UBC's Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within the CRC Program

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:

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UBC’s CRC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan

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.'

Institutions with five or more chairs were asked to develop a CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan to ensure greater transparency in the allocation, selection and renewal processes for chairholders. The plan must include impactful equity, diversity and inclusion objectives to address any disadvantages currently experienced by individuals. 

The UBC Canada Research Chair Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan (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.

Read UBC's EDI Action Plan

CRCEDI Action Plan Appendices

CRC's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

Institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan: Progress Report

Institutions must establish equity and diversity targets to ensure the 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. 

Read the Progress Report

Diversity in hiring

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.

Learn more about the requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs.

Restricted hiring for UBC CRCs

Step-by-step appointment guide

2019 Addendum to the 2006 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement

Advertising for CRCs

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.

Guidance on advertising criteria

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. 

UBC's Equity Target Data

UBC’s CRC equity strategies have resulted in chair occupancy rates that surpass the targets for visible minorities and Aboriginal Peoples, and meet the target for women. The following table outlines UBC’s CRC equity and diversity and occupancy rates (as of October 2018).

Federally Designated Equity Groups at UBCNumberPercentage (%)CRC National Targets (%)UBC Targets 2019


6440%31%no gaps
Aboriginal Peoples- *- *1%-
Visible Minorities3019%15%no gaps
Persons with Disabilities- *- *4%-

*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.

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.

Equity, diversity and inclusion training

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 (sara-jane.finlay@ubc.ca) or Naznin Virji-Babul, Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty (naznin.virji-babul@ubc.ca).

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.

UBC Statement on Respectful Environment for Students, Faculty and Staff

In late 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."

Policy HR11: Employment Advertising

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.

Policy HR10: Employment Equity

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."

Concerns regarding equity and inclusion policies  

Concerns about how equity and inclusion policies are being implemented or not can be raised as follows:

  1. For concerns of harassment and discrimination, faculty can contact the Human Rights Advisor at the Equity & Inclusion Office.
  2. For concerns related to a respectful environment, faculty can contact their Head of Department or their Human Resources Advisor.
  3. The Provost has appointed a Senior Advisor on Racialized Faculty 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.
  4. Through the annual Comparative Experiences Survey of the Canada Research Chairs.

Concerns are addressed as follows:

  1. 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
  2. Concerns related to respectful environment are investigated by the Administrative Head of Unit supported by Faculty Relations.
  3. Concerns shared with the Senior Advisors are directed and shared as appropriate.
  4. 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:

  1. Annual progress reports on the CRC Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan.
  2. 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.
  3. Through its annual report, Human Resources provides information on complaints received under the Respectful Environment Statement.

For further information on equity, inclusion and diversity at UBC, please visit the Equity and Inclusion website or contact the Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion.

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