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Innovations in equity

For a second consecutive year, the Queen’s Human Rights and Equity Office has received a national award for its inclusivity tools.

[Queen's University Heidi Penning Jill Christie Patty Hajdu Government of Canada Employment Equity Award]
Minister Patty Hajdu poses with Jill Christie and Heidi Penning of the Queen's Human Rights and Equity Office. (Supplied Photo)

The federal government has once again recognized the Queen’s Human Rights and Equity Office for innovation in employment equity and inclusivity.

In 2017 the office piloted a new online tracking system for employment equity, the Queen’s Equity Appointments Process (QEAP). This process supports more inclusive hiring practices at the university by doing such things as providing a designated group profile to determine which designated group is most underrepresented in the unit, and ensuring all hiring committee members have received the appropriate employment equity training.

“Becoming a more diverse and inclusive institution is not only the right thing to do, it is also essential to our success as we aim to recruit the top emerging talent and grow our international reputation,” says Stephanie Simpson, Executive Director, Human Rights and Equity Office. “Tools like QEAP help us build a more inclusive living, learning, and working environment here at Queen’s, and we are grateful for this acknowledgement of our efforts.”

After reviewing the new tracking system, the Ministry of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour bestowed an Employment Equity Achievement Award on Queen’s in the “Innovation” category.

"When everyone is on an equal footing, they can contribute to the best of their abilities,” says Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. “Employers must stay alert to barriers that can keep members of the four designated groups—women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities—from participating fully in the workplace. By making sure every Canadian has an equal and fair chance at success, employers contribute meaningfully to Canada's economic growth."

Coupled with the Human Rights and Equity Office Diversity and Equity Assessment and Planning tool, QEAP has many components designed to support the work of units. The tool is intended to monitor what measures have been taken to attract and recruit members of designated groups.

QEAP is also able to track the diversity of the applicant pool at every step, from the development of a longlist, shortlist, invite to interview, ranking, and, ultimately, job offer. This information is intended to influence the unit’s recruitment strategy.

If the candidate who is offered the job has not self-identified in the unit’s most underrepresented group, QEAP prompts the Employment Equity Representative to provide the committee’s rationale. This representative receives six hours of training to prepare them for this role, while other hiring committee members receive three hours of preparatory training.

As a final monitoring component, a summary report on the unit’s equitable hiring practices is regularly sent to the unit head.

The Human Rights and Equity Office also received Innovation awards last year for the Diversity and Equity Assessment and Planning (DEAP) tool and the university’s equity framework.