Canada Research Chairs Program - Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan
Western University recognizes that our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is central to the University’s mandate as a research intensive institution of higher learning and a community leader. Western understands that our pursuit of research excellence and our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion are compatible and mutually supporting. As such, Western is committed to achieving and maintaining an equitable representation amongst our Canada Research Chair holders, as well as within Western’s broader research enterprise. Western seeks to ensure the equitable representation of the federally designated group members (women, members of racialized groups/visible minorities, Indigenous/Aboriginal persons, and persons with disabilities). In keeping with the importance of diversity and inclusion, Western also recognizes additional equity seeking groups, including persons of any sexual orientation, and persons of any gender identity and/or gender expression.
Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is central to our strategic documents and established practices, including but not limited to the following:
- Western's Strategic Plan, Achieving Excellence on the World Stage, sets a goal to "Increase diversity among our faculty and staff, including the recruitment and retention of designated employee groups (including women, visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, and persons with disabilities).”
- Western's Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) has, as goals, to "increase Indigenous faculty members working at Western” and “through promotion and tenure and annual performance review processes, recognize additional demands placed on time and workload of Indigenous faculty members through involvement in a number of activities that support Indigenous education and scholarship across the institution.” The ISP also commits to “review strategies to reduce the gap in Indigenous people’s representation.”
- Western’s Research Plan indicates that “the appointment of female faculty members to CRC positions is a key priority for Western” and that the Vice-President (Research) “has committed to work closely with the Provost and the Deans of the relevant Faculties to increase the rate of appointment of female faculty as Chairs come up for renewal.”
- Western University and the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association have agreed, in the Faculty Collective Agreement, to "cooperate in the identification and removal of all barriers to the recruitment, selection, hiring, retention and promotion of the following groups: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of racialized groups. Other groups as may be designated as under-represented in federal and provincial human rights legislation or agreed to by the Parties may be included in this list."
Through the above strategic plans and our established practices, Western’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion will support our efforts to attract and retain the best talent, increase the diversity of our workplace and contribute to the creation of a world-class research and scholarship culture.
While we have made progress, we will continue to update and enhance provisions for equity, diversity and inclusion. As such, our EDI plan is a living document with strategies for continuous self-assessment and improvement.
- The following estimates use the CRC target setting tool and Western’s internal data on FDG membership.
- Occupancy data are incomplete; not all faculty responded to the survey.
- Updated information will be provided when it becomes available.
|Designated Group||Target||Occupancy*||Gap (%)||Gap (number of chairs)|
|Visable Minorities||15%||28.6%||no gap||no gap|
|Persons with Disabilities||4%||***||***||***|
** As stipulated by the CRC Program, in keeping with the Privacy Act, if the number of chair holders who self-identified as belonging to one of the four groups is less than five, it is not provided to protect the privacy of chair holders.
A recommendation for approval of Western’s CRCP EDI plan was made by Western University’s Canada Research Chairs Steering Committee after development and endorsement of the plan from Western’s Canada Research Chairs Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan Committee.
Western’s CRC Steering Committee’s membership includes: the Provost and Vice-President (Academic); the Vice-President (Research); and the Vice-Provost (Academic Planning, Policy and Faculty).
Western’s CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan Committee, which developed the CRC-EDI Action plan, includes: M. Karen Campbell (Vice-Provost, Academic Planning, Policy and Faculty), Mark Daley (Associate Vice-President Research), Juan-Luis Suarez (Associate Vice-President, Research), Janice Forsyth (Associate Professor and Director of the Indigenous Studies program), Wendy Pearson (Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research), Tsun-Kong Sham (Tier 1 Canada Research Chair), Amanda Moehring (Tier 2 Canada Research Chair), David Litchfield (Professor and Vice-Dean Research & Innovation, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry), David Tweddell (Director, Research Development), Connie Zrini (Faculty Recruitment Consultant), and Terri Tomchick-Condon (Senior Consultant, Equity & Human Rights Services). Advising as a resource to the Committee is Laurie Arnott, Director of Faculty Relations who has expertise in Human Rights and Labour Law.
Western’s recruitment objectives are to attract and retain the best talent available in an increasingly diverse workforce to achieve and maintain an equitable and diverse representation of the four designated groups in our Canada Research Chairs allocations. Our action plan has been developed to describe the actions we will undertake to meet the objectives stated above, and to meet or exceed our equity and diversity targets in the Canada Research Chairs program.
The action plan is a result of deliberations of Western’s CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Plan Committee. Deliberations have been informed and updated accordingly by:
- The University of Western Ontario Employee Systems Review (ESR), 2009 (PDF)
- Western’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan (2011-2015) (PDF)
- The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) Collective Agreement (2018-2022) (PDF), in particular Articles relating to recruitment, appointments, and employment equity,
- Western’s Annual Reports on Recruitment and Retention, 2019 (PDF)
- Western’s Annual Reports on Promotion and Tenure, 2019 (PDF)
- Western’s Annual Workforce Analysis Summary Reports prepared by the Equity & Human Rights Services Office
- Western’s Career Trajectory Analysis Report 2017 (PDF) in which pay equity was examined
It is important to acknowledge that the Diversity & Inclusion Plan (referred to in (b) above) and the most recent language pertaining to employment equity in the UWOFA collective agreements for 2010-2014 and 2014-2018 (referred to in (c) above) reflect prior institutional response to barriers identified in the ESR (referred to in (a) above). The reports referred to in items (d) through (g) represent institutional monitoring (environmental scans) of the outcomes of these provisions which continues as a key objective of the plan.
Western’s CRC EDI Plan Committee discussed barriers that had been identified in the ESR review and examined the degree to which there was evidence suggesting that further action may be needed Accordingly, we have developed our CRC EDI Action Plan as described below which includes the objectives and actions to ensure equitable supports for new CRCs, ensure mentoring is available for Tier 2 CRCs, implementing EDI awareness and practice as core leadership competencies and ensuring equity training for faculty.
Our EDI plan is drafted with an intent to enable regular updates as new information becomes available and with reflection annually on the outcomes vis-à-vis targets and gaps.
Western’s CRC EDI Action Plan is situated within the context of the following environment:
The University of Western Ontario Faculty Collective Agreement 2018-2022 (PDF) builds on the previous Collective Agreements and has a number of provisions for employment equity as well as provisions for monitoring the processes and outcomes described in the collective agreement, including stringent requirements for faculty recruitment. Appointments and Search Committees are required to conduct a comparison of the applicant pool using available data (provided by the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention) reflective of the applicant pools for similar positions elsewhere in Canada prior to short-listing applicants. If the comparison reveals a significant under-representation of a designated group, the committee must undertake further efforts to attract candidates from the designated group before short-listing candidates from the applicant pool. This process aligns with Western's Diversity & Inclusion Plan (2011-15) (PDF) on targeted outreach and selection methodologies that avoid biases and barriers to be implemented to address areas of under-representation of designated group members.
Western’s Faculty Employment Equity Guide (PDF) (for Appointment and Promotion and Tenure Committees) is jointly produced by Western University and UWOFA. This guide is a valuable reference to committees as it guides committees through the steps of a fair and transparent recruitment and hiring process and promotion process at Western. The guide is also a reference tool currently used in the employment equity training for each CRC search and appointments committee at Western. Included in the 2018-22 Collective Agreement is a requirement that an Equity Representative be identified and trained for each of the following committees: Appointments, Annual Performance Evaluation, and Promotion and Tenure Committees. Those with this responsibility will ensure that their respective committees adhere to the rules and expected practices as outlined in the Faculty Employment Equity Guide.
The Joint Employment Equity Committee (JEEC), convened as required under the UWOFA Collective Agreement, includes representation from both UWOFA and the University, as well as a resource member from Equity & Human Rights Services. The JEEC is charged with reviewing adherence to the recruitment requirement described above. As well, the JEEC conducts a review of the annual Recruitment and Retention report provided to Senate which looks at recruitment rates and upward career mobility (time to promotion) by gender. This committee also reviews the annual Promotion and Tenure Report provided to Senate, which reports outcomes of promotion consideration for all four designated groups.
Compensation for all faculty recruited, including CRC nominees, is negotiated at the Faculty or Department level and is subject to Provost approval. The most recent Pay Equity analysis, completed in 2017 as part of a Career Trajectory analysis, identified no gender based differential among faculty at Western. As part of the 2018-2022 Collective Agreement, the next Career Trajectory analysis will take place in 2021-22 and will again take into consideration gender-based anomalies.
To support recruitment, Western University also provides budgetary incentive for salary and benefits of all new female probationary (tenure-track) and tenured faculty, which includes CRC appointments.
Facilitating recruitment of dual career families of a CRC candidate remains a challenge. Western has a program in place to provide financial support to units when hiring an academic spouse of a faculty candidate. The support is to provide a component of salary for a three year limited-term academic appointment to the spouse of a faculty candidate. For non-academic spouses, the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention continues to provide support through an external partnership with a Career Support firm to provide career support for partners of newly hired faculty members.
Western is committed to providing a learning and working environment that is respectful and free of harassment and discrimination. All students, staff and faculty have a role in this commitment and have a responsibility to ensure and promote a safe and respectful learning and working environment in their interactions with other community members. To support this commitment, Western has implemented a number of policies and training initiatives, which include the following:
- Non-Discrimination/Harassment Policy (M.A.P.P. 1.35) & Non-Discrimination/Harassment Policy – Administrative Procedures (M.A.P.P. 1.35)
- Employment Equity Policy (M.A.P.P. 3.2)
- Safe Campus Policy (M.A.P.P. 1.46)
- UWOFA – Employment Equity Policy (article specifically for faculty)
- UWOFA – Discrimination and Harassment Policy
- Duty to Accommodate Guidelines
- Policy on Sexual Violence (M.A.P.P. 1.52)
Communication and ongoing training is an effective method of providing tools to all members of the community who share in the responsibility of creating a safe and supportive teaching, learning and working environment. Western conducted a comprehensive Campus-wide communication strategy and formal training obligations relating to harassment and discrimination. Formal training modules for all Western employees relating to safe and respectful workplace include:
- Preventing Harassment, Violence, and Domestic Violence at Western
- Accessibility in Service or Accessibility in Teaching
- Mental Health Interactive Learning Module
Currently Equity, Diversity and Inclusion training is provided to members of appointments/search committees involved in a CRC search. During the summer of 2018, Equity & Human Rights services extended this training for all Appointments Committee members The current Faculty Collective Agreement includes a requirement that a minimum of one member of Appointments committees, Promotion & Tenure committees and Annual Performance Evaluation committees be trained and serve as that Committee’s Equity Representative. To facilitate this requirement, additional training during the summer and fall of 2019 was conducted and open to all members of these committees. This training will continue in 2020 and there are plans to evolve this training to an online module in the future.
The University has also embedded EDI-related policies, principles and best practices into various aspects of our Excellence in Leadership at Western Program. This development program is for academic and research leaders, as well as administrative leaders. EDI awareness and accountabilities for human rights, equity and accessibility have been incorporated into a half-day learning session called “Supervisor Responsibilities: What a Western Leader Needs to Know” (offered 5 times in 2019).
In addition to the training listed above, Western’s Equity & Human Rights Services also provides training and education workshops on equity, diversity and human-rights to the campus community on request.
Providing supports to employees to achieve work/life balance is important to Western and we are proud to have been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2014, 2015 and 2016. For many years, Western has offered supports, policies and programs to support employees in achieving this balance and continue to do so.
The UWOFA collective agreement includes a number of articles that provide resources and available options for faculty to consider in support this commitment. They include the following articles: Child and Family Care, Leave of Absence, Pregnancy and Parental Leave, Promotion and Tenure, Reduced Workload, Working Conditions, Workload, Compensation and Benefits. The Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention at Western also provides guidance and assistance to Members regarding a number of resources, programs and policies relevant to concerns such as child care and schooling, community resources, family health care and/or elder care. This office has also developed a Pregnancy/Parental/Adoption Leaves guide and a Practical Guide to Sabbaticals resource to provide a comprehensive information on preparing for academic leaves.
In addition, Western provides a number of Health and Wellness supports through a cross-campus initiative designed to encourage and promote a wide variety of physical, cultural, and intellectual activities to improve health and wellness at Western. These programs are excellent recruiting tools to attract candidates to Western.
Increasing representation of Indigenous peoples in the Canada Research Program is important to Western. An Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) was approved in November 2016 and a Task Force was initiated by the Provost to begin the process of implementing the plan's goals and suggestions and it released its report in June 2018. Current efforts include the appointment of a Special Advisor to the Provost (Indigenous Initiatives), Indigenous Faculty cluster hires, approval to create the position of Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Indigenous Initiatives), development of a guide for Working with Indigenous Students, as well as a Land Acknowledgement guide, training for students and faculty to increase cultural awareness to support cultural diversity and mentorship (including Indigenous Awareness Week) and development of a dedicated Indigenous Learning Space to be completed by the summer 2020.
At the 2019 Academic Leaders Conference, a plenary session on Indigenizing Western was given.
A “Letter of Understanding, Indigenous Faculty Issues” was negotiated in the 2018-22 Faculty Collective Agreement. This Letter of Understanding specifically endeavours to address the collective agreement processes such as promotion and tenure, and annual performance evaluations, and to customize these to recognize the additional demands placed on time and workload of Indigenous faculty members. A working group is currently in progress to provide recommendations.
Funding through an Interdisciplinary Development Initiative (IDI) in Applied Indigenous Scholarship (2016-2019) has supported the implementation of the ISP through a number of teaching and research initiatives as well as student scholarships, curriculum development and partnership on a number of the aforementioned efforts above.
Western’s CRC EDI steering committee continues to monitor the implementation of the ISP, and as applicable, specific actions informed by this work to be incorporated into the CRCP EDI plan.
At the outset, the committee wishes to be clear about the following:
- This Action plan is presented as a condensed list of Actions.
- The process whereby these Actions were identified is described under the Process for Developing Western’s CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan section described above.
- The goal of the action plan is to ensure that we are promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in our culture and practices. Achieving equity targets is a measure of the success in achieving our EDI action plan.
- We view the statement of the plan as the first step in an ongoing process to revisit and refine the plan. Accordingly, the committee will continue to meet regularly to monitor plan implementation and to review and refine the plan as necessary.
The following are key actions that have been or will be undertaken as part of Western’s CRC EDI Action Plan.
Objective 1: Attract and retain the best talent available in an increasingly diverse workforce to achieve and maintain an equitable and diverse representation of the four designated groups in our Canada Research Chairs Allocations.
1.1 During the summer of 2019, Western allocated up to 14 CRCs as a Special Call for CRCs to increase representation for members of three designated groups; women, persons with disabilities and Indigenous persons. Nominations of selected CRC candidates are in progress.
1.2 Western will continue to use the opportunity provided by the CRCP through the “corridors of flexibility”, in our management of CRC allocations in an effort to create opportunities to attract a broad and diverse pool of applicants.
1.3 In advertising for new CRC searches, committees are instructed, and reviews are conducted, to ensure qualifications are not narrowly specified and qualifications are stated as broadly as relevant to the research field in order to attract a broad an applicant pool.
1.4 To ensure individuals are not disadvantaged for legitimate career interruptions, language will be included in all CRC advertisements encouraging individuals to explain the impact that career interruptions have had and to submit a full career or extended CV.
1.5 As part of the recruitment process, consultants from the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention meet with short-listed applicants to provide information on relocating to Western and the resources available at Western and within the London community.
1.6 Steering Committee assigns CRCs that are aligned with the Strategic Research Plan and Faculty Academic Plans with emphasis on allocations where field of research is more broadly defined and in areas where units have identified a diverse applicant pool.
Key Objective 2: Continue Institutional monitoring of Employment Equity through the provisions of the Faculty Collective Agreement and annual reporting on Recruitment and Retention, Promotion and Tenure and Career Trajectory Analysis as required.
2.1 The Joint Employment Equity Committee (JEEC) currently monitors adherence to Western’s Faculty Employment Equity Guide (PDF) (for Appointment and Promotion and Tenure Committees) as described in the Current Provisions for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion section described above. Effective January 2017, a more intensive monitoring of CRC recruitment processes was instituted by the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention (OFRR) which continues.
2.2 The 2018-2022 Faculty Collective Agreement continues provisions for monitoring EDI to ensure women and members of other designated groups, are not disadvantaged in recruitment processes and academic progression. An added provision of the new collective agreement is the inclusion of a committee member who will be designated as an Equity Representative on all Appointments, Promotion & Tenure and Annual Performance Evaluation committees. This extends beyond CRC committees.
Key Objective 3: Ensure equitable pay, workload and research supports for new CRCs.
3.1 Standards have been developed for workloads and salary stipends as indicated in the Level of Support section. Ongoing monitoring will continue to ensure adherence. In particular, special attention will be paid to the workload and career planning support of Indigenous scholars in recognition of the differential demands on their time due to the small numbers and the demands associated with implementation of the Indigenous Strategic Plan.
3.2 The Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention developed additional online resources on Academic Leaves which incorporates leaves such as elder care and parental leave, and includes information on supports for maintaining laboratories on leave and entitlement to alternative or reduced workload arrangements under the UWOFA collective agreement. Additional resources will be developed as applicable.
3.3 A career trajectory analysis conducted in 2017 for all full-time Faculty members indicated no gender anomaly in current complement. In accordance with the 2018-2022 collective agreement, this analysis will be repeated in year 4 of the agreement. In addition, a comparative review was conducted to specifically assess current equity within CRCs, particularly relating to research stipends (compensation), workload and research supports.
Key Objective 4: Ensure Mentoring is Available for Tier 2 CRCs
4.1 Development of career progression and development support for all faculty is under review which will include all CRC holders.
Key Objective 5: Implement EDI awareness and practice as core leadership competencies, with accountabilities to ensure EDI is advanced throughout the institution.
5.1 Western’s annual Academic Leaders Summer Conference brings together academic leaders to help support and develop their leadership competencies. At Western, we recognize the importance of senior leaders modelling their personal commitment to EDI and the impact that this can have on all leaders within our institution. As such, at the 2019 conference, the importance of EDI was focal to the curriculum:
- In each of their opening remarks, Western’s President and the Provost included specific aspects of equity, diversity and/or inclusion and their importance to Western’s academic and research missions.
- An “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” session was co-delivered by the Vice-Provost (Academic Planning, Policy and Faculty), a previous Associate Vice-President of Research and a UWOFA Representative of Western’s Joint Employment Equity Committee.
- A keynote address entitled “Indigenizing Western” was delivered by the Special Advisor to the Provost (Indigenous Initiatives).
5.2 We have designated EDI awareness and practice as being core leadership competencies and an objective for the CRC EDI program. Leaders will have accountabilities to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion are advanced throughout the institution.
Western has embedded EDI-related policies, principles and best practices into various aspects of our Excellence in Leadership at Western Program. This development program is for academic and research leaders, as well as administrative leaders. EDI awareness and accountabilities for human rights, equity and accessibility have been incorporated into a half-day learning session called “Supervisor Responsibilities: What a Western Leader Needs to Know” (offered 5 times in 2019). Additionally, an online training module on ‘Leadership Recruitment at Western’ was developed in 2019, which includes a special focus on EDI-related best practices in hiring.
Key Objective 6: Equity Training for All Faculty
6.1 Since 2017, equity training, incorporating the CRC Unconscious Bias Module, has been provided to CRC search committee members, academic leaders and administrators. This training is on-going to ensure all individuals involved in CRC recruitments and appointments have the opportunity to participate. During the summer of 2018, Equity & Human Rights services extended this training for all appointments committee members. The current Collective Agreement broadens this training to include a requirement that a minimum of one member of each Appointments Committee, Promotion & Tenure Committee and Annual Performance Evaluation Committee be trained and serve as that Committee’s Equity Representative. To facilitate this requirement, additional training during the summer and fall of 2019 was conducted and open to all members of these committees. This training will continue in 2020. A full description of training activities is included in the Management and Allocation of Canada Research Chairs section.
Information about Western's Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations can be found at Management of CRC Allocations.
The collection of equity data is crucial as we work towards achieving and maintaining an equitable representation of designated group members in Western’s workforce and amongst our Canada Research Chair holders. As such, Western collects equity data from both CRC applicants, as well as Chair holders. In both cases, survey recipients are asked whether or not they self-identify as belonging to one or more of the designated groups: women, members of racialized groups/visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and/or persons with disabilities.
At Western, Equity and Human Rights Services (EHRS) is responsible for collecting, maintaining and reporting on the equity data collected by the University. EHRS is also charged with maintaining the confidentiality of this data and facilitating its use for employment equity purposes. Additionally, survey recipients are provided with the direct contact information for this office to ensure that any questions about the survey can be addressed.
Canada Research Chair Applicant Equity DataApplicants to CRC advertisements are sent an email from the Chair of the relevant Search/Appointment Committee thanking them for their application and requesting that they complete Western’s CRC applicant equity survey (Appendix A (PDF)). The applicant survey includes an explanation of the survey’s purpose and use of the data. Completion of the survey is voluntary. In the case of applicant data, EHRS aggregates the data and provides it to the Chair of the Search/Appointment committee to inform the committee on the composition of the applicant pool. The assessment of the diversity of the applicant pool is required prior to short-listing applicants to allow the committee meet the defined process in the UWOFA Collective Agreement.
Canada Research Chair Holder Equity Data
Successful nominees to a CRC position receive an email requesting their participation in Western’s employment equity survey (Appendix B (PDF)). All employees of the university (staff and faculty) are strongly encouraged to complete this confidential survey. Individuals can choose to complete the survey either online through Western’s web portal or by completing a paper copy of the survey. While completion of the survey is voluntary, the University encourages participation through a series of follow up reminder emails requesting the participation of any non-respondents to the survey.
A detailed description of the current environment at Western is provided under the tab "Current Provisions for EDI at Western". Information regarding the primary contacts for equity concerns and/or complaints, how concerns and/or complaints are managed and the mechanism of how these concerns and/or complaints are managed is documented under the following sections of Western University Transparency and Accountability Requirements :
- Contact Information of Persons Responsible for Implementing Western’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan
- Procedures for Addressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Concerns
Two full days are dedicated to new faculty orientation at Western. Western’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers a full day, New Faculty Orientation workshop every August which introduces new instructors to resources and policies related to teaching and learning. To complement this, since 2017, the Office of the Vice-Provost (Academic Planning, Policy and Faculty) has provided an additional full day New Faculty Orientation, which includes CRC holders, that further elaborates on topics such as academic roles, responsibilities and progress, research supports and teaching supports at Western.
In addition, The CTL also offers a Faculty Mentor Program which includes a variety of workshops, presented in collaboration with other partners on campus, on topics that relate to the challenges and experiences of faculty. Typically, four to six sessions are offered each year and cover topics such as: promotion and tenure, developing a teaching dossier/teaching philosophy, running effective meetings, preparing Tri Council grants, preparing for sabbatical, tips for graduate supervision, and applying for promotion to full professor.
The Office of Research Western also hosted two internal 2-day conferences in 2019. These conferences were open to all faculty, research support staff and students and offered a number of workshops on research related topics, including, but not limited to: grant applications, managing grants, ethics applications and guidelines, tools and technology, collaboration and partnerships and procurement practices. Each conference featured EDI focused keynotes on the topics of Indigenous Research and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Western.
Other informal networking opportunities exist including a New Faculty Research Club and Women at Western.
Exit surveys are conducted for all full-time UWOFA faculty members, including CRC holders, who resign from Western to identify trends and provide opportunities for improvement.