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.

York's EDI Action Plan

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.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

York University is committed to open-minded, engaged, and cutting-edge scholarship. Enshrined in our University Academic Plan 2015-2020 and our Strategic Research Plan 2018-2023 is the core value of upholding social justice and equity. We are committed to challenging the status quo and leading transformations of society’s inequities through open and vibrant discourse, followed by bold actions.

York is committed to advancing the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the Institution, and in particular as applied to the Canada Research Chairs program.  Our collective agreements codify our approach to federal policies regarding the hiring of faculty, including Canada Research Chairs, from the four designated groups (Women, Members of a Racial/Visible Minority, Persons with Disabilities, and Aboriginal Persons).  Beyond this, York seeks to build a world-renowned cadre of diverse scholars that represent not only the four designated groups and the intersectionality of these four groups, but to move beyond federal targets to have laudable representations of other marginalized groups (such as members of the LGTB2Q community).

York's Affirmative Action (AA) policies and processes underpin and advance these aspirations. Rooted in the Collective Agreement between the York University Faculty Association and the York University Board of Governors, these policies and processes enable York to engage 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.

Strategy for Raising Awareness

As part of York’s strategy to raise awareness within the institution of its commitment to, and the benefits of, equity, diversity and inclusion, both broadly and in respect of the Canada Research Chairs program:

  • York’s Director, Strategic and Institutional Research Initiatives presented to the Associate Deans of Research Committee to inform Faculties of the context and commitment around equity, diversity and inclusion within the Canada Research Chairs program, and to provide an update on the actions being undertaken to ensure that York achieves compliance with its Canada Research Chair equity targets.
  • The Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic and the Office of Human Resources, developed materials for use by Faculties and hiring committees to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion compliance while streamlining and harmonizing program and institutional requirements.
  • York’s Associate Vice-President Research and Director, Strategic and Institutional Research Initiatives, meet with all CRC hiring committees at the outset of each search process to inform on recruiting and nomination requirements, to review current EDI targets and gaps, and to outline compliance and monitoring obligations. The Associate Vice-President and Director continuously liaise with committees throughout the process to ensure appropriate supports and guidance.
  • All members of a hiring committee receive updated AA training, to be delivered through a “train-the-trainer” model. Thus, every Faculty is responsible to ensure that each hiring committee sends its AA representative to receive updated Affirmative Action training, aligned with federal tools to ensure improved transparency and implementation of best equity, diversity and inclusion practices within recruitment, hiring and retention.

Contact Information for Concerns

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

  • Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion
    The Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion offers case resolution services where it responds to concerns and complaints under provincial human rights legislationand 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.  The procedure for dealing with complaints of harassment or discrimination, including equity, diversity and inclusivity concerns either related to the Canada Research Chairs program or more broadly, can be found here.
  • Annette Boodram
    Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer
    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

In addition, the Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation directly liaises with Chairholders at several points throughout the year (e.g. via an annual meeting with research chairholders, and through an annual reporting exercise) during which any concerns related to equity, diversity and inclusion can be brought forward.  In addition, the Associate Vice-President Research is always available to chairholders to discuss equity, diversity and inclusion concerns, which would then be brought forward to the Vice-President Research and Innovation and the Provost and Vice-President Academic.

Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations

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.

Monitoring and Reporting

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.

CRCP Utilization Spreadsheet

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.

Active and Archived CRC Advertisements

All current advertisements for CRC positions are listed here, while archived CRC postings for the last three years can be found here. Note that only external candidates will normally be considered for a CRC.

Equity Targets and Gaps

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

RESULTS Target Occupancy Gap
Women 10 7 3
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 April 2019