Research demonstrates that achieving an equitable, diverse and inclusive work environment leads to increased excellence, innovation and impact. As the Canada Research Chairs 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 members of racialized individuals, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, and women and gender equity-seeking groups.
All participating institutions are required to establish equity targets, using the program’s methodology, to address systemic barriers to participation in the program for individuals from the four designated groups: racialized individuals, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, and women and gender equity-seeking groups.
The equity target-setting methodology implements incremental equity targets for the program, based mainly on Canada’s population (2016 Census), for each of the four designated groups, as follows: racialized individuals 22%, Indigenous Peoples 4.9%, persons with disabilities 7.5%, and women and gender equity-seeking groups 50.9%, over 2021 to 2029. The program actively monitors the institutions’ progress toward meeting their established targets. In cases where, at each deadline, equity targets are not met, the program applies consequences until the targets are met.
Assessment of Chairholder Candidates
All researchers who participate in the program are required to meet the program’s excellence requirements. This is assessed in a rigorous two-step process: first, during the recruitment stage managed by the institution and subsequently during the peer review process after the individual is nominated to the program. Only individuals who are recommended for funding through the program’s peer review process are conferred a Canada Research Chair award.
Population-based institutional equity targets 2021-2029
A summary of each institution’s equity targets, and their target percentages for 2021 to 2029, is available on the program’s Population-Based Institutional Equity Targets 2021-2029 page.
The program also requires institutions to publish their institutional equity target plans for meeting the 2029 targets while respecting the Privacy Act (numbers under five must be withheld). Plans are publicly available on institutions’ institutional public accountability and transparency webpages for the program.
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.
Each year, participating institutions must publicly report on their progress in meeting their targets by completing the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan progress report and EDI Stipend Report. They must publish their reports on their public accountability and transparency webpages. See the Chairs Administration Guide for more information.
The equity target-setting methodology implements incremental equity targets for the program, based mainly on Canada’s population (2016 Census), for each of the four designated groups, as follows: racialized individuals 22%, Indigenous Peoples 4.9%, persons with disabilities 7.5%, and women and gender equity seeking groups 50.9% (see Table 1).
All participating institutions were required to submit an equity target plan to the program by June 4, 2021. These plans required setting equity targets for each of the four designated groups, as applicable, for each equity target deadline. This is to lead institutions incrementally, over 2021 to 2029, to the population-based equity targets. Large institutions with 40 or more allocated chairs are also required to set targets by tier to ensure representation at both the emerging Tier 2 and established Tier 1 levels.
Table 1: June 2021 representation in the program vs. 2029 targets
|Four Designated Groups
|June 2021 Program Representation
|December 2029 Equity Target Objectives
|22% (data: 2016 Census)
|4.9% (data: 2016 Census)
|Persons with disabilities
|Women and gender equity-seeking groups**
|50.9% (data: 2016 Census)
* The target of 7.5% (vs. 14% census) for persons with disabilities acknowledges that low self-identification rates could impact the ability to achieve a higher target, due to the reluctance of individuals with disabilities to self-identify in an employment setting. This percentage will be reviewed in 2025.
** Individuals who self-identify as women, transgender, gender-fluid, nonbinary and Two-Spirit contribute to the program’s equity targets and are reported in the program statistics in the category in which they self-identify.
Targets in percentages and in numbers of chairs
As part of their 2021-2029 equity target plans, institutions are required to set target percentages for each equity target deadline in the 2021-2029 period using target percentage ranges provided by the program. These target percentages serve to determine the institution’s corresponding equity targets in numbers of chairs. Institutions are required to meet their targets in numbers of chairs for each group, as applicable, at each deadline. Institutions are not able to change these target percentages following submission of their plan to the program in June 2021.
The equity targets in numbers of chairs are calculated based on the target percentages identified by the institution in their plan, and the institution’s total number of active (i.e., occupied) chairs at the time the equity targets were confirmed (see Table 2 below for timelines).
The program will convert the target percentages identified by the institutions in their June 2021 plans into targets in numbers of chairs three times leading up to 2029: in February 2023, 2026 and 2028. The conversions will be based on the total number of active chairs the institution has at each point.
Table 2: Equity target deadlines for 2021 to 2029
|Equity target deadline
|Equity target confirmation
Submission of 2021-2029 equity target plan (target percentages) and confirmation of 2022 equity targets
(in numbers of chairs)
Confirmation of 2025 equity targets
(in numbers of chairs)
Confirmation of 2027 equity targets
(in numbers of chairs)
Confirmation of 2029 equity targets
(in numbers of chairs)
Minimum, standardized and upper-level target percentage ranges
The program stipulated a range of minimum, standardized and upper-level targets to support setting target percentages. The target percentages could not be set any lower than the targets stipulated in the minimum target range for each group for each deadline.
Institutions found to have not met their equity target or targets at any of the given equity target deadlines leading up to 2029 will be limited to submitting only new nominations where individuals self-identify as belonging to one or more of the four designated groups and where the institution has a target to be met for that group leading up to the 2029 period, until their equity target gap or gaps for that deadline is met with approved and active chairs. All renewals can continue to be submitted during this time.
Institutions that do not meet their equity targets by the December 2029 deadline will see their total allocation of Chairs reduced until the following allocation cycle. For more information on the Chair reduction methodology, see the Chairs Administration Guide.
Institutions are encouraged to continue to use this tool leading up to 2029 to help them anticipate changes in their equity targets based on their total numbers of active chairs and on the target percentages they set in their plans.
If you have enquiries related to the Canada Research Chairs Program’s equity, diversity and inclusion requirements and practices, see Frequently Asked Questions or contact: