Open letter from the Canada Research Chairs Program management to institutional presidents

September 10, 2018

To the institutional presidents who participate in the Canada Research Chairs Program:

I am writing as chair of the Management Committee of the Canada Research Chairs Program to provide updates on implementing the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and on program funding announced in Budget 2018.

One-year update on the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

As you know, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, minister of Science and Sport, has been championing strong action to increase equity, diversity and inclusion within the Canadian research ecosystem. Notably, the minister launched the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan in May 2017. This has led to the achievement of important milestones in improving the program’s governance, transparency, and monitoring of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

In addition, the Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, which purposefully embedded equity and diversity as a crucial element of the program, demonstrated that strong program design and institutional commitment can achieve significant results.

Based on the nominations submitted by institutions since the CRCP implemented its action plan, as outlined in the table below, it is clear that institutions are responding to the urgent call made by the minister last year to address the underrepresentation of women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of visible minorities within the program. We wish to thank institutions for their efforts and congratulate them on the progress made to date.

Table 1: Nomination rate of individuals from the four designated groups

Pre-action plan Post-action plan
Designated group Nominations submitted to April 2017* cycle Nominations submitted to October 2017* cycle Nominations submitted to April 2018* cycle
Women 30.2% 40.8% 43.7%
Persons with disabilities -- -- --
Indigenous peoples 3.6% -- 4.4%
Members of visible minorities 17.7% 17.8% 23.4%

* In keeping with the Privacy Act, if the number of chairholders who self-identified as belonging to one of the four groups is less than five, it is not provided to protect the privacy of chairholders.

Additionally, in the last year, all institutions with five or more chair allocations have developed their own institutional equity, diversity and inclusion action plans, and met the program’s new public accountability and transparency requirements.

The Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS), which administers the program on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies, conducted a preliminary assessment of all of the institutional action plans, to document best practices and better understand and assess the challenges facing institutions. As a next step, the program will convene a panel of equity, diversity and inclusion experts in winter 2018-19 to conduct an external assessment of these plans and their corresponding progress reports, which are due December 15, 2018. This panel will also provide important recommendations to institutions to help share best practices, ensure that institutions reach their equity and diversity targets by December 2019, and that the principles of EDI continue to be incorporated systematically, strategically and sustainably in managing their chair allocations.

The CRCP’s Steering Committee will review the panel’s assessments and recommendations and will use the information provided to assess what further measures may be needed prior to December 2019 to support institutions in meeting these important goals.

I wish to also share with you some important measures that the program is implementing to help improve our EDI efforts, including:

TIPS will provide institutions with additional information on these program developments through webinars in the coming weeks.

An update on Budget 2018

In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced the largest investment of new funding to support Canadian research in decades. This historic investment included $210 million over five years for the program to better support early career researchers and increase diversity among nominated researchers. This investment will increase the program’s capacity to support and promote excellent research by a diverse cadre of chairholders. TIPS will share more information about this investment with institutions in the near future.

The government remains firmly committed to working collaboratively with all participating institutions to ensure that the goals and benefits of EDI both within the CRCP and the broader Canadian research enterprise are realized.


Dominique Bérubé, PhD
Chair, Management Committee, CRCP
Vice-president, Research Programs, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)


Institution’s first contact
Institution’s second contact
Danika Goosney, associate vice-president, TIPS
Ted Hewitt, president, SSHRC
Michel Perron, executive vice-president, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
B. Mario Pinto, president, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
Roseann O’Reilly Runte, president and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation
John Knubley, deputy minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Simon Kennedy, deputy minister, Health Canada