Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Action Plan for Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Canada Research Chairs at Queen's University

December 15, 2017

Canada Research Chair Action Plan PDF


The Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) has recently required all universities with five or more Canada Research Chairs to create an Equity Action Plan in order to sustain the participation of members of the Four Designated Groups as Canada Research Chairs or, should there be underrepresentation in the current complement of CRCs, to address that underrepresentation.

Conforming to the TIPS requirements, Queen’s University has posted its equity targets and the number of Canada Research Chair holders (CRCs) for each of the Four Designated Groups on its website. This information reflects the number of individuals who self-identified, using the I Count Queen’s Equity Census, as members of the Four Designated Groups (FDGs). Queen’s recognizes that the number of women CRCs is below our target. Moreover, Queen’s recognizes that the persons occupying the CRCs are not a static group and moreover, that workplace climate must be nurtured to make it inclusive and welcoming of diversity of identity and diversity of perspectives. To that end, Queen’s has undertaken a planning process that will redress the gap in meeting the targets for the designated groups and has ongoing programs that will build on and expand the equity initiatives and activities already in place. (Following TIPS, the focus of this document is on the FDGs but Queen’s appreciates that identity has more dimensions, including LGBTQ+; many of the activities on the Queen’s campus pertain to more than the FDGs.)

On November 28, 2017, Queen’s University Senate pledged its commitment to these goals through explicit advocacy for inclusive excellence in the CRC Program. 

“The research community at Queen's is committed to and recognizes that building a culture of diversity is a socially responsible approach that actively removes discrimination and barriers to inclusion to provide benefits that reach beyond Queen's University. At Queen's, we recognize that diversity advances research for the greater good by valuing alternate perspectives, thereby unlocking creative potential and stimulating novel collaborations. To that end, Queen's values its responsibility to promote equity in the employment of women, racialized/visible minorities, Indigenous/Aboriginal peoples, and persons with disabilities; Queen's is an advocate for equity within the Canada Research Chairs Program. Queen's commits to evaluating representation of the four Designated Groups listed above within its Canada Research Chair Program and commits further to striving proactively to meet and to maintain its equity targets among the exceptional researchers recruited to this program.” (Approved by Queen’s University Senate, November 28, 2017).

Equity/Diversity/Inclusion Measurement Strategies

Queen’s used the TIPS Tools to identify the gaps and the opportunities for redressing those gaps in the FDGs. We conducted consultations with stakeholders, including Deans, various Department Heads, senior administrators, policy makers and some CRCs, to identify local barriers and opportunities for redressing the current gap and more generally, to enhance our performance and to meet equity targets for all FDGs.

The current allocation to Queen’s is 50 CRCs and a gap of seven women CRCs has been identified to meet the Queen’s target of 13 for the number of women who hold CRCs. This exact number may change if: the number of CRCs allotted to Queen’s changes based on Tri-Agency funding; the Equity targets are revised by TIPS based on new employment data; or if one or more female CRCs leave Queen’s. In addition, although we have met our Equity targets for the other three designated groups, we recognize that the actual target numbers are small, such that losing even one or two CRCs in an Equity group could place Queen’s below the target. Finally, some of our CRCs that are vacant have been strategically allotted, for example, in concert with other federal programs such as CERC and CFREF or related to retention. We have modelled the above variables and we anticipate that Queen’s may expect to have up to eight CRCs open between December 2017 and December 2019 if we adopt some or all of the following short-term strategies to address the gap.

1) Change hiring practices to facilitate the enhancement of equity, for example: 

  1. Preferential hiring language in CRC job advertisements specifically intended to enhance recruitment of members of the FDGs.
  2. Eliminate future CRC Tier 1 third terms as per TIPS mandate.                                              
  3. Pursue opportunities to attract CRC Tier 1 holders in Term 3 to relinquish the CRC by offering alternative methods of supporting research prominence. 

2) Use flex moves to maximize assignment of CRCs in ways to increase the opportunity to recruiting excellent women researchers.

3) Pursue alternate strategies for honouring commitments to support successful CERC and CFREF awards, so that Queen’s would be in a position to approach TIPS to utilize CRC commitments to recruit excellent women researchers. 


Queen’s objective is to submit nominations for three women CRC candidates in 2018 and for four women candidates in 2019. Please note that this plan would bring to Queen’s an additional seven women CRCs, which would meet the equity target for women CRCs at Queen’s by December 2019, all other things being equal. As required, reports on our progress will be completed in October 2018 and in October 2019. Objectives will be revisited and may be altered, should the number of available CRCs increase or decrease during this time frame.  

Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations   

Queen’s is committed to excellence in research and research training for the benefit of Canadians and to achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise. Queen’s University has in place many institutional supports for these values and regularly monitors and reports on its progress in achieving inclusive goals. Queen’s University demonstrates its commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion by ongoing self-study and by implementing best practices on an ongoing basis.

Environmental Scan. Queen’s has an applicant management system, Queen’s Equity Applicant Process (QEAP), which allows committees to track the diversity of applicants from the recruitment to the offer stage. QEAP data reveals the following for designated group representation at Queen’s for all faculty members, including CRCs, Queen’s National Scholars (QNS), and regular appointments. Through the enhanced equity and diversity processes described earlier, gaps are expected to decrease, pointing to the success achieved using the rigorous equity processes adopted over the last several years within the Queen’s National Scholars (QNS) program: women (42.7%), aboriginal peoples (7.5%), visible minorities (20%), and persons with disabilities (7.3%).

Designated Group Representation and Gaps: General Faculty (2016)  

  Women Aboriginal Peoples Visible Minorities Persons with Disability
Queen's Tenure/Tenure Track 34.9% 1.4% 13.7% 3.9%
Availability, NOC 4011:        
Professors 43.3% 1.3% 19.1% 3.8%
Gaps -94 1 -60 1

Senior Management Accountability. Queen’s recently restructured the mandate of the Deputy Provost to explicitly focus on “Inclusion” within the more general mandate of Academic Operations. This reflects the central notion that inclusion will be an integral part of all academic operations including notably hiring and curriculum. Thus, a senior university officer with attendant visibility and resources is accountable for equity, diversity and inclusion and for implementing recommendations from task forces, such as the recent Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce. 

Policy Framework. Queen’s acknowledges its responsibility to maintain an employment equity program and in 2014, Queen’s approved an employment equity policy to apply to all employees.  In 2017, the “Employment Equity in Action Plan” was drafted to provide a framework to ensure systematic, consistent, and cohesive efforts to promote equity at Queen’s University, especially but not only, in the hiring of faculty members. This initiative was undertaken in recognition that Queen’s needs to be more proactive in promoting diversity, including diversity among faculty members and among CRCs.  Once approved and implemented, it will include equity and diversity performance indicators that will be monitored and are related to meeting targets: for the FDGs in all categories of trainees and employees; for delivering equity training to all trainees and employees; and for ensuring the use of tools related to equity goals and employment equity recruitment processes. 

The current Strategic Research Plan (SRP; 2012 to 2017) is in the process of being renewed. The work to revise the SRP is well underway.  The revised plan includes a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion within the research enterprise at Queen’s University by acknowledging that excellence in research and scholarship depends on the richness of ideas and methods achieved through diversity, by actively supporting the actions taken by Queen’s to promote diversity of students, trainees, staff, and faculty within the university community and by celebrating research that showcases diversity of ideas, perspectives, cultures and locations (e.g., Prizes for Excellence in Research

The Equity section of the Equity and Human Rights Office (12 full time staff members) is mandated to work with senior Officers of the University, the Senate Educational Equity Committee and the working groups of the Employment Equity Framework, and with the Accessibility Framework, to ensure that equity is achieved throughout the University as per the Report on Principles and Priorities adopted by the Queen's Senate in 1996. The Equity and Human Rights Office provides the following services:

•           Data collection and analysis for creating equity profiles and targets, including provision of a self-audit equity tool, the Diversity and Equity Assessment and Planning Tool (DEAP), which will be mandatory starting in 2018 for all employee hiring.

•           A mandatory three-hour equity training workshop (that includes unconscious bias training and inclusion continuum) for members of faculty hiring and promotion committees and specialized training for the committees’ employment equity representative and Chair. 

•           A mandatory three-hour equity training session for non-academic/staff hiring (includes unconscious bias).

•           “Positive Space and a Diversity to Inclusion” certification tailored to departmental needs, which is based on the DEAP analysis.

CRC Allocation and Hiring Processes. CRC allotments are managed by the CRC Steering Committee. The revised Terms of Reference will be added to this website pending final approval. The policy entitled, “Senate Policy for the Nomination and Selection Process for Canada Research Chairs” was approved in 2009 and will be revisited to ensure that the Queen’s policies and procedures related to management of CRCs are consistent with TIPS and Queen’s equity considerations and goals, with the mandate of the CRC Steering Committee, and with the most recent version of the Collective Agreement.

The process for hiring CRCs follows the terms of Queen’s University Collective Agreement (C.A.), specifically Article 25 related to appointments. Article 24 of the Collective Agreement expressly recognizes the joint responsibility of management and the Faculty Association to promote and practice rigorous employment equity processes and to value diversity. This Article addresses best practices, for example, related to advertising, interviewing and salary considerations. Articles 9, 24.1.4 (c) and 24.1.5 also recognize a duty to accommodate. Article 30.2.2 allows an Aboriginal applicant for renewal, tenure or promotion to request the presence of a non-voting Aboriginal person on the Committee. The C.A. includes detailed equity processes for renewal and promotion in addition to appointments. When a CRC holds a clinical appointment affiliated with a teaching hospital, the appointment follows internal processes as well as applicable Queen’s Senate policies which explicitly demand adherence to the principles of employment equity. The job interview and related processes for all faculty applicants including CRCs are conducted by the Search Committee to obtain standardized information relevant to the scholarly review criteria; however, candidates can also meet with the faculty recruitment officer, who provides a highly personalized and inclusive approach to settlement in the Kingston area, addressing relocation needs, such as visa arrangements, spousal employment, housing, schooling, religious and other community groups. Candidates may meet with an Equity Advisor to obtain information and to ask equity-related questions. These services operate on a confidential basis.


  1. Finalize the “Employment Equity in Action Plan” and deploy the activities and communications as set out in the document.
  2. Ensure that the renewed Strategic Research Plan makes a clear and comprehensive goal of increased excellence in research, achieved through Faculty equity, diversity and inclusion.
  3. Review and amend or replace the 2009 Senate Policy “Nomination and Selection Process for Canada Research Chairs.”
Collection of Equity and Diversity Data 

Queen’s University encourages employees to self-identify using the I Count Equity Census so that the information can be used to generate an accurate picture of our current workforce. In turn, this allows Queen’s to report on the degree to which it is meeting its equity targets and to use the DEAP tool (previously described) to plan for meeting equity targets at the level of individual academic departments or non-academic units. 

Queen’s is mandated by the Federal Contractors Program to collect, track and report on equity data as it pertains to employees. This includes faculty positions, which category includes CRCs.  Queen’s also tracks applicants to faculty positions, including CRCs. This role has been delegated to Queen’s Equity Office, under the Collective Agreement between Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA) and Queen’s University Kingston. Queen’s University also collects equity data for CRCs in non QUFA positions. Applicants to faculty positions are sent a voluntary on line self-identification link. An Employment Equity Representative, who has additional equity training for this role, is a member of the hiring committee and has access to self-identification data to inform hiring decisions and to contribute to the databases that the Equity Office needs in completing Queen’s annual compliance reports for equity in academic hiring. The latest version of this monitoring system is called Queen’s Equity Application Program (QEAP) and was implemented in 2016.


  1. Equity Office will review levels of self-identification, with particular attention to the CRC self-identification, and modify processes to enhance levels of compliance as appropriate.  
Retention and Inclusivity 

There are several units and recent initiatives at Queen’s that are focused on vigorously pursuing an environment that is inclusive and respectful of all members of our community. University Relations is committed to communicating and promoting messages of anti-racism and equity in the stories they tell about Queen's and the Queen's community. They are open and proactive in their philosophy of support for raising awareness and for capturing the University's interest in issues of equity, diversity, and inclusivity. Moreover, University Relations commits itself to the highest standards for supporting the University's interest that all diverse cultures and identities be reflected and expressed in all aspects of university life, including communications and publications, both in print and online. In the upcoming Employment Equity Action Plan, University Relations plays a pivotal role in promoting communication and education for equity informed processes, including processes related to hiring.  

Queen’s has a robust suite of policies associated with Accessibility. Queen’s has been recognized with the Employment Equity Achievement Award in the Innovation category from Employment and Social Development Canada for the guiding Accessibility Framework, as well as its work on Employment Equity Framework and initiatives such as the Diversity and Equity Assessment and Planning (DEAP) Tool.

Although the Queen’s community is committed in many ways to foster inclusivity, it is also willing to hear that much remains to be done. In its ongoing commitment to self-reflection, Queen’s has recently engaged with two major reviews of campus climate for members of the FDGs, namely, through the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce. Both of these reports provide thoughtful feedback and insight as well as a series of recommendations to make the commitment to diversity and inclusion at Queen’s evident and personal, and to stimulate action to provide equity of access and opportunity.

The Human Rights section of the Human Rights and Equity Office has a mandate to ensure that the Queen’s community's needs in the area of human rights are being addressed adequately. The Office promotes human rights and addresses complaints about harassment and discrimination on protected grounds, such as race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability and gender identity as well as analogous grounds. The Human Rights Office informs the community about their rights and responsibilities in the area of human rights through training and through assistance in finding educational resources. The Office reports to the Queen's community through a biannual report to the Senate.

All members of the Queen’s community may access the Human Rights Office, CRCs in particular have also approached their Department Heads and Deans for advice. As well, they approach the Vice Principal (Research) for confidential advice related to inclusion and retention, as the Vice Principal (Research) is the Chair of the CRC Steering Committee. An alternative mechanism that is arguably “best practice,” involves a mentoring system. Queen’s has mentoring programs for new faculty members, albeit on an ad hoc Faculty-by-Faculty basis, however, there exists no systematic mentoring program for CRCs. In a small sample survey conducted by the Equity Office on women CRCs at Queen’s in 2016, there was some suggestion that more formal mentoring would be valued. A comprehensive evaluation of the levels of personal and material support that is received by CRCs has not been conducted at Queen’s University; such an evaluation, particularly conducted through an equity lens, is timely.  


  1. Develop activities and communications strategies related to the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce.
  2. Office of the Vice Principal (Research) to conduct a review of the personal and material supports received by CRCs with the goal of developing practices that maximize appropriate and fair resource allocation across the pool of CRCs.
Public Accountability


As per the TIPS requirements, Queen’s University published its Public Accountability webpages in October 2017. Queen’s University added its CRC Equity Action Plan to these webpages by the December 15, 2017 deadline. Queen’s must review and update its accountability webpages each year by October 31.