UBC has a robust strategy for raising awareness of our commitment to and the benefits of equity, diversity and inclusion within the Canada Research Chair Program (CRCP) and our broader research enterprise.
Our strategy includes practices such as the following:
UBC is committed to raising awareness of its commitment to equity and ensuring the university community is aware of the benefits of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the CRC Program and beyond.
In May 2017, the Canada Research Chairs Program advised universities that there was a need for 'greater transparency and accountability in the processes used by institutions for allocation and selection of chairholders to ensure that institutional equity and diversity targets are met.'
The UBC Canada Research Chair Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan (UBC/CRC EDIAP) guides our efforts to sustain the participation of underrepresented individuals from the four federally-designated groups (FDGs) – women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities (members of groups that are racially categorized) – among our chair allocations.
- In support of the inclusion theme in Shaping UBC's Next Century: UBC's Strategic Plan, UBC's “Building Inclusive UBC: An Inclusion Action Plan” raises awareness of the CRC Program and its commitments to EDI specifically in Goal 4.0: Learning, Research, and Engagement / Action D: Advance the principles and intended outcomes of the equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives of the CRC Program and the Dimensions Charter, as well as other existing and future government programs.
- Regular updates regarding the progress in our CRC EDI Action Plan are provided to Deans, Heads and Directors, Faculty Equity Leads, the Dimensions Pilot Team, and the institutional and divisional implementation structures for the UBC's Inclusion Action Plan.
- The CRC Working Group members include CRC and administration representation to guide and promote the commitments and initiatives of UBC's CRC Program towards greater equity, diversity, and commitments.
- Regular communications are maintained with faculties and departments to ensure compliance with equity and diversity requirements for CRC recruitment processes, and to provide research results and tools to support greater inclusion in onboarding and retention.
With thanks for funding received from the federal Canada Research Chair program, the Equity & Inclusion Office, in partnership with the Office of the Provost, has been able to publish two research reports examining equity, diversity and inclusion for Canada Research Chairs (CRCs).
The reports focus on two specific actions identified in the UBC/CRC EDIAP:
- Addressing underrepresentation of person with disabilities; and
- Creating more equitable experiences for current and future chairholders at UBC.
The Equitable Research Productivity Assessments report examines issues arising in hiring, retaining, and supporting scholars with disabilities in Canada Research Chairs and throughout academia, and offers some solutions to these issues. The report highlights the systemic barriers, the bias, and the discrimination faced by disabled scholars. It also discusses institutional ableism, such as how accommodations for disabilities can often be an afterthought; the ways in which disabled people have to spend extra time and energy navigating spaces that aren’t accessible; and how the language used in hiring and selection processes can be discriminatory and overly medicalized.
The report calls for changes to the criteria for assessing scholarly activity and research productivity to better fit evolving values and requirements, yielding enhanced research excellence as a result of accommodating a wider range of perspectives. Further recommendations include: ensuring a more proactive approach to improving accessibility; educating staff and faculty; supporting the visibility of disabled people; and including disabled people on selection committees.
UBC’s Focus on Equity in Canada Research Chair Experiences is a qualitative research report looking at barriers and inequities in the program for CRCs. The findings of this report reveal that institutional and, more specifically, departmental environments play a critical role in the experiences and success of a chairholder. To address these obstacles, the report recommends: mentorship connections; networking opportunities; equitable negotiations; and program transparency – as well as more support and recognition from within UBC and through the Canada Research Chair’s federal program. Such measures would help create a more equitable environment and support all Canada Research Chairholders in reaching their full potential.
Institutions must establish equity and diversity targets to ensure the CRC program benefits from equity, diversity and inclusion, and that individuals from the four federally-designated groups (women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of visible minorities/members of groups that are racially categorized) participate in the program. Progress in implementing the overall EDIAP Action Plan and meeting equity and diversity targets and objectives must be reported on annually.
As part of the Faculty Relations Faculty Recruitment Guide and orientation sessions, hiring committees are encouraged to use proactive and individual efforts to advertise and contact diverse groups. These include contacting organizations and associations focused on diverse groups, seeking candidates at international meetings, enlisting networks through other centres or institutes to forward search ads to broad groups, and soliciting search committees and other faculty to identify members of diverse groups that can be contacted individually.
Nomination and recruitment processes must be transparent, open, and equitable, and diverse search committees are expected for all searches. This applies to the nomination of all new chairs, regardless of whether they are intended to facilitate the recruitment or the retention of research faculty.
UBC has also provided search committees the flexibility to consider the full range of potential applicants for Tier 2 CRC recruitment, including promising candidates early in their careers who have strong potential but are still establishing their publication and research program. Further, UBC has developed a strategy for increasing the diversity among CRC chairholders by reserving a proportion of Tier 2 chairs for international recruitment, which routinely involve international advertising to increase the diversity in the pool of applicants.
Currently, UBC is in a period of restricted recruitment, selection and nomination for the Canada Research Chair Program, meaning that nominations for new chair positions will not be peer-reviewed, except in cases where a nomination involves someone who has self-identified within one or more of the following federally designated groups: women, visible minorities (members of groups that are racially categorized), persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples.
Emergency retention mechanism
UBC Deans must justify an emergency retention to the Provost’s Office that would comply with all EDI requirements, and the transparency requirements of the CRC program on the public accountability and transparency web pages.
Learn more about the requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs.
All CRC positions must be clearly advertised since they are publicly funded. It is important that the recruitment process be open and transparent to allow all eligible candidates to apply. This applies to the nomination of all new chairs (including foreign candidates), whether the chair is used for retention purposes (internal recruitment), the advancement of a Tier 2 chairholder to a Tier 1 chair, or as a recruiting tool.
Until further notice, nominations to the CRC program are restricted to individuals who self-identify as belonging to one or more of the four federally-designated equity groups to redress the imbalance of representation with the CRC program.
Recruitment for all faculty positions can be found on the Canada Research Chairs job postings page or the central UBC recruitment site, the latter of which is best accessed via Safari or Firefox browsers.
For positions where central posting is not a requirement such as retention candidates, information is provided on the Faculty websites.
In order to ensure that your job posting is reaching a diverse pool of qualified candidates in your field, we have developed the Diversifying Your Applicant Pool database. Database entries capture professional associations, publications, networks and grassroots communities that specifically serve scholars from equity-seeking groups and are not the traditional sites of advertisement for searches. Entries in this database can be used to support the Employment Equity Policy HR11 minimum requirements for advertising in searches.
To oversee the implementation and updating of UBC's CRC EDI Action Plan, UBC established a CRC Committee comprised of members of the Provost's Office, the Equity & Inclusion Office, the Dimensions Pilot Team, Human Resources, and the Centre for Accessibility to ensure the day-to-day planning, implementation, and monitoring of EDI initiatives. The CRC Working Group, with broader representation of CRCs and Senior Equity Advisors, meets every two months, and is responsible for advising on the direction of the initiatives that are planned.
Implementation of the required elements of the CRC EDI action plan include:
- data collection on:
- all current Canada Research Chairholders (diversity, institutional environment, and equitable experiences)
- applicants to ensure diversity in recruitment processes to meet nomination requirements
- meeting the CRC Program's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Public Accountability and Transparency Requirements.
- accessibility and researching initiatives to ensure a more inclusive environment for CRCs with disabilities.
- final approval and oversight from the Associate Vice-President, Academic, and Associate Vice-President, Equity & Inclusion.
- data collection on:
Responsibility for implementing UBC's CRC EDI agenda, allocation of chairs, and monitoring of equity targets falls under UBC Vancouver's Provost's Office, and questions or concerns related to EDI can be addressed to Dr. Pam Ratner, Vice Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic; and Dr. Sara-Jane Finlay, Associate Vice-President, Equity & Inclusion Office
The Canada Research Chairs program includes best practices for promoting equity, diversity and inclusion at each state of planning for, recruiting, hiring and retaining diverse faculty members. More information on CRCP’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Requirements and Practices may be found here.
UBC's Equity Target Data
Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strengthen research communities and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. UBC’s CRC equity strategies have resulted in chair occupancy rates that surpass the 2021 targets for women, visible minorities (members of groups that are racially categorized) and Indigenous Peoples. The following table outlines UBC’s CRC equity and diversity and occupancy rates (as of March 2021).
CRC National 2029 Targets
Persons with disabilities
Members of racialized groups
*In keeping with the Privacy Act, if the chairholders who self-identify number less than five, the information is not provided to protect the privacy of the chairs.
In the spirit of openness and transparency, the Canada Research Chairs program is making public the results and findings of its target-setting exercise, while respecting the Privacy Act.
As an eligibility requirement, all institutions that participate in the Canada Research Chairs Program were required to develop and submit their 2021-2029 equity target plans to the program by June 2021. The plans required setting targets for each of the four designated groups for each of the target deadlines, to lead incrementally, over the period 2021-2029. Large institutions were also required to set targets by Tier, to ensure representation at both the emerging Tier 2 and established Tier 1 levels of the program. See a sample of UBC's target plan here.
At an institutional level, UBC initiated an Employment Equity program based on guidelines established by the federal government. UBC’s Employment Equity measures include the removal of barriers to selection, promotion and training of members of the above-noted designated groups (women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities and Aboriginal Peoples).
In April 2016, UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office undertook a census of the university population, asking faculty and staff members to self-identify as a member of these four designated groups. The census is also collecting information on sexual orientation and gender diversity. The updated equity information will form the basis for a revised Employment Equity Plan, and assists UBC in setting its employment equity goals. This will further improve UBC's hiring, promotion and retention practices. The university's current Employment Equity Plan can be found here.
Institution-wide equity, diversity, inclusion practices
“Equity and diversity are integral to the mission of the University of British Columbia, and UBC strives to be a community in which equity is embedded in all areas of academic, work and campus life. As one of Canada’s top research universities, a commitment to equity allows us to attract the best teachers and researchers from across Canada and round the world.”
-Santa J. Ono, President and Vice-Chancellor, The University of British Columbia
Beyond the CRC Program, below are a few of the ways that exemplify UBC's broader commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
UBC has implemented a number of strategies to ensure equity and diversity is considered in all facets of its hiring and planning practices and policy development.
Working together to ensure diversity
The Vice Presidential Strategic implementation Committee for Equity and Diversity advises senior management on how to best implement solutions to address substantive equity issues on campus.
The Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty works closely with faculties on hiring processes and develops a set of best practices to ensure advancement of diversity. Through the work of this office, UBC has created many resources on equity and diversity in hiring, retention, career advancement, salary increases and mentoring.
Providing equity and diversity training for search committees
All search committees must take an orientation session that emphasizes:
- running a search that supports proactive recruitment of diverse candidates;
- performing a consistent, unbiased review; and
- implementing internal processes that include diversity as a strategic part of the research.
The sessions are run by someone from the appropriate dean’s office, or through the Equity and Inclusion Office, the Provost’s Office, or Faculty Relations. These efforts complement the oversight at the Faculty level, and have heightened awareness and expanded the applicant pools. This has resulted in increased diversity in chair and regular faculty positions.
Search committee chairs can request an unconscious bias and equity and diversity briefing from Sara-Jane Finlay, Associate Vice President, Equity & Inclusion (email@example.com) or Naznin Virji-Babul, Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) is pleased to launch an unconscious bias training module that will be mandatory for TIPS’ governance and peer review committees. The module explains what unconscious bias is, outlines how it can affect the evaluation of applications, and suggests ways to mitigate the influence of unconscious bias. The Secretariat wishes to sincerely thank its colleagues at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for making the original version of this training module available. TIPS, in collaboration with SSHRC and NSERC, have broadened the module to be applicable to all disciplines.
In September 2008, President Toope introduced the UBC Respectful Environment Statement for Students, Faculty and Staff. The Statement speaks to Freedoms and our responsibilities, and provides the guiding principles to support us in building an environment in which respect, civility, diversity, and opportunity and inclusion are valued. The statement was revised in May, 2014.
"UBC envisions a climate in which students, faculty and staff are provided with the best possible conditions for learning, researching and working, including an environment that is dedicated to excellence, equity and mutual respect. UBC strives to realize this vision by establishing employment and educational practices that respect the dignity of individuals and make it possible for everyone to live, work, and study in a positive and supportive environment, free from harmful behaviours such as bullying and harassment."
In Policy HR11: Employment Advertising, UBC requires that each advertisement for an academic position include the following paragraph:
"Equity and diversity are essential for academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nations, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person."
In practice, this means that UBC sees diversity as a prime criterion in the search and appointment for all candidates, particularly those in prestigious positions such as Canada Research Chairs. Through the briefing of search committees, UBC emphasizes the importance of diversity competencies and the requirement for skills to work with diverse populations in all appointments.
UBC’s Policy HR10: Employment Equity, was approved by the Board of Governors in November 1990 and upholds the principles of individual merit and achievement to ensure that selection, training, and promotion decisions are based on how well an individual’s skills, knowledge and experience match specific performance criteria.
"The University of British Columbia has established a program of employment equity to provide a fair and equitable workplace and to offer all individuals full opportunity to develop their potential. Accordingly, the University will identify and eliminate any discriminatory barriers that interfere with employment opportunities in all jobs and at all levels throughout the University. Both current and prospective faculty and staff will receive equitable treatment in hiring, training, and promotion procedures."
UBC has a comprehensive set of mechanisms to address concerns related to equity and diversity, depending on the issue and one's position at UBC and/or an affiliated hospital (i.e. faculty, staff or student).
- For concerns of harassment and discrimination, faculty, staff, or students can contact the Human Rights Advisor at the Equity & Inclusion Office. The Human Rights Advisor coordinates with other relevant parties to address these concerns.
- For concerns related to a respectful environment, faculty can contact their Head of Department or their Human Resources Advisor.
- The Provost has a Senior Advisor on Racialized Faculty (role currently vacant) and a Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty – both act as resources for faculty members with concerns about gender and race.
- Through the annual Comparative Experiences Survey of the Canada Research Chairs, CRCs are able to voice their concerns confidentially and/or anonymously, invited to discuss them further with the Associate Vice-President, Equity & Inclusion, and concerns are reviewed and discussed with faculty deans.
Concerns are addressed as follows:
- Concerns of human rights-based inequities are addressed informally by the Human Rights Advisor at the Equity & Inclusion Office. If the Advisor is unable to arrive at an informal resolution, the Advisor will assist the complainant in making a formal complaint under UBC’s Policy SC7: Discrimination. The formal complaint is investigated by UBC’s Independent Investigations Office. More information about investigations can be found in Policy SC8: Investigations.
- Concerns related to respectful environment are investigated by the Administrative Head of Unit supported by Faculty Relations.
- Concerns shared with the Senior Advisors are directed and shared as appropriate.
- Concerns that are raised in the Comparative Experiences Survey representing broader issues are discussed and resolved at meetings of the Deans and Provost, as set out in UBC’s CRC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan (EDIAP).
Reporting on concerns is done as follows:
- Annual progress reports on the CRC Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan.
- The Equity & Inclusion Office prepares an Annual Report each year. Policy SC7 requires that we provide statistical data on cases/complaints we have received, the grounds under which the complaints are based, and whether the complaints are brought by faculty, staff or students. The Independent Investigations Office further reports on all formal investigations under Policy SC7.
- Through its annual report, Human Resources provides information on complaints received under the Respectful Environment Statement.