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Employee Resource Groups:
Terms of Reference and Funding Guidelines

Purpose of Employee Resource Groups

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) help create an inclusive workplace by giving equity-seeking groups a formal structure within an organization to support their unique needs. ERGs provide opportunities for community building within organizations. They can also give employees opportunities for professional development and help the organization recruit and provide appropriate feedback to employees. When managed and used effectively, ERGs also provide an avenue for employees to learn more about diverse groups.

ERGs may coordinate activities such as networking events, speaker series, professional development activities, and mentoring programs. ERGs may also provide development opportunities for employees including project and budget management, public speaking practice, and chairing meetings. [1] 

Equity-Seeking Groups

Equity-seeking groups are communities that face significant collective challenges in participating in society. Their marginalization may be caused by attitudinal, historic, social, and environmental barriers based on characteristics including, but not limited to, age, ethnicity, disability, economic status, gender, nationality, race, faith, sexual orientation, and transgender status. Equity-seeking groups identify barriers to equal access, opportunities, and resources due to discrimination and subsequent disadvantage, and actively seek social justice and reparation.[2]

Funding Applications

The Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion), in partnership with Human Resources (HR) and the Human Rights and Equity Office (HREO), provides support for ERGs working to build and support communities for equity-seeking groups on campus. 

ERGs may apply for funding of up to $1,000 per fiscal year (May 1 to April 30) from the Employee Resource Group Fund.   Funding requests will be considered by the Deputy Provost, HR, and HREO.

To receive funding, ERGs must submit an application which demonstrates that the ERG:

  • Works to advance the interests of equity-seeking groups on campus 
  • Is sponsored by a faculty or administrative unit


Employee Resource Group:

  • Establishes the executive team and invites members to join the group
  • Plans and coordinates activities to support the development and enhancement of communities for equity-seeking groups on campus
  • Complies with university policies and procedures and arranges necessary insurance coverage when holding events off campus.  (Events held on-campus involving Queen’s employees are covered by the university’s general insurance policy.)
  • Submits an annual report (maximum three pages) to the Deputy Provost, HR, and HREO describing the year’s activities with a budget update 

Sponsoring Faculty or Administrative Unit:

  • Provides an administrative home for the ERG
  • Provides general guidance and advice to ERG members and executive
  • Provides advice about and confirms compliance with university policies and procedures
  • Supports the financial management and transactions of the ERG
  • Provides reasonable administrative assistance when required  

Deputy Provost:

  • Provides start-up and/or ongoing operations funds to support ERGs
  • Coordinates and chairs the group that approves ERG applications for funding and reviews annual reports
  • Receives and distributes annual activity and budget reports from ERGs receiving funding 

Human Resources:

  • Provides guidance and advice to those considering forming an ERG
  • Provides guidance and advice to ERGs on HR programming
  • Participates as a member of the group that reviews ERG funding applications and annual reports

Human Rights and Equity Office:

  • Provides guidance and advice to those considering forming an ERG
  • Provides guidance and advice to ERGs on equity and human rights matters
  • Participates as a member of the group that reviews ERG funding applications and annual reports

[1] These terms of reference have been developed with reference to the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion Employee Resource Groups Toolkit.

[2] Based on the Canada Council for the Arts Equity Policy.

ERG Application Form (PDF 79 KB)