Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Requirements and Practices

Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The Government of Canada and the Canada Research Chairs Program (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 Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS). Therefore, all institutions that accept agency funding must 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.

The program’s Steering Committee sent open letters to the university presidents who participate in the program, reminding them of these commitments and expectations. The letters are available to read online:

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

The program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan outlines the actions that are being taken to address the following recommendation in the program’s 15th-year evaluation:

Management should require institutions to adopt greater transparency in their processes for 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 action plan focuses on improving the program’s governance, transparency, and monitoring of its measures and in addressing its long-standing equity, diversity and inclusion challenges.

For more information, refer to the frequently asked questions.

2019 Addendum to 2006 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement

In 2006 a Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement was reached between the CRCP and eight academics who filed complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2003. In 2019, an addendum to the agreement was reached between the CRCP and the equity-seeking plaintiffs, which outlines the new terms of the revised agreement. These new terms were developed collaboratively between the parties and update the original settlement agreement to align with best practices. They build on the CRCP’s current EDI measures and ensure that the objective of attracting and retaining a diverse cadre of world-class researchers at Canadian postsecondary institutions to reinforce excellence in research and training is achieved. See the addendum and the original agreement.

For more information, refer to the open letter dated July 2019 and the frequently asked questions.

2021 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement

In 2021, a Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement was reached between the CRCP and an individual who filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2017. The terms of the agreement are in line with the program’s commitment to EDI and program governance decisions of enforcement measures.

For more information, refer to the agreement and the frequently asked questions.

Public accountability and transparency requirements

Equity, diversity and inclusion public accountability and transparency requirements

These public accountability and transparency requirements outline the specific information related to administering a chair that institutions must clearly publish on their websites by March 15 of each year (or the next business day thereafter, should this date fall on a Saturday, Sunday or statutory holiday) to be eligible for the program. This includes developing institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plans.

See the list of participating institutions’ public accountability webpages.

Institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plans

As part of the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (launched May 2017), all institutions with an allocation of five or more chairs were required to develop and implement action plans to increase openness, transparency, equity, diversity and inclusion in the management of the institution’s chair allocations. Plans were required to meet specific program requirements, including conducting an employment systems review, an environmental scan, and a comparative review of the institutional support being provided to chairholders. The plans were formally reviewed by an expert panel to assess whether they met the program requirements.

See Results of formal review of institutional equity, diversity and inclusion action plans for more details.

Requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs

These requirements apply to all new nominations (including foreign nominees), whether the chair is used for internal (only open to existing faculty) or external recruitment (to attract new faculty), as well as when an active Tier 2 chairholder is nominated to a Tier 1 chair at the same institution.

Monitoring and Reporting

Self-identification data collection

The program collects disaggregated self-identification data from all nominees and chairholders. The program uses the data to monitor levels of diversity, its policies and processes for potential systemic barriers, and to ensure that institutions are meeting their equity targets. For transparency and to publicly report on progress, the program publishes aggregated data (where numbers are higher than five per designated group) on its website. The program also periodically shares the aggregated data with nominating institutions to help them monitor their efforts in meeting their targets.

See a preview of the program’s self-identification form and refer to the frequently asked questions.

Annual equity, diversity and inclusion progress report

Institutions are required to report annually to the program using the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Progress Report, and publicly on their public accountability and transparency webpages, on the progress made in implementing their action plans and meeting their equity and diversity targets and objectives.

Monitoring of recruitment processes

TIPS monitors the adherence of institutions to the program’s requirements. Institutions may be asked to provide, at any time within the 48 months following the nomination, evidence that their recruitment and nomination processes met these requirements. Refer to the Chairs Administration Guide for more information.

Establishing equity targets

Institutions must establish equity targets to ensure that individuals who often face systemic barriers in employment (women and gender minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples and racialized minorities) participate in the program. The program monitors the institutions’ progress toward meeting their established targets. Institutions’ failure to participate in the target-setting exercise will result in the suspension of payments. See the target-setting method for more information.

Program evaluations

As is the case for all federal government programs, the CRCP undergoes an evaluation every five years to monitor its effectiveness, efficiency and objectives. These evaluations also monitor the program for any systemic barriers that might prevent individuals from the four designated groups from participating in the program. Visit the Publications page for a list of the program’s evaluation reports.

Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

The Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy is mandated to advise the governance committees and TIPS on implementing measures to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in all programs administered by TIPS. The committee also peer reviews the nominations submitted to the annual Robbins-Ollivier Excellence in Equity Award and provides a funding recommendation to TIPS.

The committee’s membership includes diverse stakeholders with a wide mix of backgrounds and competencies. When performing their duties, committee members consider current research, best practices and the various contextual factors in which the programs operate.

Best Practices

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: A Best Practices Guide for Recruitment, Hiring and Retention

This living best practices guide, which is periodically updated as needed (last update was March 2021), provides guidance for promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in the policies and procedures for recruiting, hiring and supporting faculty. The document is a tool for institutions to use as they determine how best to address any areas for improvement identified when assessing their work environments. Institutions are encouraged to use these best practices, as applicable, to help meet their equity and diversity targets.

Institutions are also encouraged to share their best practices with the program and with other institutions.

Robbins-Ollivier Award for Excellence in Equity

TIPS confers three awards annually to eligible faculty members or teams of eligible faculty members who will lead bold and potentially game-changing projects that will challenge the status quo, spark change and take action to address persistent systemic barriers in the research ecosystem and academia. Institutions that participate in the program can nominate one individual or a team of individuals to the Robbins-Ollivier Award for Excellence in Equity each year.

Expectations and guidelines for the peer review process

Training on equity, diversity and inclusion

Members of the governance committees and TIPS staff receive annual training on issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion, such as limiting unconscious bias and anti-racism. This includes the online unconscious bias training module, which is mandatory for governance and peer review committees. It explains what unconscious bias is, outlines how it can affect the peer review process and suggests ways to mitigate the influence of unconscious bias. Institutions may also use the module to meet the training requirement of the program’s action plan.

Guidelines for reference letter writers

These guidelines provide information for letter writers to limit unconscious bias in the reference letters they provide for nominees to the program. Research has shown that, when compared to letters of recommendation for male applicants, those written for women were more likely to, among other issues, be shorter, include fewer “standout” adjectives and include more “doubt raisers.” It is important to limit this unconscious bias as it can negatively affect career progression.

Guidelines for assessing the productivity of nominees

Peer reviewers must consider the key points listed in these guidelines when assessing applicant productivity. For example, reviewers must consider career interruptions resulting from maternity, parental, medical or family leaves. The time devoted to these types of leaves must not be included in the assessment of their research productivity. Institutions should encourage nominees to identify any personal circumstances that have affected their productivity.

Indirect Costs Related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Objectives

The costs associated with implementing the institution’s equity, diversity and inclusion commitments are eligible expenses in the Research Support Fund. This includes, for example, costs of training on equity, diversity and inclusion issues; salaries of equity officers; and costs of collecting data on the participation in the program of the four designated groups.

Contact Information

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

General inquiries

Marie-Lynne Boudreau
Director, Performance, Equity and Diversity