Establishing equity and diversity targets

Institutions must establish equity and diversity targets using the methodology below to ensure individuals from the four designated groups (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities) participate in the program. The program monitors the institutions’ progress toward meeting their established targets. An institution’s failure to participate in the target-setting exercise will result in the suspension of payments.

Results of participating institutions

In the spirit of openness and transparency, the program publishes the results and findings of its target-setting exercise, while respecting the Privacy Act. Visit the Program Statistics page to see the latest results.

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Reporting requirements

On October 31 each year, participating institutions must publicly report on their progress in meeting their targets by completing the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Progress Report. Refer to the Chairs Administration Guide for more information.

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Target-setting methodology

Note: This methodology is currently under review.

The program’s targets are set using an availability approach. Availability is determined by estimating the representation of a designated group within the pool of potential nominees. The percentage of the estimated representation becomes the target to be met. The difference between this target and the percentage of current Chairs who are members of that designated group becomes the equity gap to be addressed.

Target-setting formula

Target (%) – Current Occupancy (%) = Equity Gap (%)

Active university researchers represent the pool of potential nominees. This is the preferred pool from which to establish targets. However, due to limits in the available statistical data, targets for some of the designated groups are set using approximations of the pools (See Table 2).

To establish targets for the number of women among chairholders, the program uses data regarding the participation of researchers in the grant competitions of the three federal research funding agencies: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) (see Table 1).

Table 1: Percentage of women applicants in the competitions of the three federal granting agencies (data updated in 2014) Footnote 1
Federal agency data NSERC CIHR SSHRC

Percentage of women applicants




For the three other designated groups—Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities—the program establishes targets using data taken from other sources (See Table 2. Note that this data cannot be broken down by agency).

Table 2: Availability pool used for each target (data reviewed in 2011)
Available indicator Footnote 2 Designated group Target

The proportion of university teachers that identify as Indigenous Footnote 3

Indigenous peoples


The proportion of doctorate holders with a disability Footnote 4

Persons with disabilities


The proportion of university teachers that can be designated a member of a visible minority group

Members of visible minorities



Footnote 1

Data includes: SSHRC Insight Grants (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14), NSERC Discovery Grants (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14), and CIHR Open Operating Grants (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14).

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Footnote 2

Based on self-identification.

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Footnote 3

Source: Statistics Canada, CAUT Almanac, Table 2.20 Visible Minority, Aboriginal and Other Background of University Teachers, 2006. Statistics Canada, 2014, Semi-custom tabulation (contact CAUT).

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Footnote 4

Source: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2006 Employment Equity Data Report, Table 8 Population Showing Representation by Highest Degree, Certificate or Diploma for Women, Aboriginal Peoples, Visible Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities. Ottawa, 2006.

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Target-setting reporting tool

Institutions can use this target-setting tool to calculate their equity and diversity targets in order to review the effectiveness and impact of their strategies for addressing gaps.

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Contact Information

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

Sally Booth
Senior Policy Analyst, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Marie-Lynne Boudreau
Deputy Director, Policy, Performance, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion