measures in the addendum include many of the measures that have already been in place since the launch of the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan in May 2017. Some measures will need to be revised and new measures will also be implemented.



How and when will the measures within the Addendum be implemented? When will additional information be available?

In order to implement the 2019 addendum, the CRCP will develop and launch an updated Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (EDIAP 2.0) in the winter of 2019-20 in collaboration with participating institutions.

Additional information will be provided in the coming months. The program will engage with stakeholders and support institutions regarding the changes. It is expected that EDIAP 2.0 will be made public in early 2020 (after the December 2019 deadline to meet equity targets).



Does the 2019 addendum have an impact on the December 2019 deadline for meeting current equity targets?

No. The addendum does not change or have an impact on the December 2019 deadline to meet institutional equity targets. All participating institutions are still required to meet their current equity targets by the December 2019 deadline.  Note that all nominations submitted prior to or on the October 2019 nomination deadline will be counted toward an institution’s targets.



How will the measures in the addendum be enforced?

The program will implement a number of measures through EDIAP 2.0 with specific deadlines for institutions to meet. In the case of an institution not meeting these deadlines or program requirements, the institution will not be permitted to submit new nominations to the program (other than in cases where a nomination contributes to meeting their equity targets) until it is compliant with program requirements. Other enforcement measures may also be implemented at the discretion of the CRCP’s governance committees.



Why is the CRCP renaming its Institutional EDI Award to the Robbins-Ollivier Award for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion?

The late Michèle Ollivier and Wendy Robbins were part of the original group of eight academics who contributed to the 2006 Settlement Agreement. Both Robbins and Ollivier were well-known advocates for increased EDI in the academy. Along with the other equity seeking plaintiffs, Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Louise Forsyth, Glenis Joyce, Audrey Kobayashi, Shree Mulay and Susan Prentice, they devoted a significant amount of (unpaid) time and energy to addressing the barriers and inequities within the program. This award will be presented to an institution on a yearly basis in recognition of EDI best practices, and will also commemorate the efforts of the entire group of equity seeking plaintiffs, in the names of Robbins and Ollivier.



Why is it important that the level of diversity within the program generally reflect the level of diversity within the Canadian population?

Research demonstrates that achieving an equitable, diverse and inclusive work environment leads to increased excellence, innovation and impact (see How does increased EDI lead to greater excellence in research?). As the program is founded on the principles of excellence, it is imperative that its design and implementation be exemplary and that it not perpetuate the systemic barriers that exist in academia and the research environment for women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of visible minorities.

The labour market availability approach to setting equity targets currently used by the program has been criticized as it can replicate the systemic barriers that underrepresented groups often face in employment. This new approach to setting diversity targets for the program will reflect the diversity within the Canadian population, and will ensure that the CRCP benefits from the wide diversity of perspectives and lived experiences within the research ecosystem necessary to fostering inclusive research excellence and innovation.



What will the new equity target goals be?

Staggered targets will be set incrementally over ten years by the program (2020-29) in order to meet the new equity target goals by December 2029 (see table below):

- Current representation
(June 2019)
Current equity targets New targets (2029 deadline)
Women 33.7% 31% 50.9% (data source: 2016 census)
Persons with disabilities 1.6% 4% 7.5% (data source: see question 41 below)
Indigenous peoples 2.1%  1% 4.9% (data source: 2016 Census see question 42 below)
Members of visible minorities 15.8%  15% 22% (data source: 2016 Census)

Large institutionsFootnote 2 will also be required to set targets for Tier 1 and Tier 2 Chairs to ensure EDI in both the emerging (junior) and established (senior) ranks of chairholders (e.g., currently only 24 per cent of active Tier 1 chairholders are women, while 76 per cent are men).

Additional information will be available in the coming months; however, institutions should take these increased targets into account as they manage their Chair allocations. With sustained efforts and the implementation of best practices in recruitment, and EDI more widely, it is expected that institutions will be able to meet these increased equity targets by the ten-year goal of December 2029. It should be noted that the 2,285 Canada Research Chair allocations represent only 5 per cent of full-time faculty in Canada. There are many excellent researchers from the four designated groups, in all disciplines, at both the emerging and established levels, who could, given the opportunity, participate in the program.



Why is it necessary to set equity targets for the program?

The history of underrepresentation within the program demonstrates that the barriers for individuals from the four designated groups are systemic and persistent. Given the CRCP’s mandate to support research excellence and the fact that being a Canada Research Chair is advantageous to the research careers and reputations of academics, it is imperative that all leading researchers have equal access to the program. The equity targets are a tool that will be used by the program and institutions to transform structures and address the barriers to participation in the program.



Why isn’t the 2016 Census data being used to set targets for persons with disabilities?

The target for persons with disabilities takes into account that the current representation of persons with disabilities within the program is quite low (1.6 per cent), and acknowledges that this may be due in part to low self-identification rates based on the reluctance of individuals with disabilities to self-identify in an employment setting. The labour market availability (LMA) data for persons with disabilities is 4.9 per cent, based on Employment and Skills Development Canada Workforce DataFootnote 3, while the 2016 Census population data is 14 per cent. The target of 7.5 per cent increases the program’s current target from 4 per cent and moves beyond LMA, while acknowledging there may be specific challenges such as self-identification for this group.



How and when will the program engage with representatives of Indigenous communities to assess and revise the target-setting approach for Indigenous peoples?

As a best practice, the program will engage with Indigenous researchers to review and develop an approach to target setting that best reflects the unique needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit researchers. If you are Indigenous and wish to participate in this process, please send a message to EDI-EDI@chairs-chaires.gc.ca.

In addition, the program will continue to emphasize the importance of recognizing and valuing the excellence and importance of research that is based in Indigenous ways of knowing and ensuring that research with and by Indigenous communities respects the Indigenous research statement of principles.



How does the tri-agency Dimensions ̶ Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada program align with the changes being announced to the Canada Research Chairs Program?

The changes announced in the 2019 addendum only apply to the CRCP. The Dimensions – EDI program builds on recent steps taken to improve equity, diversity and inclusivity across institutions and in the research community. It is broader in scope and applies to all disciplines and fields and all post-secondary institutions (CEGEPs, colleges, polytechnics and universities). It is addressing obstacles faced by, but not limited to, women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.

Many institutions and organizations have endorsed the Dimensions – EDI Charter and are starting the work on its implementation. The EDI measures in the CRCP support the efforts of institutions in the implementation of the Charter and its requirements.



What is meant by applying an intersectional lens to the program’s EDI work?

In 1989, Kimberlé Crenshaw, currently professor of law at Columbia Law School and the University of California, Los Angeles, introduced the term “intersectionality” in a paper for the University of Chicago Legal Forum entitled Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics” to explain how African-American women face overlapping disadvantages and discrimination related to sexism and racism. This approach or lens is a best practice and will assist the program and institutions to better understand and address the multiple barriers and disadvantages that individuals with intersecting social identities, such as race, gender, sexuality and class, face. Using an intersectional approach to develop policies and programs helps to better identify and address systemic barriers.



How will intersectionality be addressed for the CRCP’s target-setting approach?

Institutions will be required to consider intersectionality in the allocation of their Chairs moving forward, if they were not already doing so. This will involve reporting on the representation of diversity among their chairholders using an intersectional approach that looks at the qualitative and quantitative data informing institutions of the systemic barriers and lived experiences of not just the four designated groups, but individuals who identify across more than one group. Large institutions will be required to set targets for Tier 1 and Tier 2 Chairs to ensure that there is diversity in both the emerging and established ranks of chairholders. Institutions with underrepresentation are expected to implement measures to better understand the lived experiences and address potential barriers faced by faculty with intersecting identities.



How does the program consider and support LGBTQ2+ communities in its measures?

The program will be implementing a number of measures to support the participation of LGBTQ2+ faculty within the program, including:

  • the collection of self-identification data;
  • outlining best practices for the recruitment and retention of LGBTQ2+ faculty within the program; and
  • requiring institutions to develop and implement measures within their institutional action plans that are specific to the LGBTQ2+ community.

As there is no reliable data on the representation of the LGBTQ2+ community in Canada, the program cannot set equity targets for the LGBTQ2+ community at this time.



What other measures are being implemented by Canada’s research funding agencies to address EDI within the research ecosystem?

The federal research funding agencies are working closely to harmonize the measures in place across the various EDI-related initiatives in fulfillment of one of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee’s mandated priorities to remove barriers faced by underrepresented groups and ensure equitable access to funding. These measures include the following examples of tri-agency initiatives:

  • the collection of self-identification data with a harmonized self-identification form;
  • the launch of Dimensions ̶ Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada giving institutions an opportunity to undertake analyses of their environment and develop action plans, similar to what the CRCP has done for institutions’ chair allocations;
  •  the EDI institutional capacity-building grants award up to $200,000 per year for up to two years to projects for the development and implementation of policies, plans, resources and training related to EDI;
  • SSHRC has adopted an Indigenous Research Statement of Principles. This commitment emphasizes the importance of Indigenous perspectives and knowledge systems to increase and expand our knowledge and understanding about human thought and behavior; and
  • committing to ensuring diversity and inclusion is considered when organizing or participating in panels or events; and
  • the development and implementation of a tri-agency EDI action plan.


Further questions

If you have enquiries related to the program’s equity, diversity and inclusion requirements and practices, please contact:


Sally Booth
Senior Policy Advisor, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Tel.: 613-947-9203
Email: sally.booth@chairs-chaires.gc.ca


Marie-Lynne Boudreau
Deputy Director, Policy, Performance, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Tel.: 613-943-7989
Email: marie-lynne.boudreau@chairs-chaires.gc.ca


Footnotes

Footnote 1

C. Francoeur, R., Labelle, and B. Sinclair-Desgagné, “Gender diversity in corporate governance and top management,” Journal of Business Ethics, 81(1) (2008),  83-95;

A. Woolley, and T. Malone, “What makes a team smarter? More women,” Harvard Business Review, 89 (6) (2011), 32-33; and

C., Díaz-García, A. González-Moreno and F.J. Sáez-Martínez, “Gender diversity within R&D teams: Its impact on radicalness of innovation,” Innovation: Organization & Management, 15(2) (2013), 149- 160.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

The University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Manitoba, the University of Waterloo, Western University, Laval University, the University of Ottawa, Université de Montréal, McGill University, Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, McMaster University and Dalhousie University.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

Employment Equity Act:  Annual Report 2017

Return to footnote 3 referrer