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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan – Canada Research Chairs Program

Approved December 15, 2017

The Canada Research Chairs program has responded to concerns about equity, diversity, and inclusion among chair appointments by implementing an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. This initiative requires institutions with an allocation of five or more chairs (Royal Roads currently has four chair allocations) to draft an institutional equity, diversity and inclusion action plan to describe how the institution will sustain the participation, and/or address the under-representation, of individuals from the four federally designated groups (FDGs): women; persons with disabilities; Indigenous Peoples; and visible minorities) within their allocation of chairs.

In July 2017, Royal Roads University designated Deborah Zornes, Director of Research Services, and matthew heinz, Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies, to work with Lisa Robinson, Associate Director, Human Resources, and Gina Williams, Human Resources Advisor, on the development of a draft institutional plan. Dr. Zornes serves as the President of the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) and in that role, has been appointed to a three-year term (2017-2020) on the Tri-Agency Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy (ACEDIP).  

1) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Objectives and Measurement Strategies 

  • impactful equity, diversity and inclusion objectives, indicators, and actions that will enable swift progress towards:
    • addressing disadvantages currently experienced by individuals of the FDGs; and
    • meeting the institution’s equity targets and goals by December 2019—aggressive objectives must be set using this timeline based on the number of chair allocations that are (or will become) available in the institution within the next 18-to-24 months (the 18 months starts as of December 15, 2017, when the action plan is implemented).

The university’s diversity statement captures its equity, diversity and inclusion objectives:

Diversity is the recognition and acknowledgement of multiple and overlapping identities. These identities include but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, culture, nationality, linguistic origin, citizenship, colour, ancestry, place of origin, creed (religion, faith, spirituality), family status, marital status, ability or disability, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, education, style, socio-economic class, and political belief. 

Diversity enriches community. Royal Roads University is committed to appreciating and celebrating the diversity of students, faculty, and staff. We strive to increase understanding and acceptance of each other, thereby making us more compassionate human beings and strengthening the fabric of our communities.

Royal Roads University is committed to attracting a diverse pool of candidates as new chairs become available. In particular, the university is committed to attracting women and/or Indigenous candidates and/or candidates with disabilities. The university’s first Canada Research Chair was awarded to a female scholar, who now serves as the Equity and Diversity Champion for the SSHRC Environment and Energy Review Panel, Phase 1 of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program.

Having used the CRC target-setting tool to calculate equity and diversity targets and determine gaps, Royal Roads University will confirm its equity targets and gaps for each of the FDGs by January 31, 2018. Currently the university has fewer than five chairs, therefore while targets will be released, the  representation and gaps will be withheld to protect the privacy of chairholders, unless all of the university’s chairholders give explicit permission to share the data. All new chair allocations between December 2017 and December 2019 will be focused on achieving the equity targets.  

As part of the process of setting its equity targets, the university is undertaking the following activities:

  • an employment systems review to identify: the extent to which the institution’s current recruitment practices are open and transparent; barriers or practices that could be having an adverse effect on the employment and retention of individuals from the FDGs; and corrective measures that will be taken to address systematic inequities (planned as part of the 2018/19 HR Operating Plan);
  • a comparative review—by gender, designated group, and field of research—of the level of institutional support (e.g., protected time for research, salary and benefits, additional research funds, office space, mentoring, administrative support, equipment, etc.)  provided to all current chairholders, including measures to address systemic inequities (to be completed by the Director, Research Services in collaboration with the Faculty and College Deans, and provided to the Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies by January 31, 2018);
  • an identification and analysis of Royal Roads’ unique challenges based on its characteristics (e.g., size, language requirements, geographic location, etc.) that may impact the university in meeting its equity targets for CRCs, and how these will be managed and mitigated (to be completed by the Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies and the Vice-President Academic & Provost by Feb. 15, 2018). This analysis will be conducted every two or three years depending on the new allocation cycle of chairs.
  • Royal Roads will report to the CRC secretariat, and publicly, on the progress made regarding meeting the equity targets and each of the objectives above on an annual basis by October 31 of each year to the degree that it can without violating privacy regulations.

2) Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations 


The university recruits candidates for Canada Research Chair appointments in the same way as it recruits all of its full-time faculty members. All positions are open to internal and external candidates.  Canada Research Chairs are considered full-time faculty and covered by the university’s Collective Agreement with its Faculty Association.  

Canada Research Chair postings are drafted by the Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies, in consultation with the School Director and Dean of the respective academic home unit and reviewed by the university’s Human Resources department for gender-neutral languaging, accuracy, consistency, inclusion of the university’s diversity statement, and the physical accessibility of its buildings. Qualifications are distinguished into required and preferred qualifications. Internal and external applications are submitted directly to the Human Resources department and only shared with the appointed search committee.

Allocation of Chairs

When the chairs allocation is announced, the Vice-President Academic and Provost confers with the Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Faculty and College Deans to identify opportunities and constraints for the institution. Relevant factors including current or expected vacancies, equity targets, pool of potential candidates, strategic directions, areas of growth, expertise within the university’s research themes, fiscal climate, any unique challenges based on the university’s characteristics, and program development are discussed.  Consideration is given to the potential for flex moves between NSERC/CIHR/SSHRC and the implications of Tier 1 or Tier 2 designation for the chairs allocation. The Director of Research Services and Human Resources are consulted in this process.

When the senior academic administrative leadership has agreed upon an allocation recommendation, the Vice-President Academic and Provost submits the recommendation, inclusive of timeline targets, to the Senior Executive for review and approval.  


Eighteen months before the expected renewal deadline, the Director of Research Services and the Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies will meet with the chairholder to discuss the renewal. The chairholder will have three months to develop a proposal for renewal that should include his/her accomplishments and draft plan for the renewal. The proposal will be reviewed by the Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies along with the Dean of the relevant faculty or college with two months of receipt. The Vice-Provost and the Dean of the relevant faculty or college will discuss and review the university’s equity targets and review information regarding the chairholder’s accomplishments and potential plan for the renewal, strategic direction, growth, and any institutional constraints. The annual performance reports of the chairholder are reviewed, and the department of Human Resources is consulted. The Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies, then meets with the Vice-President Academic and Provost to develop a recommendation, which is then submitted to the Senior Executive by the Vice-President Academic and Provost. The decision on whether to pursue the renewal of current chairholder will be communicated to the chairholder, the Dean of the relevant faculty or college, the Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Director of Research Services at least twelve months prior to the renewal deadline.

As per the Chairs program, the university acknowledges that “The intent of Tier 2 chairs is to provide emerging researchers with support that will kick-start their careers” ( In recognition of the Canada Research Chair program’s intent that Tier 2 appointments not be approached as feeders to Tier 1 appointments, the university does not consider moving Tier 2 candidates into Tier 1 allocations. 

Loss of Chair Funding

In the event that there is a loss of one or more chair(s) as part of the allocation cycle, the Director of Research Services informs the Vice-Provost Research and Interdisciplinary Studies, who will then meet with the Vice-President Academic and Provost and Human Resources to determine the impact and possible courses of action. Factors to be considered include equity targets, strategic directions of the university, fiscal considerations, current or potential faculty vacancies, appointment status of the chairholder (probationary or continuing status); appointment rank, academic programming needs, where each chairholder is in their term (i.e., in the first term or renewal for the Tier 2, in which term for the Tier 1), and so forth.  A series of consultations ensues, including the respective Faculty Dean, the respective School Director, and the Director of Research Services. A list of possible actions, and the ramifications of each, is developed by the Vice-Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies, and provided to the Vice-President Academic and Provost. A recommendation is then made by the Vice-President Academic and Provost to the Senior Executive. The recommendation includes details regarding how the chairholder will be supported when the funding for their chair is lost. The support may include research funding, a commitment to reinstate the chair if a chair is added in the next allocation cycle, or other supports.

Level of Support

The level of support the university is able to offer to chairholders is determined after the notification of allocation and before a recommendation is submitted to the Senior Executive. The Collective Agreement contains a publicly posted salary schedule that applies to all full-time faculty including Canada Research Chairs. The same benefit package applies to all faculty. All faculty are allocated office space, a computer, phone, and business cards. As per the university’s Collective Agreement, Canada Research Chairs are considered ”special case” faculty for workload purposes. The Collective Agreement states:

24.6.e) Special Cases. It is recognized that there will be cases where Members, due to the nature of their appointment or other exceptional arrangements, will not conform to the workload distributions indicated in Article 24.6.a-d. Such special cases include, but are not limited to, Directors in research centres at the University and holders of Canada Research Chairs or other research grants that buy out a Member’s time. The Member will then retain special case status for as long as he occupies the relevant role.

Where Members who qualify as special cases are located in a School, they will neither be included nor be counted when consideration is given to the restrictions on the allocation of the research and scholarship distribution indicated in Article 24.7.a.iv, or the restrictions in the use of banked teaching overload workload units indicated in Article 24.8.b-d. Special cases are considered a neutral factor in such calculations, and thereby will not reduce the number of Members able to take the research and scholarship distribution or use banked teaching overload workload units.

Special case status requires the Dean’s approval, and will be noted in the Member’s Performance and Development Planning Form (PDP).

As with all faculty workload plans, the workplan for a chairholder is drafted by the chairholder in consultation with, and approved by, their academic School Director and Faculty Dean.

At the end of each fiscal year, the Director of Research Services gathers workload information from each of the relevant faculties and the college and undertakes a comparative review—by designated group, and field of research—of the level of institutional support (e.g., protected time for research, salary and benefits, additional research funds, office space, mentoring, administrative support, equipment, etc.) provided to all current chairholders, including measures to address systemic inequities. The Director of Research Services then submits a report to the Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies, who reviews it together with the Director of Human Resources.

Training and Development

The university seeks to follow the practices for recruitment, hiring, and retention recommended by the Canada Research Chair program ( Training and development activities related to unconscious bias, equity, diversity and inclusion for administrators and faculty involved in the recruitment and nomination processes for chair positions is mandatory. Such training seeks to ensure that individuals from the FDGs are not disadvantaged when applying to a chair position in cases where they have career gaps due to parental or health related leaves or for the care and nurturing of family members.

All members of the search committee, as well as all administrators and other faculty that might be involved in the recruitment and nomination process, are required to undertake unconscious bias training. Currently this includes: completing the CRC Bias in Peer Review training module:;   undertaking the Harvard University Implicit Association Test; reading the Unconscious Bias and its Influence on Decision making document; and training through the university’s portal, specifically   

Care is taken to ensure that Canada Research Chair Search Committees include at least two voting members from any of  the federally designated groups. The meeting of this criterion will be monitored by Human Resources.

At the initial meeting of the committee, and each subsequent meeting, discussion is undertaken to identifying potential biases and stereotypes, and micro-aggressions, and support is provided through Human Resources for committee members as they work through biases, stereotypes, micro-aggressions, and any other concerns identified. In the event that any member of the committee feels that a fellow member cannot work through any issues regarding potential biases, stereotypes, and micro-aggressions, the member of the committee will approach the Human Resources representative on the committee to discuss the concerns. If it is believed that a member cannot work through the issues, they will be replaced on the search committee. The responsibility to work with the member and with the search committee to resolve any issues, and the responsibility to replace a member of the committee in the event that the issues cannot be worked through rests with the Chair of the search committee. Search committees are provided with information regarding Royal Roads’ CRC equity targets, current representation, equity commitment and action plan, and any other relevant information.  At the outset of any recruitment all search panel members are required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that speaks to their responsibility towards confidentiality, conflict of interest and bias. 

Members of the committee are provided with advice from Human Resources and the Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies, on how to evaluate applications that include nontraditional components such as community-focused research, and Indigenous epistemology.

As with every Royal Roads University faculty search, a draft list of interview questions is created by Human Resources and submitted to the Search Committee for feedback. By consensus, a final interview guide is arrived at, which requires approval by Human Resources before it is implemented. All candidates are asked the same questions in the same order during interviews. Human Resources provides guidance about questions that may not be asked at any time during the interview process. Discussions are undertaken with the search committee in regard to accommodation considerations and key steps for making the decision-making process open and transparent. All committee members are informed of the Canada Research Chair program’s commitment to excellence and ensuring equal access to opportunities for all qualified candidates.

3) Collection of Equity and Diversity Data

Royal Roads’ processes and strategies for collecting and protecting data on the FDGs for both applicants to chair positions and successful candidates, and strategies for encouraging individuals to self-identify as a member of the FDGs are as follows:

Implementation Guidelines of RRU’s Employment Equity Program

Employment Equity Database

RRU will offer employees the opportunity to self-identify as a designated group member at various stages of their careers.  Organizational surveys and information systems will identify a composition of the RRU workforce profile that will provide the baseline data of the Employment Equity Database.

This workforce profile will be developed by collecting and maintaining information on the employment status of all employees with a specific focus on those represented by the designated groups relative to recruitment, hiring, promotion and termination.

Conducting Workforce Analysis

Ensuring ongoing accuracy of workforce analysis is based on continually collecting and maintaining data, i.e., self-identification surveys.  In light of such data, if some groups are not fairly represented in the workplace, a strategy for change shall be developed to focus on recruitment, hiring and promotion across all job categories.

Conducting an Employment Systems Review

Where the workforce analysis reveals under-representation, RRU will review its employment systems to identify if there are systemic barriers to the representation of designated group members. By reviewing employment systems, e.g., recruitment, selection, retention processes, the intent is to eliminate or modify those human resources policies and practices, whether formal or informal, shown to have or likely to have an unfavourable effect on the employment status of designated group members.

Employee representatives and representatives of designated groups will be consulted with respect to the process and content of the review.  Any recommended changes resulting from this review shall be implemented as soon as possible.  Further, new policies and practices as they are developed, shall be reviewed prior to being implemented in order to ensure that they will not create barriers to employment.

An example of the institution’s self-identification form can be found in appendix A.

4) Retention and Inclusivity

Given the small size of Royal Roads University , retention and inclusivity of chairholders are measured along with retention and inclusivity of all full-time faculty. To date, no chairholders have left the university, and the first chairholder (whose term expired) remains a full-time Professor at the university. Should chairholders have concerns about the institutional climate, equity, or any other aspect of inclusivity, they would follow the Human Resources policies that are in place for all employees, such as the Bullying and Harassment and Discrimination Procedures ( Chairholders may file grievances under the Collective Agreement’s provisions in Article 37 Grievances and Arbitration.

The individual responsible for addressing any equity concerns/complaints regarding the management of the institution’s chair allocations, or the management of concerns about equity, diversity, and inclusiveness is the Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer.


APPENDIX A: RRU Self-Identification Questionnaire

Employment Equity Program

Self-Identification Questionnaire


Royal Roads University believes that all employees should be treated fairly.  We promote employment equity in the workplace to ensure that women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities are fully represented at all levels of our organization. Our employment equity program ensures that our hiring and promotion practices are based on qualifications and ability.

As part of our employment equity program, we are collecting information about our workforce through this questionnaire. Identifying as a member of a designated group (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities) in Sections B to E will help create an accurate picture of our workforce.  We assure you that our workplace is a safe environment in which to self-identify.  You can ask for the accommodation you need in order to fulfil your work-related duties to the best of your ability.


Sections B, C, D and E—and completion of sections F, G and H is voluntary.  However, it is mandatory to complete Section A, sign in Section I, and return the questionnaire to human resources, even if you choose not to fill out any additional information.

The responses that you provide on this form will be retained for statistical purposes only; your confidentiality is protected.  We encourage you to review, update and correct information about yourself at any time.  Your information will not be used for unauthorized purposes.

A.        Name: _________________________________________

            Department/School: __________________________________

            Position: ________________________________________

            Employee number: ________________________________

            Employment status:            Full-time employee          ❒

                                                     Part-time employee         ❒

                                                     Temporary employee       ❒

B.        Gender

            Female ❒               Male ❒

After reading the descriptions in each of the next three sections, answer “Yes” if any of the following apply to you. Please note that you may self-identify in more than one group.

C.        Indigenous Peoples

            According to the Employment Equity Act, an Indigenous person is a person who is First Nations, Inuit or Métis (this includes both status and non-status Indians).

            Are you an Indigenous person?

            Yes ❒                      No ❒

D.        Visible Minorities

According to the Employment Equity Act, members of a visible minority are people in Canada (other than Indigenous peoples) who are non-white in colour or non-Caucasian in race, regardless of their place of birth or citizenship.

Examples of visible minorities include, but are not limited to:

•    Black

•    Non-white Latin American (including Indigenous people from Central and South America)

•    East Asian (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Korean)

•    South Asian/East Indian (e.g., Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, or East Indian from Guyana, Trinidad or East Africa)

•    Southeast Asian (e.g., Burmese, Cambodian, Filipino, Laotian, Thai, Vietnamese)

•    Non-white West Asian, North African or Arab (e.g., Iranian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Libyan)

•    People of mixed origin (e.g., with one parent in one of the visible minority groups listed above).

            Are you a member of a visible minority?

            Yes ❒                      No ❒

E.        Persons with Disabilities

According to the Employment Equity Act, persons with disabilities are persons who have a long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric or learning impairment and who consider themselves to be at a disadvantage in employment by reason of that impairment, or who believe that an employer or potential employer is likely to consider them to be at a disadvantage in employment because of that impairment.  This includes people whose functional limitations due to their impairment have been accommodated in their current jobs or workplaces (e.g., by the use of technical aids, changes to equipment or other working arrangements).

            Examples of disabilities include, but are not limited to:

•    Coordination or dexterity impairment

      (e.g., difficulty using hands or arms, such as grasping objects or using a keyboard)

•    Mobility impairment

      (e.g., difficulty moving from one office to another, walking long distances or using stairs)

•    Blindness or visual impairment

      (e.g., unable to see or difficulty seeing, glaucoma; however, do not include yourself if you can see well with glasses or contact lenses)

•    Speech impairment

      (unable to speak or difficulty speaking and being understood)

•    Deafness or hearing impairment

      (unable to hear or difficulty hearing)

•    Other disabilities

      (e.g., learning, developmental and other types of disabilities)

Are you a person with a disability?

            Yes ❒                      No ❒

F.         Additional Data for Accommodation Purposes

Please specify how we can accommodate you to help you participate fully in the workplace.  Note that if we implement these accommodation measures, they will not have a negative impact on your hiring, training, promotion and retention in our organization.








G.        Voluntary Employee Participation


1)      Please indicate below if you wish to have your employment equity self-identification information used for particular employment equity initiatives.

        Yes ❒              No ❒

2)    As part of our ongoing employment equity work, from time to time we ask designated group members to participate in various activities (e.g., committees, focus groups) to provide feedback on new programs.  If you agree to be contacted directly by the employment equity contact or a local human resources manager for this kind of activity, please check “Yes” below.

        Yes ❒          No ❒

H.        Employee Comments

            If you have any comments/feedback on our employment equity program, we would like to hear from you.  Rest assured, all comments will be kept confidential.  Please contact the employment equity contact, Lisa Robinson, by phone 4431 or e-mail

1. Employee Signature

Signature: __________________________________ Date: ________________________

Thank you for your participation!

Please return this form in the Confidential envelope provided to:

 Human Resources

Royal Roads University

2005 Sooke Road

Victoria, BC V9B 5Y2