The University of Toronto CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (the Action Plan) guides our efforts to ensure the representation of individuals from the federally designated groups—persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and women—among our Canada Research Chairholders across the University.
The University will progressively meet the objectives of this revised and updated Action Plan by December 2019 and beyond, as we implement the new guidelines and targets announced in the recent addendum to the 2006 settlement agreement. Initiatives undertaken under the Action Plan will complement and support existing institutional equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives and may be further revised and updated to encompass input from our community as we implement the items below.
Our community comprises the University of Toronto, which includes three campuses, eighteen academic divisions and 125 appointing units, as well as nine affiliated hospitals. With ten separate employers who have different policies and practices comes both the challenge of significant inter-institutional coordination and the strength of different approaches in implementing complementary actions to advance equity, diversity and inclusion. The affiliated hospitals with five or more Chairs are each developing their own institutional Action Plans in conjunction with this U of T Action Plan, including their own objectives and processes aimed at removing barriers and increasing representation of the four designated groups among their Chairholders. Those hospitals will also monitor their own progress toward meeting these objectives.
In addition to the wide array of institutional initiatives and resources for advancing equity, diversity and inclusion as part of the University’s culture, the Vice-President Research & Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives has recently appointed a new Associate Vice-President, Institutional Strategic Initiatives (AVP-ISI). The AVP-ISI will serve as a champion of the Canadian Dimensions Charter and work with senior staff members in the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, and Strategic Innovations to create education and resources for divisional leaders to ensure widespread institutional adoption of best practices in EDI in research and innovation. The AVP-ISI will also serve as the inaugural Chair of a standing Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation. Working in synergy with initiatives developed in the Divisions of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation; the Vice-President & Provost; and the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, as well as the academic divisions, the Committee will advise the Vice-President on strategies and practices that promote equity and diversity, fulfill sponsor requirements for EDI and foster a culture of inclusion in the University’s research community. In consultation with senior leadership, the academic divisions, the University community, and the affiliated hospitals, the Committee will provide guidance on plans to sustain and expand current EDI initiatives relevant to research and innovation, including—but not limited to—the forty-nine recommendations of the Equity and Diversity in Research and Innovation Working Group Report. The Committee will hold its inaugural meeting in October 2019.
Targets for the CRC program are set nationally for the federally designated groups. Full information on the determination of these targets can be found on the CRC website. The University of Toronto will continue to meet and exceed the following representation targets set by the CRC Program, based on our current count of 263 filled Chairs for U of T campuses and affiliated hospitals:
Women: 32% / 85 CRCs
Visible minorities: 15% / 40 CRCs
Persons with Disabilities: 4% / 11 CRCs
Aboriginal Peoples: 1% / 3 CRCs
1. EDI Objectives & Strategies
U of T is committed to removing barriers and supporting our community members in fulfilling their academic, research and employment goals. The University of Toronto is recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers (2018), Canada’s Best Diversity Employers (2017), Canada’s Greenest Employers (2017), Canada’s Top Family-Friendly Employers (2017), Greater Toronto’s Top Employers (2017) and Canada’s Top Employers for Canadians over 40 (2017).
Through a number of annual reports, the University conducts regular self-assessments towards the goal of equity, diversity and inclusion. Analysis of these reports was included in our employment systems review, comparative review and environmental scan.
Employment Systems Review (2017/2018)
An employment systems review was initially conducted in the fall of 2017, prior to the development of the University’s original Action Plan, and was updated to incorporate more recent data, which became available in November 2018. Our review examined the openness and transparency of the University’s recruitment practices as well as the overall diversity of our faculty complement. This review was conducted in cooperation with the Division of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, and the Division of the Vice-President and Provost.
The review process was data-driven, drawing on employment equity data collected by the Division of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture. In 2016, the University launched a revised Employment Equity Survey to better understand the current composition of our workforce and to develop programs and initiatives to support the diversification of our faculty and staff. The survey questions themselves were modified following an extensive consultation process, which resulted in a better delineation between gender/gender identity and sexual orientation, the description of visible and invisible disabilities and the addition of questions around ethnocultural identity. A similar Diversity Survey is available to all applicants to career opportunities at U of T, including full-time faculty positions.
The annual Employment Equity Report provides the University community with aggregated data from the Employment Equity Survey, allowing us to assess and monitor the representation of members of equity-deserving groups—including, but not limited to, the four designated groups—among the University’s faculty members, librarians and staff members. Based on the updated Employment Equity Survey, the 2016–2017 Equity Report represents the first time that the University was able to identify at a more granular level areas where there may be gaps in our employment pool, and where we need to concentrate efforts to increase our candidate pools. Information regarding the representation of equity-deserving groups among applicants to employment opportunities is also published in the 2016–2017 Employment Equity Report.
The 2017/2018 Report on Employment Equity includes the following information on the representation of the four designated groups among faculty members, including tenured, tenure-stream, and teaching-stream faculty (based on an 81% response rate, an increase of 11% from the previous reporting period):
- 47% percent of faculty members self-identify as women
- 19% of faculty members self-identify as racialized/persons of colour
- 1% of faculty members self-identify as Indigenous Peoples
- 7% of faculty members self-identify as persons with a disability
We also examined past Employment Equity Reports (prior to 2016–2017), considering the representation of the four designated groups among tenure-stream faculty members. An analysis of employment equity data collected between 2008 and 2015 shows a gradual but steady increase in the representation of women among tenure-stream faculty members. The representation of racialized persons/persons of colour among tenure-stream faculty members fell slightly in 2015, but there was an overall increase since 2008. The representation of Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities in this category remained relatively constant.
A workforce analysis is conducted annually as part of the University's employee equity reporting, comparing University of Toronto representation across the designated groups with labour market availability figures from the 2011 National Household Survey and 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability. The University’s faculty complement exceeds the labour market availability figures (NOC 4011) in the categories of women, racialized persons and persons with a disability. In particular, the most recent data shows that the University has eliminated a critical gap relative to the Canadian workforce in terms of racialized faculty. Whereas in 2016–2017 the University was below the Canadian Labour Market (CLM) availability, the 2017/2018 Report on Employment Equity shows that we exceeded the CLM for this equity group. Representation of racialized faculty members increased by 2%, from 17% to 19% relative to last year, and was the largest demographic shift for the University. In addition, the existing labour market gap for Indigenous faculty members is less than one half of a percent and was reduced by 39% from the previous reporting period (from a numerical gap of 23 faculty members, as compared to External Availability Statistics, to a gap of 14 faculty members). Preliminary data shows an additional increase in the representation of Indigenous faculty members since the 2017/2018 reporting period. We believe these figures contribute to the advancement of an intentionally inclusive, diverse and equitable culture for the University of Toronto communities.
In addition, the Division of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, tracks employee retention rates across the University; voluntary turnover rates for faculty are very low, standing at approximately 1.1%.
The Division of the Vice-President & Provost also regularly examines issues related to academic life as part of continuing efforts to improve policies and practices to create a diverse and inclusive environment for all faculty. One example is the annual report on women faculty, which provides data on employment, hiring, tenure and promotion and academic leadership among women at the University. According to the report Gender Equity and Pathways to Leadership: Women in the Tenure Stream at the University of Toronto (2004–05 and 2014–15), more women joined and stayed at the University of Toronto in 2014–2015 than in 2004–2005, our baseline year for data. The recently released Faculty Gender Equity Report, 2017–2018, shows overall consistency with the 2014–2015 report, emphasizing the trend toward the increased representation of women in the faculty complement. However, both reports show that women are under-represented in a number of disciplines and divisions, as well as among senior faculty ranks and senior faculty hires. The same is true for women in senior clinical faculty positions.
We also examined gender pay as it relates to our larger faculty complement. The Provostial Advisory Group on Faculty Gender Pay Equity undertook a comprehensive study of the salaries of men and women full-time appointed faculty (excluding part-time faculty, faculty on contractually limited term appointments, librarians, and clinical faculty). In April 2019, the Advisory Group released its report, which found that, among tenured and tenure-stream faculty members, women earn 1.3% less than comparably situated men (controlling for factors such as rank, number of years since highest degree and field of study). The University has taken immediate action to address this gender-based inequity and, effective July 1, 2019, all women faculty members who are tenured or tenure-stream will receive a 1.3% salary increase. (The report found no salary difference for continuing teaching-stream faculty.) U of T is committed to conducting periodic reviews going forward to ensure that this gender gap does not re-emerge.
In order to mitigate systemic barriers to participation by under-represented groups, the Division of Vice-President & Provost will continue to implement the following measures:
- The Provost has dedicated central funds toward the recruitment of new Black and Indigenous faculty members.
- An equity statement appears in all postings for employment opportunities at the University of Toronto.
- The Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, reviews all job advertisements for faculty positions.
- The Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, reviews and approves all appointments for faculty positions and provides feedback related to equitable salary and start-up packages.
- The Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, has developed Strategies for Recruiting an Excellent and Diverse Faculty Complement, which provides search committees with concrete approaches for broadening candidate pools and supporting diversity throughout the academic recruitment process.
- Chairs of appointment, tenure and promotion committees are encouraged to participate in unconscious bias training workshops, offered twice yearly by the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life. Decanal and Provostial assessors to appointment, tenure and promotion committees are also encouraged to participate in these workshops. Over 300 individuals have participated in various unconscious bias workshops since their launch in 2015.
- The Division of the Vice-President & Provost, directly and as represented by a cadre of senior faculty members who serve as Provostial and Decanal Assessors, provides oversight to ensure that reasonable and equitable standards for promotion are applied across the University, taking into account the differing patterns of activity that characterize each division.
The University also makes best efforts to assign academic service, such as committee work, on an equitable basis, keeping in mind that faculty members from under-represented groups can face a disproportionate demand on their time. As part of the aforementioned unconscious bias training, Chairs and other senior administrations are made aware of these issues, and are able to better support the promotion of equity within their departments and divisions. Best practices for equity and diversity in service assignments is included in the three-day onboarding training session offered annually for incoming administrators by the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life.
Comparative Review (2018/2019)
In the summer of 2019, we conducted a comparative review of institutional support that is specific to our Canada Research Chairs at both the University and the affiliated hospitals. This review examined whether disparities exist in the level of institutional support provided to Chairs who self-identify as members of one or more federally designated groups. In coordination with the academic divisions and hospitals, the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, reviewed institutional support in three categories: total salary and benefits; additional research funding provided on an annualized basis, including research stipends/allowances and support for trainees; and additional research funding provided via one-time packages, such as start-up funds, infrastructure purchases and lab upgrades, including access to CFI funding.
We compiled and analyzed this information for all new Chairholders who were nominated between October 2016 and April 2018 (55 Chairs total); this review sample comprises Chairholders across disciplines, campuses and hospitals, and includes Chairs who self-identify as members of each of the four designated groups. Our analysis took into consideration Tier, Council and field of research. Because faculty members at the University of Toronto are expected to bring their research insights to their teaching, Chairholders at U of T are not automatically entitled to teaching release. We have therefore not included teaching release as part of our comparative review.
Based on this comparative review, we did not identify inequities in the level of support and compensation provided to Chairholders at the University and its affiliated hospitals. Some supports are standard across on-campus academic divisions: the Provost provides a $10,000 research allowance to all on-campus Chairholders (excepting those in the Faculty of Medicine, which falls under a separate arrangement); and all on-campus Chairs receive dedicated administrative and grant development support from the Research Services Office or the Faculty of Medicine Research Office in preparing their nominations. When reviewing annualized supports, we found that in many cases academic divisions/departments and hospitals provide standardized levels of funding for research allowances and/or support for trainees, a practice which helps to ensure consistent and equitable levels of support. For example, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences uses a standardized model for institutional support, based on Tier and discipline, and the Hospital for Sick Children offers a standardized research funding allowance, relative to Tier.
The review did identify some opportunities to strengthen administrative supports for the nomination process. We will engage with academic divisions this fall on further refining our processes, including the method by which the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, reviews the level of institutional support provided to nominees in the academic divisions as part of the institutional approval process.
Environmental Scan (2017/2018)
The environmental scan also included a review of HR & Equity Annual Reports, which provide an overview of initiatives within the Division of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, that promote safe and healthy work environments, enhance efficiency and produce an equitable and inclusive environment.
Recent initiatives include:
- Adding a third gender option to the HR Information System
- A new policy on sexual violence and sexual harassment
- The establishment of a personal safety, high risk and sexual violence prevention support team
- The launch of Connections and Conversations, an affinity group for racialized staff at U of T
- The Anonymized Recruitment Project pilot, screening staff applications using materials that have had certain identifying information removed
- The development and delivery of ongoing training on harassment, discrimination and unconscious bias
- The development of resources to promote accessible communications, including workshops offered by the University’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Office and updates to the Accessible Communications page of the AODA Office website
In conducting this scan, we also evaluated the results of the most recent Speaking Up Faculty and Staff Engagement Survey, a joint initiative of the Divisions of the Vice-President & Provost and the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture. This survey is run every three to five years and is designed to provide an overview of the staff and faculty work experience at U of T. The most recent version of the survey ran in late 2014, with results shared across the University in 2015.
The Survey found that the majority of respondents are satisfied with their work-life balance (69%); feel motivated in their jobs (84%); and feel valued (71%, up from 64% in 2010). The Survey also included specific questions about the University’s commitment to equity and diversity. Results showed that
- 76% of faculty, staff and librarians agree that the University demonstrates a commitment to practices that support equity and diversity;
- 71% agree that their unit head/managers demonstrate a commitment to practices that support equity and diversity;
- 76% also agree that in their experience faculty, staff and librarians are treated with respect in their departments (new question in 2014);
- 61% are aware of resources/services regarding sexual harassment; 60% are aware of resources/service regarding harassment in general; and
- 58% are aware of resources/services for discrimination and racism.
These results related to equity and diversity show improvement since 2010, but the University has acknowledged that further efforts are necessary to build upon existing resources and to support equity and inclusion at U of T. Recent initiatives include the U of T International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Campaign, launched in 2012; the Positive Space Campaign to create inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ members of the University community; and the Washroom Inclusivity Project, which provides information on physical accessibility, gender-inclusive washrooms and washrooms with baby-changing stations.
In addition, the Speaking Up Survey showed a need for improvement in internal communications related to on-the-job decision-making, the strategic priorities of the University’s leadership and updates about various programs and policies relevant to work. In response, the University has introduced new communications measures, including the Provost’s Weekly Digest; the redesign of the Bulletin, an online newsletter for University faculty and staff members that is published three times a week; and updates to faculty and staff orientation and onboarding.
An expanded Speaking Up Survey (newly branded as the Speaking Out Survey) is currently in development and will be administered in fall 2019. This next iteration of the survey will be updated to include more questions focused on inclusivity at U of T, leveraging the existing survey mechanism to enhance the University’s ability to assess and respond to employees’ sense of inclusion. The Speaking Out survey will be administered every two years.
The University is also currently participating in a Service Effectiveness Survey as part of an international UniForum survey to gauge overall satisfaction with university services. This survey, available to faculty and staff members, is designed to report on the effectiveness of key administrative services: research administration, teaching development, finance, purchasing services, human resources, information technology, marketing and student recruitment, student support and facilities management. Survey results will allow the University to identify gaps in services that may result in inequities for faculty, staff and students.
The environmental scan also included a review of the many EDI initiatives across the three U of T campuses, as described below in Objective 6.
Consultation & Engagement
Our Action Plan was developed by a team with knowledge of the research funding ecosystem, EDI best practices, academic administration and equity data collection. This team includes faculty members, senior administrators and staff, and also includes members of the designated groups. The team comprised the following individuals, who were engaged at various stages throughout the process: the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and Strategic Initiatives; the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture; the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life; the Associate, Vice-President, Strategic Initiatives; the Assistant Vice-President, Research Services; the Director, Academic Affairs, Vice-President & Provost; the Director, Strategic Initiatives, Research & Innovation; the Director, Office of the Provost, Faculty & Academic Life; the Director, HR Strategic Initiatives; and the Research Equity and Diversity Strategist.
This Action Plan was also drafted in conjunction with the University’s partners in the nine affiliated hospitals and with relevant administrative and faculty groups, including the Equity and Diversity in Research and Innovation Working Group; the Research Advisory Board; the Institutional Research Leaders Group; and the Toronto Academic Health Science Network Research Committee. These committees represent academic and administrative leadership from across the University and are diverse in their membership, comprising individuals from multiple equity-deserving groups. In particular, in convening the Working Group, the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, took steps to establish a diverse committee that included representation from under-represented groups and was able to offer multiple perspectives and insights.
This updated Action Plan will be shared with the newly established standing Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation, which will serve as the Action Plan self-assessment team going forward. The committee will provide advice regarding implementation and will advise on future iterations. As with the Working Group, this committee is intentionally inclusive of those who identify as racialized/ persons of colour, women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and LGBTQ+ persons.
As part of our consultation process, current Chairholders were provided with the opportunity to comment on the development and implementation of the EDI Action Plan. All campus-based Chairs were invited to complete a brief, confidential survey regarding the University’s previous version of the Action Plan (submitted December 2018). Because the University has a large and diverse complement of Chairs, the group invited to provide feedback included individuals from all four designated groups. We will continue to administer surveys of this type on a regular basis moving forward.
The survey asked respondents to rate the EDI Action Plan in terms of how well it demonstrates an institutional commitment to EDI; how well the planned actions will enable the University to address systemic barriers and establish an inclusive workplace; and how well the planned actions will enable the University to deliver effective career development and mentoring supports. The survey also included an open-ended question asking Chairholders to identify future areas for future improvement.
We received completed surveys from 38 of 161 invited Chairholders, a response rate of 24 percent. Although this response rate is not unusual for these type of voluntary questionnaires, we will look to encourage higher response levels in future iterations of this survey.
Chairholders were also invited to focus groups to discuss the Action Plan and its potential implementation, and they were also offered the option of a confidential one-on-one listening session with the University’s Research Equity and Diversity Strategist. As we move forward, we will explore additional forms of engagement with the Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
The survey generated valuable quantitative and qualitative feedback; a summary of the quantitative information may be found in this report. The survey feedback will be shared with the Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation and with the University Executive as we develop further strategies to implement our Action Plan objectives and create longer-term change.
The survey included an option to self-identify on an anonymous basis, enabling us to determine the overall diversity of our group of respondents. Although we made our best efforts to reach members of all four designated groups, survey respondents self-identified in only three of the four designated groups (noting that 17% of respondents declined to self-identify). As we implement these objectives and sustain longer-term progress, we will continue to coordinate with groups and offices that support under-represented groups and are dedicated to equity and inclusion, such as the Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation; the AODA Office; and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.
In addition to administering this survey, we also welcome feedback on our Action Plan on an ongoing basis; the University’s public accountability website includes an open call for comments on the Action Plan and its implementation.
Objectives, Actions, & Timelines
Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan is informed by these reviews, scans and consultations, as well as by other EDI initiatives detailed below. The Action Plan acknowledges the multiple identities of our faculty members, including CRCs, and adopts an intersectional approach to equity, diversity and inclusion. The Action Plan objectives aim to address the biases and stereotypes, as well as the unique and intersecting experiences of individuals, based on race or gender or disability.
Objective 1: Unconscious Bias Training
All faculty and staff members involved in the CRC nomination process are required, at a minimum, to complete the online module provided by the national CRC Secretariat. Both the U of T online nomination guide (see Objective 3) and the internal administrative processes for CRC nominations have been updated to communicate this requirement and to facilitate confirmation of the completion of unconscious bias training.
Beyond this minimum requirement, CRC selection committee chairs will be required to report on their participation in additional workshops on unconscious bias and recruitment best practices organized by the Division of the Vice-President & Provost. The University’s expectation is that selection committee chairs will become appropriately qualified to meet the objectives of the Action Plan.
Consistent with the recommendations of the Equity and Diversity in Research and Innovation Working Group, all staff in the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, are encouraged to complete unconscious bias training. As of November 2018, close to 100% of staff members have undertaken this training.
We recognize that unconscious bias education is an important first step in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion, but it is not an end itself. This training will therefore be implemented as one component of a broader strategy to embed equity and transparency into organizational processes and to build an inclusive University environment.
Progress Indicators and Timelines:
- Completion of unconscious bias training by selection committee members (effective December 2017)
- Participation by selection committee members in additional workshops (by December 2019)
- Completion of unconscious bias training by staff in the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (November 2018; ongoing)
- Completion of additional EDI training by staff in the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (throughout 2020)
Objective 2: Review of Processes
Formal administrative key process checkpoints at various stages of a recruitment can create opportunities to assess equity and diversity efforts and to adjust strategies, if needed. U of T’s processes for CRC nominations have been reviewed and assessed through a collaborative effort by the Division of Vice-President, Research and Innovation; the Division of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, and the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, in consultation with the academic divisions and affiliated hospitals. The review consisted of self-assessment, the identification of areas for clarification and improvement and the evaluation of processes through the lens of EDI. Our approach included an analysis of the administrative processes, mapping out the steps for nominations and identifying the key responsibilities within the administrative portfolios, academic divisions and affiliated hospitals.
Our initial review began in early 2018, shortly after the public posting of our EDI Action Plan, and was revisited following the release of the CRC Program’s updated nomination requirements in September 2018. The findings of this review were used to develop new strategies and processes for the recruitment and nomination of Chairholders, and they were also incorporated into the online nomination guide.
Following our comparative review in summer 2019, we conducted an additional assessment of our process surrounding the review of the level of institutional support. As a result, we are developing new standardized review practices that will create greater consistency and transparency in ensuring that institutional support is offered on an equitable basis. Our online guide to the nomination process (see Objective 3) will be updated in the coming months to reflect this new workflow.
We will continue to conduct reviews of these processes on an annual basis, particularly as we adapt our internal nomination processes to reflect new and emerging CRC Program requirements and internal recommendations from the Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation.
Progress Indicators & Timelines:
- Completion of this administrative review (initial review: spring 2018; updated review based on new CRC requirements: September 2018)
- The development of new strategies and processes based on the review findings (fall 2018)
- Additional review of process surrounding the institutional level of support (summer 2019)
- Ongoing reviews of these processes (spring 2020, following the release of “EDIAP 2.0” from the CRC Program; on an annual basis thereafter)
Objective 3: Develop an Online Guide
This guide has been developed following the process review described above and has been designed to ensure that academic administrators, faculty, staff and nominees are appropriately informed about the processes, requirements and supports in place at U of T.
This guide explains the process of CRC nominations at U of T and the affiliated hospitals for administrators, faculty, staff and potential nominees. The guide has been developed in consultation with the Division of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, and the Division of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, building on resources already in place to support faculty recruitment and retention.
This guide provides selection committees with tools and support necessary to fulfill CRC requirements, ensuring consistent and transparent nomination processes across the University. The guide also aids faculty, staff and administrators in the integration of EDI into their processes; it includes equity-, diversity- and inclusion-focused best practices for each stage of the recruitment and nomination process.
The guide was completed and posted online and shared with the University community as of November 2018. As noted above, the current guide will be revised in the coming months as we update the process for review of the level of institutional support. This guide will be a “living” document that will be updated as needed, in consultation in consultation with the University community and with guidance from the Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation. This guide is shared with the affiliated hospitals, who may adapt the best practices in this guide while also developing additional content relevant to their recruitment and employment policies and practices.
Progress Indicators & Timeline:
- Completion and dissemination of the nomination guide to the University community (November 2018)
- Updates to the nomination guide and dissemination of this revised guide to the University community (November 2019)
- Reviews and updates of the nomination guide, as needed (ongoing)
Objective 4: Employment Equity Survey
In consultation with Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and the Divisions of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, and the Vice-President & Provost, a communication strategy has been developed to promote the importance of completing these voluntary surveys, as they provide U of T with accurate data on the representation of diverse faculty members.
As noted above, the University recently updated its Employment Equity Survey for all faculty and staff members; the enhanced survey includes new language as well as new questions designed to increase the University’s understanding of the makeup of its workforce and to highlight areas where recruiting efforts could be improved. A copy of the survey is appended to this Action Plan. External applicants are asked to complete a shorter version of this survey as part of the online job application process.
In order to communicate this requirement to applicants, the Research Services Office has developed updated templates for posting and advertising CRC opportunities. The templates explain the purpose of the data collection and describe how the data will be used. Strategies and guidelines for data collection have also been communicated to the divisions and hospitals through the online nomination guide, emails and meetings of the Research Advisory Board and the Toronto Academic Health Science Network Research Committee.
As of fall 2018, all nominees receive an email reminding them to complete the CRC online self-identification form. This email explains why the CRC Program collects this data and encourages nominees to self-identify in all categories that are applicable.
Effective spring 2019, the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, also administers a separate equity survey for those nominees named as Chairholders, including those whose primary appointments are at the affiliated hospitals. This information is important to our ability to monitor our progress toward equity targets and to assess the representation of Chairholders from the four designated groups within particular divisions or disciplines. All new Chairholders will be sent this self-identification survey shortly after the University receives the results of the CRC competition. The survey questions are consistent with those used by the CRC Program/Tri-Agencies, and the processes for data collection, storage, and access adhere to CRC best practices. This survey form is also appended to this Action Plan.
Of paramount importance is communication of the University’s Commitment to Confidentiality for the Employment Equity Survey. This commitment and its underlying processes will be adopted for the collection of information from pools of applicants to CRC opportunities as well as all Chairholders.
Progress Indicators & Timelines:
- Development of communications regarding the Employment Equity Survey and the CRC self-identification form (fall 2018)
- Development and implementation of a self-identification survey for new Chairholders (April 2019)
- Completion of these surveys by applicants to CRC opportunities at the University of Toronto, by nominees to the CRC Program, and by all new Chairholders at the University of Toronto (May 2019; ongoing)
As separate employers, the affiliated hospitals will develop appropriate mechanisms to collect information on membership in the federally designated groups that align with the University and emphasize the confidentiality of responses.
Objective 5: Recruit & Support
The University of Toronto seeks to meet and exceed its equity targets for the CRC program, building a research community in which all researchers can meet their full potential. Based on the employment systems review and the CRC process review described above, U of T has identified the need to develop and implement strategies to recruit Chairholders who identify as members of one or more of the four designated groups.
In order to increase the representation of equity-deserving groups among our Chairholder cohort, in the fall of 2018 the University held a Special Call for applications to CRC opportunities from existing faculty who self-identify as members of one or more of the four designated groups. The response was robust with 338 applications received. This competition resulted in the nomination of 16 outstanding researchers (3 Tier 1 nominees and 13 Tier 2 nominees) from across the University’s academic divisions and affiliated hospitals. We will build on this important initiative by developing and implementing additional measures to further ensure participation by the members of the four designated groups and to build an inclusive workplace.
One of these measures is the further integration of equitable and inclusive practices into our CRC recruitment and nomination processes. The U of T guide to CRC nominations (see Objective 3) includes strategies to promote inclusive nomination practices and proactive recruitment. These strategies, designed to assist committees in developing a broad, diverse pool of applicants, were developed based on best practices in the literature and also draw from the University’s Strategies for Recruiting an Excellent and Diverse Faculty Complement.
In order to assess the diversity of applicant pools, nomination committee chairs and equity officers will be provided with aggregated and anonymized equity reports for the applicant pool as a whole. If the data does not indicate sufficient diversity among the applicants, the committee chair has the option to recommend re-posting the CRC opportunity to generate a broader pool of applicants. This aggregated equity report is submitted to the Vice-President, Research & Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives, prior to institutional approval of the nomination. In addition, the ongoing reviews of levels of institutional support will promote the equitable distribution of resources to Chairholders.
The University will adopt an intersectional approach to the recruitment and retention of Chairholders from under-represented groups, allowing the University to better support faculty members who self-identify in more than one of the four designated groups. As a result, these strategies have been organized together in the nomination guide, rather than considered in isolation.
Our partners in the affiliated hospitals are encouraged to develop policies and practices that complement ongoing work to build a supportive and inclusive environment for CRCs who identify as women, visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples and persons with a disability.
Objective 5.1: Recruitment & Support of Women Chairholders
As noted above, the University’s Gender Equity Reports demonstrate that U of T continues to make progress toward gender parity, but also show that women continue to be under-represented in some disciplines and among senior faculty. The Division of the Vice-President & Provost is committed to monitoring the representation of women in disciplines and divisions in which they are under-represented through future Gender Equity Reports and as part of ongoing diversity initiatives related to faculty.
The evaluation of career gaps, interruptions or longer career progressions due to childbearing and/or other caregiving responsibilities in the myriad of academic review processes has profound impacts on women’s academic careers. Consistent with updated CRC requirements, selection committees will evaluate candidates in ways that do not exclusively consider measures, metrics and outputs that reflect the traditional career experiences of mainly male faculty.
Career development and mentorship plans outlined below will also consider the experiences of women faculty that have been collected in U of T surveys. For academic administrators, the need to move beyond mentoring towards the endorsement and support of diverse women faculty for CRC and other opportunities will be emphasized.
While U of T is meeting its institutional CRC targets for women, we have not yet reached gender parity in the program, and our Chairholders are not fully representative of the diversity of women. The objectives in the Action Plan will be implemented with attention to intersectionality to ensure we address the experiences of, and issues for, women who identify as members of multiple equity-deserving groups. The Action Plan will be responsive not only to the challenges women face in terms of discrimination, but also to the demands arising from requests to serve on committees and as mentors to other faculty and students.
Objective 5.2: Recruitment & Support of Chairholders Who Identify as Visible Minorities
Based on recent Employment Equity Reports, the number of racialized faculty members is increasing, and the University has closed the gap relative to the Canadian workforce. U of T seeks to build on this progress to further recruit and retain Chairs who self-identify as members of visible minorities.
The University collects and reports on intersectional employment equity data, and uses this disaggregated information to develop strategies to enhance our recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion processes. For example, the Division of Vice-President & Provost has created a centralized fund to encourage the hiring of Black faculty members and researchers from other under-represented groups. Searches to recruit new Chairholders may make use of this central fund while also utilizing the best practices outlined in the nomination guide.
The research literature notes that many faculty members of colour continue to face barriers once they are hired, contributing to a sense of isolation. The updated Speaking Out climate survey, which will include new questions on inclusivity, will aid the University in identifying additional strategies to create a more inclusive environment for faculty, including our Chairholders, who self-identify as visible minorities. For example, moving forward, specific initiatives similar to Connections and Conversations, an affinity group for racialized staff at U of T, will be explored.
Objective 5.3: Recruitment & Support of Chairholders Who Identify as Persons with Disabilities
The University of Toronto Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilities affirms that U of T will
strive to provide support for, and facilitate the accommodation of individuals, with disabilities so that all may share the same level of access to opportunities, participate in the full range of activities that the University offers, and achieve their full potential as members of the University community. The University will work to eliminate or minimize the adverse effects of barriers, including physical, environmental, attitudinal, communication and technological barriers, that may prevent the full participation of individuals with disabilities in the University community. The University will provide the members of its community with opportunities for education and access to information regarding disability and the University's policies on disability
As part of its commitment to equity and inclusion and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the University has developed supports for recruitment and Accommodation Guidelines for Employees with Disabilities. These supports, as well as best practices to promote accessibility, are included in the CRC guide and will be publicized more widely to CRC search committees and academic administrators and staff. The Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, will continue to work with the Division of Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, the AODA Officer, faculty members with disabilities and faculty members working in the area of disability studies to develop additional strategies to recruit and support persons with disabilities to CRCs.
In addition, the University will expand its efforts to create a culture of accessibility and to draw from best practices to establish accessible lab spaces, field work sites, and classrooms. Consistent with the recommendation of the Equity and Diversity in Research and Innovation Working Group, senior portfolios are working to develop resources for research-specific accommodations at U of T for faculty, staff and student researchers with disabilities. The Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, will also create guidelines for inclusive event planning that are attentive to accessibility and accommodation. These resources will be available on the updated divisional website, which has been redesigned to meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requirements and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards.
Senior administrative portfolios are also working to identify additional supports that could be made available to researchers with disabilities, including resources to create accessible laboratories and supplementary funding for accommodations in research-related travel. We look forward to engaging with the Secretariat on this issue.
Objective 5.4: Recruitment & Support of Chairholders Who Identify as Indigenous Peoples
Consistent with Steering Committee’s recommendations, the nomination guide also highlights that members of nomination committees should be aware of any biases that may be implicit in their review of Indigenous scholarship and that they familiarize themselves with Indigenous research methodologies and ways of knowing. Moving forward, the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, will work in consultation with the Director, Indigenous Initiatives, to develop additional strategies to recruit and support Indigenous CRCs both external to U of T and within our current faculty. The Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, will also work to implement the Steering Committee’s recommendation to review existing materials for hiring committees in order to ensure that the materials are sensitive to specific issues related to Indigenous peoples. These actions also align with the recommendations of the Equity and Diversity in Research and Innovation Working Group to better support Indigenous researchers, as well as those who do research with Indigenous communities.
Objective 5.5: Career Development Workshops and Mentoring
As noted in our Chairholder survey report, respondents identified career development and mentoring as areas for improvement. The University will continue to support the development of new initiatives and will improve coordination and communication around existing resources. The Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, in coordination with the academic divisions, will support research success for these Chairholders—and all faculty members—by continuing to develop and offer workshops for early and mid-career faculty on career/professional development and planning for future opportunities (e.g., grants, awards and honours, CRCs and other named chairs).The Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, offers over 130 information sessions each year on topics such as applications for research funding, the development of research partnerships, research translation or commercialization, research ethics and environmental health and safety. The Division has also recently developed new workshops on EDI in research and innovation, to be offered in fall 2019. The Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, offers a number of career development workshops, including sessions on setting up a lab, securing promotion and tenure, and managing one’s digital footprint.
In order to better coordinate these supports and increase the visibility of resources, the University has established the Centre for Research & Innovation Support (CRIS), which will broker access to existing supports and resources offered by the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, university-wide units, and academic divisions; collaborate with central units and academic divisions to identify gaps and develop services and resources that meet emerging needs; and provide centralized access to research and innovation information and analytics tools. CRIS will help researchers, including our Chairholders, better navigate the ecosystem of supports and resources.
The Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, will work with the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, to develop workshops for academic administrators in order to aid University academic leaders in building an inclusive and supportive environment for their faculty members; these efforts will include providing information on best practices to support new and diverse faculty. Strategies for mid-career faculty will also be emphasized, as research shows this group is often under-mentored.
The University’s institutional membership in the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity will be communicated to all CRCs as part of their nomination acceptance process. The University’s institutional membership in the Center enables faculty members to access a range of professional development and mentorship resources and tools, many of which are targeted to diverse faculty. Participation rates are high and feedback from participating faculty indicates that this is a useful and valued resource.
Strong mentorship programs already exist at the divisional level, including the following:
- The University of Toronto Scarborough has created Mentoring Excellence and Diversity (MEAD), a grassroots group aimed at providing mentorship opportunities and education about barriers to career progress for early and mid-career faculty in sciences.
- The Department of Medicine established the Mentorship, Equity and Diversity portfolio in November 2015 to support the recruitment and retention of excellent faculty through mentorship, to increase faculty diversity and to ensure a safe and professional work environment. These efforts are supported by the Department’s recent development of a scholarly approach to understanding this issue through data gathering and knowledge synthesis on interventions to promote gender equity.
The University will support and encourage the development of similar mentorship activities across the academic divisions and the three campuses.
Current and past U of T and hospital CRCs will be encouraged to communicate with the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, regarding ideas for additional supports or programs.
Progress Indicators & Timelines:
- The development of strategies and the inclusion of these strategies in the nomination guide (fall 2018)
- The nomination of candidates from a Special Call inviting faculty members who self-identify as members of one or more FDGs to apply for CRC opportunities (April 2019)
- Increased recruitment of members of the four designated groups to Chairholder opportunities across the University (by December 2019; ongoing)
- The generation of applicant pools that are diverse (fall 2018; ongoing)
- The meeting and exceeding of equity targets for the four designated groups (by December 2019)
- The continued delivery of career development workshops and mentoring opportunities (by December 2019; ongoing)
- Establishment of the Centre for Research & Innovation Support and coordination of resources for career development (July 2019; ongoing)
Objective 6: Build Inclusive Culture
Our strategies to recruit and retain a diverse cohort of Canada Research Chairs align with broader equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives at the University of Toronto. The Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, will work in close partnership with our eighteen academic divisions and nine affiliated hospitals to implement the Action Pan and to encourage divisional and hospital leaders to initiate local plans to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion. The Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, plans to recognize divisions and departments that are purposively working towards the goals of the Action Plan and the University’s ongoing commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and excellence. Their initiatives and successes will be posted on this site in order to increase visibility and awareness of these strategies and supports and to encourage others to adopt similar initiatives.
We recognize that a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion extends beyond meeting our Chairholder equity targets; institutions must also sustain this diversity over the long term by removing systemic barriers and creating an inclusive culture. U of T will institute this broader change to retain these researchers and support them in achieving their full potential.
There is already significant action underway that aligns with U of T’s Action Plan, including the following:
Equity and Diversity in Research and Innovation Working Group: Constituted in June 2017 and reporting to the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, this faculty working group advised on new requirements for equity action plans for some federal research programs (including this one). It also provided guidance on strategies to foster a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion within U of T’s research and innovation activities, including internal funding programs, research awards and honours, researcher recruitment and retention, research funding and innovation and entrepreneurship. In May 2018, the Working Group released its report, which contains 49 recommendations to advance EDI within the research community. These recommendations call for the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, to provide leadership in ensuring consistent EDI practices; to develop EDI education materials and resources relevant to research and innovation; to facilitate the collection and use of equity data; to promote community partnerships in research involving under-represented groups; and to communicate key recommendations to other senior portfolios at the University. The Vice-President, Research & Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives, has accepted these recommendations, and the Division will engage with other offices to implement these recommended actions. Consistent with these recommendations, the Division has established a standing Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation, which will advise the Vice-President on EDI matters going forward.
Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office: The University’s Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office is mandated to offer programs and services to faculty, students and staff across the University’s three campuses. The Office works in collaboration with the University’s various Equity Offices and partners to promote campuses that are free of discrimination and harassment based on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship and/or creed.
Sexual and Gender Diversity Office: This Office develops partnerships to build supportive working and learning environments. The Office provides innovative education, programming, resources and advocacy on sexual and gender diversity for students, staff and faculty members across U of T’s three campuses, including monthly discussions for queer and trans students of colour, events for LGBTQ2+ international students and access to both on- and off-campus resources.
First Nations House and Aboriginal Student Services: These organizations offer culturally supportive services to Aboriginal undergraduate and graduate students on all three campuses in order to promote their academic success and their personal growth and leadership. This support includes opportunities to meet with Elders and Traditional Teachers. First Nations House also provides opportunities for all U of T students to engage with Aboriginal communities.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Office: This Office promotes accessible spaces and communications on U of T’s three campuses, and engages in outreach and training activities across the University, including the mandatory AODA training required for all employees. The AODA Office provides faculty members and staff with training in Accessible Customer Service and resources on accessible teaching and communications, and it has developed recruitment and accommodation supports for applicants and employees with disabilities.
Unconscious Bias Workshops: The Office of the Vice-President & Provost hosts twice-yearly workshops on unconscious bias for University and divisional leaders, as well as Chairs of, and assessors to, appointments, tenure and promotion committees.
TIDE program: A cohort of engaged faculty members has come together to establish TIDE, the Toronto Initiative for Diversity and Excellence. This group is working to ensure that trained faculty facilitators are available to attend faculty and academic unit meetings to facilitate discussion of unconscious bias. Representatives from a cohort of 25 faculty members are available to meet with any type of faculty group or committee seeking guidance on bias and how it may impact their work.
Indigenous Cultural Competency Training: The Office of Indigenous Initiatives offers these workshops to all members of the University community, including student groups. Recognizing that knowledge and education are keys to reconciliation, the workshops invite participants to learn more about the history of colonization and Indigenous-settler relations while also identifying and challenge their assumptions and biases. As of July 2019, nearly 650 faculty, staff and students have completed this training.
Dedicated central funds for the hiring of new faculty from under-represented groups: The Vice-President & Provost has offered academic divisions dedicated funding for the hiring of new faculty members from under-represented groups. Thirty new faculty members were hired under this initiative in 2015–16 and 2016–17. In 2017–18, significant additional funding was offered to divisions for the hiring of new Black and Indigenous faculty members, who remain the least represented groups within the Canadian academy; this fund included an allocation for the hiring of 20 new Indigenous faculty members and 20 Indigenous staff members. The Vice-President & Provost continues to prioritize this initiative, and in the 2019–2020 academic year an additional 20 faculty positions have been allocated to the hiring of scholars who identify as Black or Indigenous. From July 2017 to July 2019, an additional 18 Indigenous and 12 Black faculty member hires have been supported through this program.
Institutional Strategic Research Plan: The University’s current Institutional Strategic Research Plan, 2018–2023, specifically identifies “fostering equity, diversity and inclusion” as one of five Strategic Objectives to support and advance the U of T community’s leadership in research and innovation. Specific actions to work towards this objective have been recommended by the Equity and Diversity in Research and Innovation Working Group.
Provostial Advisor on Access Programs: Ann Lopez, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, was appointed to this role in April 2017. Professor Lopez will advise the Vice-President & Provost on ways that U of T can better coordinate and build on our suite of unique pipeline, access, outreach and bridging programs to support our commitment to student success, and to enhance the ability of students from diverse backgrounds to attend the University of Toronto.
Academic Advisor, Indigenous Research: Suzanne Stewart, Associate Professor and Director of the Waakbeiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, was appointed to this role in September 2019. Professor Stewart will advise the Vice-President & Provost on Indigenous research at the University and will work with the academic divisions to provide guidance on conducting research in and with Indigenous communities. Professor Stewart will also assist in developing guidance documents for research ethics related to Indigenous research.
Academic Advisor, Indigenous Curriculum and Teaching: Susan Hill, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Centre for Indigenous Studies, was appointed to this role in September 2019. Professor Hill will advise the Vice-President & Provost on strategies to improve Indigenous curriculum and education. Working with senior administrative portfolios and the academic divisions, Professor Hill will examine ways to enhance Indigenous teaching and learning, help to identify new collaborative teaching opportunities and provide advice to faculty members seeking to integrate Indigenous experiences and knowledge into their teaching.
Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network EDI Working Group: In June 2019, representatives from the University of Toronto and the nine affiliated hospitals met for a half-day retreat on “Putting Equity, Diversity and Inclusion into Practice.” The event provided a venue to share and discuss specific strategies and actions to advance EDI across the institutions. Following the retreat, the network members have agreed to establish a CRC EDI working group and are also working to develop coordinated approaches to other equity-focused initiatives.
Current initiatives led by the University’s academic divisions include the following:
- The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) has developed its newest Academic Plan, which includes a commitment to Indigenization and to equity, diversity and accessibility.
- The Faculty of Medicine has made inclusion and diversity a key priority and is implementing a number of initiatives to increase the number of under-represented students; create a supportive environment for faculty, staff and students; and better understand the challenges to full participation in the Faculty faced by under-represented groups. The Faculty has also recently appointed Professor Lisa Robinson, who previously served as the Faculty’s Chief Diversity Officer, as the new Associate Dean, Inclusion and Diversity. In addition, the Faculty is currently exploring possibilities to create an EDI-focused collaborative research hub.
- The Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education has created a Task Force on Race and Indigeneity to encourage the Faculty community to continue to reflect, examine, critique and take action on race and Indigeneity as it works to realize its vision and values. The task force will make recommendations regarding curricular and co-curricular programs at the Faculty, and will continue to build on previous initiatives including the Hurdle to Success series, which explored the nexus of race-education-sport as part of the 2015 Pan and ParaPan Am Games legacy.
- The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work sets annual equity objectives. Recent goals include to provide support to students, faculty, administrative staff and sessional instructors on diversity and equity issues; to continue to examine equity processes and practices to identify strengths and gaps; and to support the Faculty in implementing diversity and equity strategies.
- The Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering has recently created and staffed the new position of Director of Diversity, Inclusivity and Professionalism. The Director works to ensure that every member of the Engineering community is able to work in an inclusive environment. Working with senior academic and administrative leaders, the Director will develop and implement initiatives to support diversity and inclusion for faculty, staff and students, as well as coordinate professional development initiatives.
As noted above, the University will also administer the next iteration of the Speaking Up Survey (currently under development and re-branded as “Speaking Out”) in 2019. New questions specific to inclusion are being developed for this updated survey, allowing the University to better understand employees’ sense of inclusion and to develop strategies in response.
Progress Indicators & Timelines:
- Adoption and implementation of the recommendations of the Working Group on Equity and Diversity in Research and Innovation (2019–2020)
- The results of the updated Speaking Up (now Speaking Out) Survey, especially those pertaining to inclusion (2019–2020)
- Promotion of divisional initiatives on the website of the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (early 2020)
2. Management of CRC Allocations
Allocation of CRCs at U of T & Affiliated Hospitals
The Vice-President, Research and Innovation, in consultation with the Vice-President & Provost, is responsible for managing the University’s allocation of CRCs, including the distribution of Chairs (by Tier and Council) across hospitals and academic divisions, informed by a formula similar to that used by the CRC program (three-year rolling average of tri-council research funding). Strategic considerations, including faculty complement planning to advance key areas of research, are also taken into consideration.
Academic leaders within the hospitals and divisions follow a similar process to determine the departments/research areas in which a CRC would best advance research priorities. Divisions are encouraged to recognize units that are excelling in efforts to increase diversity in their faculty and Chairholders.
The University recognizes that the proportion of Chairs by Council and Tier should be roughly maintained, and has always sought to stay as close as possible to its original allocation. The Research Services Office monitors divisional and overall use of “flex moves” within U of T, and seeks to guide the University’s allocation back toward its original Council and Tier count as part of a national effort to honour the intended distribution of Chairs across Councils and Tiers. Requests from hospitals and divisions to alter the Council or Tier of any Chair must be approved by the Vice-President Research and Innovation who considers where the University sits in relation to its original allocation, how close the hospital/division is to its original allocation, and the case for altering the nature of the Chair.
Advancement, Renewals & Phase-Out of Chairs
In general, assuming that the level of performance in research is maintained, the University allows renewal of all CRCs. For some time, U of T has normally limited Tier 1 Chairs to one renewal, for a maximum tenure of fourteen years, an approach recently reinforced by a change in the CRC program guidelines. As we update our nomination guide (described above), we will provide additional guidance to the academic divisions on how to administer renewals in a manner that promotes equity and transparency.
The University of Toronto does not have an established mechanism for advancement of Tier 2 CRCs to Tier 1 CRCs. We clarify at the outset of every Tier 2 nomination that there is no automatic advancement to a Tier 1. Advancements occur rarely and only in cases in which there is a confluence of a deserving Tier 2 Chairholder, an available Tier 1 Chair and alignment with the strategic research priorities of the academic division or hospital.
The University of Toronto’s process to determine which Chairholders will relinquish their award in the case of a reduction to the institutional allocation is a difficult process that includes consultation between the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and the head of the academic division or hospital in which the Chairholder resides. Factors taken into consideration include the research performance of the academic division or hospital, the end date of existing Chair awards and the potential impact on the Chairholder and the academic division or hospital. The University has also been able to carefully manage phase-outs through the use of re-allocations and flex moves.
Institutional Support for Chairholders
The University of Toronto’s process for determining the level of support to a Chairholder takes into account the resources provided to other faculty in similar disciplines. Divisions and departments work together to determine the optimal resources required for the Chairholder to successfully undertake their research program within their discipline. Consultation with the Division of the Provost and Vice-President occurs, as well as discussions with departments/divisions where the nominee may have a cross appointment.
As we have stated on many occasions, a CRC at U of T is not automatically entitled to teaching release. The University holds firmly to the view that teaching and research are fundamentally related and that our students need and deserve direct access to world-class faculty.
The conditions of employment at the University/hospital are negotiated at the time of appointment and follow the policies of each institution. All CRC nominees are required to sign a nomination acceptance letter, to be returned to the Research Services Office along with documentation from the academic division or department outlining the institutional support provided to the Chairholder. This letter has been reviewed as part of U of T’s Action Plan.
In addition, the University’s Strategies for Recruiting an Excellent and Diverse Faculty Complement include information on mitigating the effects of unconscious bias in negotiation.
The new Institutional Attestation Form, introduced by the CRC Program in September 2018, requires a senior administrator to attest to the relative level of institutional support offered to each Chairholder. As part of the institutional approval of each nomination, the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and Strategic Initiatives, signs this form. As noted above, we are updating our internal processes to better enable the Vice-President to independently verify that the level of support is comparable to that offered to other Chairholders within the same Tier and discipline.
Institutional Support for Academic Administrators Involved in CRC Nominations
Proactive faculty recruitment practices have been a regular part of professional development workshops and resources for academic administrators and search committee members at U of T for over a decade. Our community is regularly reminded of these resources and is encouraged to recognize that scholars with non-standard career paths may nonetheless be as productive—and make similarly excellent contributions—as those whose career paths have been less complex. These materials have been integrated into the online guide for CRC nominations referenced in our Action Plan objectives.
As noted above, the TIDE program of the Division of the Vice-President & Provost provides training and development related to unconscious bias for academic administrators and Provostial assessors on search committees. These sessions are available to faculty involved in CRC recruitment and nomination processes.
Openness & Transparency
Following the review of our CRC administrative processes, the University has developed a number of measures to ensure that nomination processes are open and transparent:
- The nomination guide, described above, provides members of the University community with concrete guidance on administering CRC nomination processes that are transparent, adhere to updated CRC Program requirements and follow best practices. The use of this guide will ensure that nomination processes are consistent across the University.
- U of T has developed a new internal administrative form to be filled out by academic divisions that wish to retain a recently vacated Chair. Divisions must present a rationale for limiting the pool to internal candidates (as opposed to external recruitment); describe the proposed research area for the Chair (keeping in mind that wider fields result in more diverse applicant pools); and confirm that they are aware of new EDI requirements. This form increases transparency and oversight by senior administration and helps the University better speak to CRC Program requirement to consider equity targets in the allocation of Chairs.
- Nomination committee chairs and equity officers are provided with aggregated and anonymized equity reports for the applicant pool as a whole. If the data do not indicate sufficient diversity among the applicants, the committee chair has the option to recommend re-posting the CRC opportunity to generate a broader pool of applicants. This aggregated equity report is submitted to the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, prior to institutional approval of the nomination.
- As noted above, a standing Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation, will provide counsel and direction to the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and Strategic Initiatives, on matters related to EDI across the University’s research and innovation activities, including the CRC Program.
- Consistent with the recommendations of the Working Group on Equity and Diversity in Research and Innovation, the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, has created and staffed the Research Equity and Diversity Strategist position, demonstrating a commitment of resources to EDI. The Strategist acts as liaison with divisions and hospitals regarding EDI requirements and best practices, including those particular to the CRC Program. The Strategist screens all divisional CRC job postings for biased/gendered language and ensures that postings fulfill all equity requirements. The Strategist also works with the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, and the Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Innovation to provide guidance materials to equity officers for selection committees.
Accountability & Course Correction
As we carry out this Action Plan, the University has outlined the following measures for accountability and course correction:
- The Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, will be responsible for implementing the Action Plan in coordination with other senior portfolios. In particular, the Division of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, has recently appointed an Executive Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, who will provide additional recommendations to improve or sustain the participation of Chairholders from the four designated groups.
- The Vice-President, Research & Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives, incorporates EDI considerations, including our Chairholder targets and the implementation of this Action Plan, into his annual report to the Academic Board.
- The Associate Vice-President, Institutional Strategic Initiatives, will present our annual EDI Action Plan Progress Reports to the Research Advisory Board, which provides guidance to the Vice-President, Research & Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives. This board includes Vice-Principals, Research, Vice/Associate-Deans, Research, and Vice-Presidents from across the disciplines on all three campuses and the affiliated hospitals.
- The Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will review our annual EDI Action Plan Progress Reports prior to submission to the CRCP. This committee will also regularly review our CRC nomination guide and may make recommendations for improvements or revisions to the guide based on the University’s progress toward meeting the objectives in this Action Plan.
- As described above, there are measures in place to monitor the diversity of applicant pools and re-post a CRC opportunity if the pool is not sufficiently diverse.
- The Vice-President, Research & Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives, will decline to sign off on a nomination if inequities are identified in the level of institutional support.
- Dedicated staff in the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, will review all written reports produced by nomination and selection committees. If needed, staff will provide additional guidance to departments and divisions regarding the implementation of best practices for equitable and transparent recruitment and nomination processes.
3. Collection of Equity & Diversity Data
Employment Equity Data
All U of T employees are encouraged to complete the voluntary, confidential Employment Equity Survey, housed in the University’s secure HR Information System (ESS). Access to data is limited to designated staff. Aggregated data on faculty will be provided by People Strategy, Equity & Culture to determine potential applicant pools for internal CRC nomination competitions.
External Applicant Pool Data
All externally posted tenure-stream searches managed through the online application process (which may also encompass CRC nominations) include information about the voluntary Diversity Survey and encourage its completion. Aggregated data on applicant pools is provided to the search committee chair after the posting closes.
Internal Applicant Pool Data
The University collects applicant pool data for internal CRC competitions through its Employment Equity Survey and collects applicant data for external candidates through the Diversity Survey that is accessed through the online employment application system. These steps were introduced to fulfill the CRC Program requirement to collect self-identification data from all applicants while also streamlining the process and minimizing the number of times that applicants are requested to complete equity surveys. Rather than develop an additional, program-specific survey, the University opted to leverage an existing survey.
Following consultation with the Division of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture; the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life; and the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Office, the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, has developed a mechanism to report aggregated data from the Employment Equity Survey.
These anonymized and aggregated reports are provided to the chairs of CRC selection committees, allowing them to assess the diversity of the applicant pool. Strategies for data collection have been guided by the CRC Program’s best practices.
In implementing this data collection strategy, the University has taken steps to
- limit the number of people who can view this information;
- ensure privacy and confidentiality; and
- communicate widely the purpose of the data collection, how the information will be used and our commitment to privacy.
As separate employers, the affiliated hospitals will each have different mechanisms to collect applicant pool and employee equity and diversity data. As part of the Action Plan, the University will work in collaboration with the hospitals to align processes wherever possible. Please consult each hospital’s CRC web page for additional information.
Successful CRC Candidate Data
Following the CRC Program’s move to the collection of self-identification data via an online form, we undertook a review of internal processes to ensure that all nominees submit the required self-identification form by the nomination deadline. As of fall 2018, the Research Services Office sends all nominees a tailored email reminding them to complete the CRC online self-identification form. This email explains why the CRC Program collects this data and encourages nominees to self-identify in all applicable categories.
To ensure that we have accurate self-identification data for our cohort of Chairholders, the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, also administers a separate self-identification survey for successful Chairholders, including those from the affiliated hospitals. As of April 2019, all new Chairholders are sent this survey. The survey questions are consistent with those found in the CRC Program/Tri-Agencies self-identification form, and our processes for data collection, storage, and access follow CRC best practices.
4. Retention & Inclusivity
Providing a Supportive & Inclusive Workplace at U of T
Through our equity programs, services and offices, the University of Toronto is working to remove a range of barriers and to support our community members in fulfilling their academic, research and employment goals. Our equity offices form the core of our efforts to translate policy into practice and culture, provide support and create and grow engaged communities of thought and action on our campuses. As noted above, divisions are undertaking initiatives to foster an inclusive environment for their faculty, staff and students. We will continue to collect and promote these projects to both recognize these efforts and encourage others to adopt similar initiatives. In addition, the next iteration of the Speaking Up Engagement Survey (now Speaking Out Survey), to be launched in 2019, will allow the University to better assess the extent to which we are creating an inclusive environment.
Concerns and complaints from faculty members can be directed to the Equity Offices or to the Provost’s Office, as the complainant feels is appropriate. The University has established a culture in which the complainant can contact the resource or office where they are most comfortable; the issue will be escalated as necessary. While all complaints are kept confidential, the Division of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, tracks patterns of complaints and is attentive to systemic issues. For example, the Equity Offices roundtable offers staff from those offices opportunities for the discussion of broader issues, reporting findings to the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture.
The U of T Guideline for Employees on Concerns & Complaints Regarding Prohibited Discrimination & Discriminatory Harassment (Discrimination Guideline) defines prohibited discrimination and discriminatory harassment, as these terms are used in the Ontario Human Rights Code. This document outlines resources and steps for dealing with concerns or complaints. This Guideline is complemented by the University’s Human Resources Guideline on Civil Conduct (Civility Guideline), which is designed to deal with allegations of workplace harassment that are not based upon prohibited grounds laid out in the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Guideline on Civil Conduct describes what constitutes civil and uncivil conduct (defining workplace harassment and providing examples of uncivil conduct) and sets out a framework for how employees should proceed if they have a concern or complaint.
The Memorandum of Agreement between the Governing Council of the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Faculty Association also outlines the grievance process by which faculty members can bring forward complaints, as well as a timeline for resolution.
Members of the U of T community may also bring complaints to the Office of the Ombudsperson, which assists the University in protecting the rights of students, faculty and staff. Matters brought to this Office are confidential, and complaints are handled in a fair and impartial manner.
Policies or Procedures & Supports in Place that Enable the Retention of Members of the Federally Designated Groups
Retentions are handled on a case-by-case basis and equity considerations are an important part of our institutional approach to CRC retentions, when these arise. Retention of CRCs has not emerged as an area of concern at U of T, given that since 2011, only 16 Chairholders (~5% of our CRC community) have resigned. The Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, continues to monitor CRC terminations and the cause in each case.
U of T Policies that Govern the Staffing of Faculty Members, Including CRCs
Faculty members, including CRCs, are bound by University policies, including those listed below that emphasize an equitable and inclusive research environment:
- Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments
- University of Toronto Workload Policy and Procedures for Faculty and Librarians
- Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions
- Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions in the Teaching Stream
- Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research
- Policy on Research Involving Human Subjects
- Statement on Freedom of Speech
- Employment Equity Policy
The measures outlined in this Action Plan demonstrate the University’s strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as our systematic approach to these issues. Our identified objectives and actions, supported by broader institutional initiatives and resources, will enable us to make EDI a central consideration in our administration of the CRC Program across the University. In implementing this Action Plan, we will meet our commitments by December 2019 and beyond, creating longer-term change and reducing barriers to participation in the research community.
- Implementing the objectives outlined in this Action Plan, in coordination with academic divisions, affiliated hospitals and other senior administrative portfolios
- Working with other offices to report on U of T’s annual progress toward meeting these objectives
 The Canada Research Chairs Program uses the terminology of the four designated groups listed in the Employment Equity Act. The University has adopted a broader scope and some different terms for its employment equity initiatives: Indigenous/Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, racialized persons/persons of colour, LGBTQ individuals and women. These terms will be used throughout unless referring directly to a CRC requirement.
 Since some departments and academic divisions do not use the online recruitment system, these data sets may not be comprehensive and representative of all applicants.