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Equity tool and frameworks receive federal award

Award recipients at the federal government's Employment Equity Achievement Awards, including Heidi Penning from the Human Rights Office. (Photo via Employment and Social Development Canada Minister Patty Hajdu on Twitter)
Award recipients at the federal government's Employment Equity Achievement Awards, including Heidi Penning from the Human Rights Office, back row, right. (Photo via Employment and Social Development Canada Minister Patty Hajdu on Twitter)

The university’s efforts to foster a climate of inclusion and equity were recognized by the federal government last night.

Queen’s received an Employment Equity Achievement Award in the Innovation category, acknowledging the university’s guiding Accessibility Framework and the Employment Equity Framework, and initiatives such as the Diversity and Equity Assessment and Planning (DEAP) Tool.

“This award is a significant recognition of the effort we have placed into establishing a more inclusive environment in order to attract excellence within the global and ever diversifying Canadian workforce,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion), who accepted the award on behalf of Queen's. “Becoming a more diverse and inclusive institution is not only the right thing to do as a socially responsible employer, it is also essential to our success as we aim to recruit the top emerging academic talent and grow our international reputation. We know the work we are doing today will shape and grow the Queen’s of tomorrow.”

The Innovation award recognizes employers who have been innovative in the implementation of employment equity. This can include creativity in the design and implementation of measures to remove barriers, adoption of special measures, the establishment of positive policies or practices, forward-thinking in human resources practices and/or development of new or unique initiatives. Queen’s was one of four employers recognized in this category.

The Accessibility Framework and Employment Equity Framework, which were first drafted in 2010 and 2015 respectively, were designed to raise awareness and allow all community members to engage in taking down barriers to access and equity in the workplace, and to foster support for an active, ongoing, and intentional effort towards equity at Queen’s.

The DEAP Tool, meanwhile, was launched in 2015 to assist deans and department heads as they assess equity and diversity in their areas and set targets for improvement. This online program was developed by the Equity Office in collaboration with the Senate Educational Equity Committee. It provides faculties and departments with greater insights into the demographic profile of their staff, faculty, and students; helps managers assess progress on promoting equity and diversity and reflect on areas that require improvement; and assists them in developing an action plan and timeline for their future vision. Other institutions have contacted Queen’s to explore how the two frameworks may apply in their own environments, and some have licensed the DEAP tool for their own use through the Office of Partnerships and Innovation.

“These efforts are helping Queen’s recognize the significant advantages of becoming a more diverse and inclusive community, and helping us move beyond compliance on equity,” says Irène Bujara, University Advisor on Equity and Human Rights. “This award is gratifying because of the significant work that has gone into developing both the tool and these frameworks.”

Launched in 2016, the Employment Equity Achievement Award is an annual awards program that publicly recognizes Canadian employers for outstanding achievement in employment equity in their workplaces for four designated groups: women; Indigenous peoples; persons with disabilities; and members of visible minorities. Awards are celebrated at an annual event hosted by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in Ottawa. To learn more about this year's winners visit ESDC's website.