Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Context

The Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) Secretariat has implemented an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan to respond to recommendations from the program’s 15-year evaluation. Many of the recommendations refer to Four Designated Groups (FDGs) of Chairs, namely women, Indigenous/Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minorities.

Institutions are required to develop their own equity, diversity and inclusion action plans:

All institutions with five or more chair allocations will be required to develop an equity, diversity and inclusion action plan. This plan will guide their efforts in sustaining the participation of and/or addressing the underrepresentation (based on institutions’ equity gaps) of individuals from the FDGs among their chair allocations. Institutions will be required to report publicly and to the program on the progress made in meeting their objectives on a yearly basis.

The plan must include impactful equity, diversity and inclusion objectives that will enable swift progress towards addressing the disadvantages currently experienced by individuals from the FDGs in accessing and benefiting from the program. Institutions must progressively meet these objectives in the 18 to 24 months following the implementation of the plan on December 15, 2017. This means that the objectives must be met by December 2019. The objectives must be set based on the number of chair allocations that are (or will become) available in the institution within the next 18 to 24 months.

Institutions should develop the plans in collaboration with individuals from each of the FDGs, chairholders, faculty and administrators responsible for implementing the program at the institution. Refer to the Chairs Administration Guide for more details.

Commitment Statement

Thompson Rivers University is firmly committed to the principles of employment equity and the promotion of the interests of the four designated groups under the Employment Equity program (women, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities and visible minorities). Ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion with both the Canada Research Chairs Program and the research enterprise more broadly will lead to the creation of an innovative and impactful research environment that will seize opportunities and respond to global challenges.

Toward these ends, all individuals involved with any aspect of the recruitment process for a CRC are required to undertake training on equity, diversity and inclusion, with the associated aim of limiting the impact of unconscious bias.

TRU's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan

Thompson Rivers University campus is situated on the traditional and unceded lands of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc within Secwépemc'ulucw, the traditional territory of the Secwépemc people.

Thompson Rivers University's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Program promotes diversity and fosters a culture of inclusion where all people feel valued, respected, and included across all of our differences and is a place where talented people choose to work. The goal of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is to ensure that all job applicants, faculty and staff have a fair and equitable access to employment opportunities in hiring, training and advancement. No person should be denied employment opportunities for reasons unrelated to ability. Employment decisions at the University are based on job performance, skills, knowledge and abilities relevant to specific positions.

The Employment Equity Act has identified four designated groups; Members of Racialized Communities, Indigenous Peoples, Persons with Disabilities and Women, as traditionally underrepresented in the workforce. Members of the four designated groups when compared to other segments of the labour force have experienced higher rates of unemployment or underemployment, lower workforce participation rates, earn less income and are segregated in lower or low status occupations. Thompson Rivers University complies voluntarily to Employment Equity as we work together as a campus community to fill the gaps.

We recognize that there are groups outside of the four designated groups which have historically been discriminated against in society in ways that limit their full and active participation in the workforce. An active survey conducted by the University includes sexual orientation and gender identity questions that signify the University's recognition of the historical discrimination of these groups and its commitment to a discrimination-free workplace. There currently are no national comparative data available, but the data at Thompson Rivers University will create a baseline, and data from other institutions and similar resources may also be used as a basis of comparison for statistical purposes.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion is an organizational strategy designed to build the advantage that diverse and inclusive cultures bring. We all benefit from the social and economic advantages of an inclusive culture by drawing on the skills of all people.

The Plan's strategy for raising awareness within the institution of its commitment to and the benefits of equity, diversity and inclusion within the CRCP and the broader research enterprise

In accord with TRU Policy ADM 04-1, Communication strategies and plans will be developed to:

  • Raise employee awareness about Employment Equity, the rationale for the program, and its implementation for present and future employees;
  • Provide periodic information sessions on any planned activities; and
  • Incorporate Employment Equity objectives and plans in management training, employee orientation, communication strategies and public relations activities.

A governance plan for the approval of the institutional equity, diversity and inclusion action plan as it relates to the Canada Research Chairs Program

  • The equity plan for the CRCP will be approved by the Provost and Vice-President, Academic.
  • The AVP Research and Graduate Studies and the Executive Director, Human Resources will be the administrative leads for coordinating the development of the CRCP equity plan.
  • A draft equity plan will be developed by TRU's CRC Working Group, with special attention given to best practices in training on equity, diversity and unconscious bias.
  • A draft equity plan will be developed by the CRC Working Group and shared with the Senate Research Committee, Dean's Council, TRUFA, current CRCs, and Provost's Council for feedback. Following this consultation process, the Plan will be finalized and submitted to the Provost for approval.
  • The governance plan will be reviewed by the Provost and Vice-President, Academic every three (3) years.
  • The University contact with responsibility for supporting the CRCP equity plan is assigned to the Executive Director, Human Resources.

How CRC equity, diversity and inclusion questions or concerns received by the institution are monitored and addressed, and reported to senior administration

CRC equity, diversity and inclusion questions or concerns can be directed to the attention of the Executive Director of Human Resources for prompt review. If needed, the HR department in consultation the Office of Research and Graduate Studies will undertake an investigation to clarify and, where possible, resolve any associated ongoing concerns, disputes or grievances. Action items are addressed and acted upon by all parties involved. Since Canada Research Chairs are faculty members at TRU, the Provost is ultimately responsible for ensuring the proper handling of equity and any associated disputes or grievances.

TRU makes public via the Research and Graduate Studies Website its equity targets and gaps for each of the FDGs.

All policies and procedures that govern the staffing of Canada Research Chair positions at the institution:

  • Canada Research Chairs are filled according to a Letter of Understanding contained in the TRU Faculty Association Collective Agreement, Letter of Understanding #3, and the guidelines governing CRCs as established or amended by the Federal Government. TRU's Employment and Equity Policy (ADM 04-1) ensures TRU "will promote the interests of the four designated groups under the Employment Equity Program (women, aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and visible minorities)".
  • The goal of the Employment Equity program at TRU is to establish a qualified and diverse workforce that is representative of the labour market(s) to which TRU draws its employees. TRU will ensure that no person is denied access to employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability or qualifications. This program will identify and remove systemic barriers to equality in employment for members of the designated groups. TRU will ensure that university policies, practices and procedures promote accessibility, equality and diversity, including the provision of reasonable accommodation as required for the designated groups.

A Summary of the Chair Approval Process

The Faculty or Division, in concert with the faculty council (or equivalent) and the Research Office, develops an initial proposal for the vacant chair that is aligned to TRU's Strategic Plan, the Strategic Research Plan, and the requirements of the CRC program. The Faculty or Division is the lead author responsible for preparing the proposal and demonstrating its feasibility and financial sustainability. The Research Office provides overall guidance and liaises with the CRC program. Once a proposal is prepared, it is presented by the Faculty or Division to the Research Committee of Senate for review. The Committee offers feedback to strengthen the proposal and to ensure alignment with the SRP. Following SRC review and recommendation, the revised proposal is presented to Provost Council, which makes a recommendation to the Provost on the proposed research area.

When approved by the Provost, the sponsor Faculty or Division prepares recruitment material for Human Resources, in concert with the Research Office, and on behalf of the University. The recruitment material must reference the University's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion commitment. A search committee will be convened by the Senate Research Committee, and search committee members will receive equity, diversity and inclusion training from Human Resources. Applicants for the CRC position who are members of one of the aforementioned designated groups and who wish to have their applications considered as such, may fill out a Self-Identification Form and return it with their applications.

Before beginning the interview process, the CRC Search Committee must submit a shortlist of candidates to the appropriate Dean. The shortlist submission will include:

  • The advertisement for the position
  • A statement aligning the search process with the University's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, with specific steps to be taken to achieve compliance
  • A summary of the discussion and rationale relevant to arriving at the shortlist
  • Complete files, including CVs, for applicants shortlisted.

If the shortlist submitted does not include a self-identified member of a designated group, the dossiers of all self-identified members of designated groups who have applied for the position must be included, along with a written rationale for not including a designated group member on the shortlist. As part of the University Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, the CRC Working Group is tasked with refining review process involving the area Dean, the University's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and the Provost's Office.

In accord with the CRC Program's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, TRU has been provided a target setting tool: TRU makes public the institution's CRCP utilization spreadsheet, which outlines how many chair allocations the institution has, how many are filled and by which chairholders (with their term end and start dates), type of flex moves used and which allocations are available. TRU Utilization Spreadsheet

TRU provides a web link to the advertisements of all chair position postings for external recruitment processes: These advertisements are archived and publicly available on the Research and Graduate Studies website for at least three years. In addition, TRU provides a transparency statement posted at the start of all internal retention processes, publicly advising internal and external stakeholders that a recruitment process is underway to fill a chair allocation. These statements are archived and publicly available on the website for at least three (3) years.

A link to the program's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Practices page is provided here; and a public report on the progress made in meeting the institution's objectives is filed on October 31 of each year and provided here.