CRC's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

On May 4, 2017, the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Secretariat launched its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, in response to concerns on equity and diversity raised during the program’s 15th year evaluation. As part of the Plan, all institutions with an allocation of five or more Chairs were required to develop an equity, diversity and inclusion action plan (institutional plan), which describes how the institution will sustain the participation and/or address the under-representation of individuals from the four designated groups (FDGs: women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples and members of visible minorities) within their allocation of Chairs.

In response, York University struck a committee to develop its institutional plan. Chaired by Dr. Rebecca Pillai Riddell, a Professor and York Research Chair in Pain and Mental Health, and now Associate Vice-President Research, the committee membership included representation from the FDGs; current CRC chairholders; faculty members with expertise in equity/diversity/inclusion issues; and University administrators with responsibility for implementing the CRC program. The Executive Co-Sponsors of the initiative were Lisa Philipps, Vice-President Academic and Provost, and Dr. Robert Haché, Vice-President Research & Innovation.

The committee was tasked with developing York’s institutional plan, which will enable:

  • Progress towards addressing the disadvantages currently experienced by individuals from the FDGs in accessing and benefiting from the CRC program; and
  • Progress towards meeting the institution’s equity targets in the next 18 to 24 months

Through consultations with stakeholders, including subject matter experts, representatives of the FDGs, York faculty members and administrators, as well as an examination of documents, policies and publications, including the CRC’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Practices, the committee developed an institutional plan and accompanying appendices. For a concise overview of what you need to know about York University's CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, see this document. This plan was submitted on December 15, 2017 to the CRC Secretariat for review and approval, and was subject to the following governance processes:

  • Consultation with the York University and Osgoode Hall Faculty Associations;
  • Consultation with the Academic Policy, Planning and Research Committee (the lead working committee of York University’s Senate); and
  • Approval by the Board of Governors (pending).

The components of the plan are monitored by the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation (VPRI). The VPRI team works with Faculties and hiring units to ensure that the points of the plan are enacted, reviewed regularly and adapted appropriately based on the impact on the measurable equity/diversity targets contained within the plan. The Institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan Progress Report for 2018 can be found here.

York University already has a firm foundation for its institutional plan in its Affirmative Action (AA) policies and processes. Rooted in the Collective Agreement between the York University Faculty Association and the York University Board of Governors, these policies and processes underpin York’s position as an Affirmative Action employer that “strongly values diversity, including gender and sexual diversity, within its community.”

This is reflected in the language of York’s job postings, which signal interest in “candidates with diverse backgrounds and especially encourages candidates in equity, diversity and inclusion categories,” while acknowledging “the potential impact that career interruptions can have on a candidate’s record of research achievement and encourages applicants to explain in their application the impact that career interruptions may have had on their record of research achievement.”

Further, given the importance that York attaches to equity, inclusion and diversity in the context of all faculty appointments, and recognizing the opportunity for institutional improvements in this area, York has extended this standard of training to all academic searches across the University. Its Affirmative Action training has also been augmented to address issues of unconscious bias in academic recruitment and appointment processes.

Going forward, as part of York’s strategy to raise awareness within the institution of its commitment to, and the benefits of, equity, diversity and inclusion, York will uphold an organizational standard that all members of a hiring committee will receive updated AA training, to be delivered through a “train-the-trainer” model. Thus, every Faculty will be responsible to ensure that each hiring committee sends its AA representative to receive updated Affirmative Action training, designed to be in line with federal tools ensuring improved transparency and implementation of best equity, diversity and inclusion practices within recruitment, hiring and retention.

Several individuals and Centres within York provide critical support for York’s Affirmative Action processes, while advancing the equity, diversity and inclusion agenda. These include:

  • Annette Boodram
    Diversity & Inclusion Consultant
    Talent Acquisition and Development, Human Resources
    416-736-2100 ext. 20848
  • Carl James
    Professor, Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Disapora
    Affirmative Action, Equity and Inclusivity Officer, Joint Committee on Affirmative Action
    416-736-2100 ext. 20279
  • Claudia McPherson
    Affirmative Action, Immigration & Relocation Officer
    Faculty Relations
    416-736-2100 ext. 33434
  • Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion
    Michael F. Charles, Executive Director
    416-736-2100 ext. 40399


In particular, the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion offers case resolution services where it responds to concerns and complaints under provincial human rights legislation and related York policies and procedures, including but not limited to questions of harassment and discrimination on the grounds of age, race, citizenship, creed, disability (including mental health and addictions), family status, marital status, gender identity/expression, sex, and sexual orientation. In particular, York’s procedure for dealing with complaints of harassment or discrimination can be found here. The Centre also plays an important role in supporting the work of the Sexual Violence Response Office by processing matters under the Sexual Violence Policy. Apart from these risk management and advisory services, the Centre provides an important education function, delivering training and professional development programming for the community as well as other initiatives that drive learning and increase awareness around critical university values.

With respect to the CRC program, the policies that govern the staffing of CRC positions at York are described in the Academic Appointments Process. In addition, York follows a set of processes that govern the allocation of Chairs across Faculties, the level of institutional support provided to CRCs, the renewal for CRCs approaching the end of their term, the use of the Corridor of Flexibility, and the phasing-out of CRCs. Since only external candidates will normally be considered for a CRC, there is no provision for Tier 2 CRCs to advance to a Tier 1 CRC. Instead, maturing Tier 2 Chairs may compete for York’s internal York Research Chairs program that provides supports to outstanding York researchers that are equivalent to those extended to CRCs.

York’s CRC utilization spreadsheet can be found here. It outlines York’s current chair allocations, including how many are filled and by which chairholders, the type of flex moves used, and which allocations are available.

All current advertisements for CRC positions are listed here, while archived CRC postings for the last three years can be found here.

Finally, York’s current CRC equity/diversity targets are as follows:

RESULTS Target Occupancy Gap
Women 9 7 2
Visible minorities 4 - -
Persons with disabilities 1 - -
Aboriginal Peoples N/A - -

Note: Numbers lower than five were removed to protect the privacy of chairholders, while numbers less than 0.5 are denoted N/A.

Updated December 17, 2018