Canada Research Chairs Program - Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan

Western's Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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 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.

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 Aboriginal people’s representation.” An Implementation Task Force is currently (2017-18) identifying specific tactics for achieving these goals.
  • 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, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities."

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.

Current Gaps in Meeting Targets

Technical notes:

  • 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

Accordingly, the following are our target and occupancy data. 

 

 

Target

Occupancy*

Gap (%)

Gap (number

of Chairs)

Women

30%

21%

9.5%

4

Visible Minorities

15%

28%

no gap

No gap

Persons with Disabilities

4%

***

***

***

Aboriginal Persons

1%

***

***

***

 

** 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. 

Governance Plan and Committee Membership

A recommendation for approval of Western’s CRCP EDI plan will be 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 current 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’s current membership 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 First Nations 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.

Process for Developing Western's CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

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 by:

  1. The University of Western Ontario Employee Systems Review (ESR), 2009
  2. Western’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan (2011-2015)
  3. The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) Collective Agreement 2014-2018, in particular Articles relating to recruitment, appointments, and employment equity
  4. Western’s Annual Report on Recruitment and Retention, 2016
  5. Western’s Annual Report on Promotion and Tenure, 2016
  6. Western’s Annual Workforce Analysis Summary Reports prepared by the Equity & Human Rights Services Office
  7. Western’s Career Trajectory Analysis Report 2017, 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 of the outcomes of these provisions. 

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.

Our EDI plan is drafted with an intent to enable regular updates as new information becomes available and with reflection bi-annually on the outcomes vis-à-vis targets and gaps. 

Current Provisions for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Western

Western’s CRC EDI Action Plan is situated within the context of the following environment:

The University of Western Ontario Faculty Collective Agreement, 2014-2018 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 (2010-15) 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 (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 committees at Western. 

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.  A recent Pay Equity analysis, completed in 2017 as part of a Career Trajectory analysis, identified no gender based differential among faculty at Western.  

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 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 provides advice on identifying employment opportunities in London and the surrounding area. 

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:

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

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. 

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.  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 Aboriginal peoples in the Canada Research Program is important to Western.  An Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) was approved in November 2016 and an Implementation Task Force is currently in progress.  Through the development of an Interdisciplinary Development Initiative (IDI) of an Applied Indigenous Scholarship training program, efforts are being made to build awareness and cultural competencies for working effectively with Indigenous peoples and cultures among Western faculty and staff.   

Western’s CRC EDI steering committee will monitor the implementation of the ISP, and revisit specific actions informed by this work to be incorporated into the CRCP EDI plan.

Action Plan

At the outset, the committee wishes to be clear about the following:

  1. This Action plan is presented as a condensed list of Actions.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  1. Western will increase our use of “corridors of flexibility” in our management of CRC allocations in an effort to create opportunities to attract a broad and diverse pool of applicants,.
  2. In advertising for CRC searches, we will ensure that qualifications are not narrowly specified. Qualifications will be stated as broadly as relevant to the research field in order to attract a broad an applicant pool.
  3. 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.
  4. Equity training, incorporating the CRC Unconscious Bias Module, has been provided to CRC search committee members, academic leaders and administrators. This training will be on-going to ensure all individuals involved in CRC recruitments and appointments have the opportunity to participate. A full description of training activities is included in the Management and Allocation of Canada Research Chairs section. 
  5. During the Academic Leaders Summer Conference in June 2018, academic leaders will participate in a session devoted to leading and retaining a diverse workforce. This session will also address leaders’ legal obligations to employment equity.
  6. The Joint Employment Equity Committee (JEEC) currently monitors adherence to Western’s Faculty Employment Equity Guide (for Appointment and Promotion and Tenure Committees) as described in the Current Provisions for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion section described above. Effective January 2017, we instituted a more intensive monitoring of CRC recruitment processes by the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention (OFRR).   
  7. The Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention will develop additional online resources on elder care and parental leave, including information on supports for maintaining laboratories on leave and entitlement to alternative or reduced workload arrangements under the UWOFA collective agreement.
  8. As part of the recruitment process, consultants from the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention will meet with short-listed applicants to provide information on relocating to Western and the resources available at Western and within the London community.
  9. The Office of Faculty Relations will ensure that alternative workloads and career mentoring committees are in place for all CRCs. 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.

 

We have designated EDI awareness and practice as being core leadership competencies.  Leaders will have accountabilities to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion are advanced throughout the institution.  Accordingly, in the annual planning process, the Provost will ask the Dean’s to report on EDI practices and outcomes in each Faculty.

Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations

Information about Western's Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations can be found at Management of CRC Allocations.

Collection of Equity and Diversity Data

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, Aboriginal 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 Data

Applicants 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). 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 (see Appendix B). 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.

Retention and Inclusivity

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

As identified in the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, 2011-2015, the Western community has indicated a desire for inclusion and connectivity with others within the greater-Western community.   There are a number of programs available to provide opportunities for support and inclusion. 

In 2017, the Office of the Vice-Provost (Academic Planning, Policy and Faculty) implemented a new orientation program for new faculty members, including CRC holders, providing a comprehensive 2-day orientation to Western which includes academic roles, responsibilities and progress, research supports and teaching supports at Western. 

The Teaching Support Centre offers a Faculty Mentor Program which includes a variety of workshops on topics that relate to the challenges and experiences of faculty.  Topics include the Promotion and Tenure process, Developing a Teaching Dossier and Teaching Philosophy and Preparing Research Grant Proposals. 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.