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UAlberta Action Plan

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1. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Objectives and Measurement Strategies

Review of Employment Systems and Internal Processes
Environmental Scan
Review of Institutional Support for Chairholders
Objectives, Indicators, and Actions

2.  Management of CRC Allocations

Allocation Management
Chairholder Support
FDG Safeguards and Protection Measures
Education, Training and Development

3.  Collection of Equity and Diversity Data

4.  Retention and Inclusivity

Workplace and Retention Initiatives
Complaint Processes
Complaints Concerning Administration of the CRC Program
Program Quality Assurance
Contact Information

5. Appendix

Example of University of Alberta Equity/Diversity Census Self-identification Form


The University of Alberta explicitly values and promotes a culture that supports, and promotes equity, human rights, respect, and accountability among faculty, staff, and students. In our inclusive community, we encourage and support individual and collaborative efforts to identify and address inequities, and we welcome and enable contributions of all voices as we engage with diverse ideas, knowledges, and perspectives in the pursuit of inclusive excellence for the public good.

The University of Alberta is working to achieve an accessible, equitable, and inclusive community of students, faculty, and staff that supports our learning environment; an environment shaped by curiosity, rigorous inquiry, respect, and a culture of human rights. We are committed to achieving equitable access and opportunities in admissions, employment, retention, and advancement; and a working, learning, and living environment free from discrimination, bullying, and harassment. It is only through such a commitment that the University of Alberta can reach its larger vision of being a space actively poised to foster intellectual curiosity, rigorous inquiry, and ingenuity.

We envision, and are committed to cultivating, a community that recognizes equity and diversity as fundamental to achieving inclusive excellence in learning, teaching, research, service, and community engagement. Our EDI Strategic Plan (to be launched in 2019) commits to proactively and iteratively identifying and addressing informal obstacles, barriers, and biases that limit equitable access and opportunities, as well as intentionally pursuing and implementing system-wide equity initiatives to embed diversity and inclusivity in all university structures, programs, policies, and practices as well as in our visual and text identities.

The University of Alberta has a long history of programming, services, and initiatives to support equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), and we recognize that there is further work to do. Since at least 1993, the university has created planning documents to address equity. Over the past year, the university developed a new institutional Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Strategic Plan, created collaboratively with a diverse group of faculty, administrators, staff, and students, including EDI scholars and advocates.

The Plan, which formally launched in February 2019, sets out institutional priorities and goals over the next four years, with special emphasis in the first year on establishing improved systems for data collection (both quantitative and qualitative) to support target setting and identify specific barriers, on developing resources to integrate EDI considerations into research and teaching, and on sustaining and enhancing training and development across the university. Recognizing that achieving EDI goals requires responsible and accountable leadership at all levels of the university, we have committed to use, evaluate, and report regularly on progress toward achieving specific, measurable targets in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The EDI Strategic Plan provides the overall framework for EDI initiatives at the University of Alberta, and guides the priorities and objectives reflected in the university’s CRC EDI Action Plan.


1. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Objectives and Measurement Strategies

Review of Employment Systems and Internal Processes

The University has undertaken several system and process reviews since 2015, which inform its environmental scan and its review of employment systems and internal processes:

  • External review of the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (2015), focusing on disclosure, reporting, training and education activities and on mandating clarity with respect to other units (e.g. Employment Equity unit in Human Resource Services);
  • External review of University employment equity programs, services, policies, and authorities (2016);
  • Review and update of the Discrimination, Harassment, and Duty to Accommodate Policy and Procedures to reflect amendments to the Alberta Human Rights Act (2017);
  • Review of processes and support services related to sexual violence and development and implementation of a Sexual Violence Policy (2017);
  • Updates to the Statement of Employment Equity (2017).

These review processes confirmed that the university’s programs and services meet or exceed its formal obligations and comply with relevant legislation and regulation. The university’s policy framework provides clear guidance concerning responsibilities for addressing discrimination and accommodation. These reviews also identified opportunities to update and improve other existing policies and for the development of an overall institutional plan for EDI. 

Recruitment and Selection Policy and Procedure Review

Informed by the reviews described above, the Office of the Provost has led a review of all recruitment and selection processes, policies and procedures at the University of Alberta. This review will be complete (including formal approval processes) by the end of 2019.  The review will ensure that the recruitment and selection processes support diversity; that selection committees have diverse composition; and that accountabilities for equity-related considerations are clearly defined. They will also prescribe EDI training for committee members. Over the long term, these changes are anticipated to increase the diversity of the university’s workforce, including among chairholders, and to contribute to improved equity and inclusiveness throughout hiring processes.

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Environmental Scan

The University of Alberta is a large, complex organization with approximately 38,000 students, 15,000 employees, 18 faculties, five campuses, 400 undergraduate programs, 500 graduate programs, 100+ institutes, and 400+ teaching and research agreements with 50 countries.

Building on more than 20 years of EDI work at the institution, in 2017 the University of Alberta established the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Scoping Group, coordinated and supported by the Provost and Vice President (Academic), co-chaired by the Deputy Provost and the Associate Vice President (Disclosure, Assurance, and Institutional Reporting). The EDI Scoping Group is a broad consultative body comprising approximately 50 faculty, staff, students, EDI service units, member associations, EDI scholars and advocates, including Indigenous persons, LGBTQ2S+ persons, women, visible minorities, and persons with disabilities. The Group has a mandate to identify and advise on opportunities, institutional priorities, and systemic barriers with respect to EDI and to develop an institutional EDI Strategic Plan. It reports regularly to the President’s Executive Committees (Operational and Strategic), and to the university community annually.

The EDI Strategic Plan was socialized across the university community and formally launched in February 2019. The plan is intended to roll out prospectively over four-year intervals, updated annually. It articulates a mission, vision, guiding principles, and sets out goals and benchmarks for the next four years; the plan is intended to improve coordination and accountability among EDI-related initiatives across the university. A corresponding annual report will be prepared each spring.

In considering current data collection processes and employment systems, the Scoping Group has identified a range of opportunities to address specific challenges. These are reflected in the EDI Strategic Plan and include the following:

  • The university collects self-reported demographic data on federally designated group (FDG) characteristics for over 5,000 full-time, operating-funded faculty and staff. This includes CRC holders, although not all have self-identified. The new EDI Strategic Plan makes specific commitments to enhanced data collection to encompass a wider set of employee categories and demographic characteristics (see Objectives, Indicators, and Actions below).  These commitments will enable more fulsome analysis of employment equity conditions, as well as more specific target setting. The new data collection instrument is currently in validity and reliability analysis and will be formally launched in mid-2019.
  • The review of Recruitment and Selection Policies and Procedures will include the requirement for mandatory training on biases in considering CVs and reference letters, systemic barriers to career progression, and identification of personal and disciplinary biases.  Currently, training on identifying personal biases is provided by Human Resource Services, and CRC selection committees (and other research award-adjudicating committees) take the CRC unconscious bias training.
    • Various other EDI -related training opportunities are available, primarily through Human Resource Services (see Education, Training, and Development below). 
  • The university is focusing on creating and supporting pathways to organizational leadership by removing barriers to career advancement and developing resources to support leadership development, encompassing graduate students, research trainees and all ranks of the professoriate. These pathways will benefit our entire community and will have particular impact on members of the FDGs. An academic leadership development plan is being built and will be formally launched in spring 2019 (a link will be added at that time). 
  • The university is providing training and capacity building activities to support the competency of leaders at all levels of the organization to model and actively cultivate a workplace that reflects EDI values.
  • Through the Centre for Teaching and Learning, as well as other services, the university will make available resources and best practice guidelines to support the incorporation of EDI into teaching and research.

The university will be implementing an institution-wide faculty and staff engagement survey, beginning with a pilot in 2018-19, to gauge the overall health of the current workplace environment and the impact that this environment may be having (either positive or negative) on the university’s ability to meet its equity, diversity, and inclusion objectives. This study will also provide a more rigorous assessment of issues faced by members of FDGs and other groups, and will inform the development of subsequent actions to address specific issues identified. A university-wide survey is planned for 2019-2020 under the oversight of the Vice-President Finance and Administration, to be followed by appropriate action planning and implementation in 2020-2021. These goals are articulated in the EDI strategic plan.

The Objectives, Indicators, and Actions section below describes specific priorities reflected in the EDI Strategic Plan, as informed by the environmental scan and review of employment systems and processes.

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Review of Institutional Support for Chairholders

At the University of Alberta, chairholder support is provided through a combination of institutional and Faculty-level resources. Institutional supports, such as salary/benefits and professional expense reimbursement, are applied in accordance with collective agreements and university policies and procedures. Faculty supports – notably protected research time, additional research funds, office and lab or research space, and administrative support – vary based on several factors, including unit level resources, size of the faculty complement (small Faculties sometimes find it difficult to offset service requirements), and Faculty policies concerning teaching release.  For example, most Faculties formally guarantee CRC holders 75% time protected for research, while others do not provide complete teaching release for chairholders.  

A comparison of salary compensation for chairholders by gender and Council is provided below:

Note: Consistent with standard University of Alberta reporting practices, comparison for SSHRC CRCs is suppressed to prevent release of personally identifiable information for categories containing <5 individuals.

Currently, comparative data on non-salary support for chairholders is not collected systematically, and robust comparison of support levels across Councils or FDG categories is not currently possible. Data for designated groups, other than women, is incomplete as active chairholders may not have self-identified; the University of Alberta expects to improve its data collection procedure in this area before the end of 2019.  

In fall of 2018, the university sought input from all Faculties concerning EDI-related challenges of chairholders and the respective Faculty generally. In most Faculties, chairholders have not reported experiencing EDI-related barriers.  However, in some cases, CRCs from under-represented groups face disproportionate requests for committee or external review service in efforts to achieve more diverse committees. These disproportionate requests can have negative impacts on their time available for research (this effect varies across Faculties and disciplines, and the university does not currently collect data on service commitments in a manner that would enable meaningful quantitative comparison). Faculties also noted the importance of supporting and recognizing forms of Indigenous and other community-engaged research in evaluating potential CRC nominations that might have implications for traditional measures of scholarly output. The university is working on data collection regarding workloads (this work is ongoing), and on building an ally network to reduce the service burden on underrepresented individuals (planned for 2019-2020). 

Beginning in 2018-19, the university is developing plans for a more rigorous exploration of possible disparities in institutional support going forward, including a regular process to collect, review, and respond to these data. Plans will be developed in collaboration with the Associate Deans (Research) for each Faculty. The CRC Allocation Committee – made up of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), the Vice-President (Research), and the Deputy Provost – and the President’s Advisory Committee for Senior Academic Appointments (PACSAA) will review the resulting data and provide specific recommendations to faculties to increase their support of incoming chairholders. 

Ultimate accountability for the effectiveness of measures to address inequities in support rests with the Provost and Vice-President (Academic).

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iv. Objectives, Indicators, and Actions

CRC Program Targets

The University’of Alberta's Institutional Strategic Plan, For the Public Good, establishes EDI as a high-level organizational priority: to “Build a diverse, inclusive community of exceptional students, faculty, and staff from Alberta, Canada, and the world.”

Adopted in 2016, For the Public Good was the product of a year of extensive consultation and reflects a shared, university-wide vision. The Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and the Vice-President (Research) are working with deans to ensure that Faculty recruitment and hiring reflect this vision. The Office of the Provost monitors hiring of academics across the university, and hiring indicators are discussed with deans individually at regular meetings. Starting in July 2019, the expectation for deans and senior administrators to formally report on their goals and achievements with respect to EDI will be incorporated into their annual evaluations (an explicit goal in the EDI Strategic Plan).

The University of Alberta is committed to meeting its equity targets and goals for the CRC program by December 2019.  The University of Alberta has set aggressive objectives using this timeline based on the number of chair allocations available (or becoming available) from December 15, 2017 to December 2019.  The university has moved to the following targets for female CRCs: 35% for CIHR, 21% for NSERC, and 45% for SSHRC.

As CRC recruitment and retention processes are largely managed at the Faculty level, the Provost and the Vice-President (Research) have communicated precise equity targets to all Faculties. All Faculties were required to submit an equity plan describing how the Faculty would allocate their CRCs, and modify their retention and recruitment activities to meet their respective equity target by December 2019 (see Management of CRC Allocations, below).

The equity targets set by CRC for members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples are set, respectively, at 15%, 4%, and 1%. The University of Alberta is committed to meeting these targets. The University of Alberta is improving its processes and strategies for collecting and protecting data on personal demographics (see Collection of Equity and Diversity Data below). Once improved data collection mechanisms are in place, the university will require Faculties to update their equity plans accordingly to ensure that these targets are met.

Objectives, Indicators and Actions

The university’s EDI Strategic Plan (launched in February 2019) identifies goals, outcomes, and deliverables across five high-level themes: Vision and Leadership; Research, Teaching and Public Service; Workforce; Students and Student Life; and Climate. The scope of Plan extends beyond the CRC program, and all of its priorities contribute to establishing an institutional environment that supports the recruitment and success of a diverse community of scholars including CRCs. These objectives, indicators and actions span four years and are intended to be reviewed annually.

In addition to the Recruitment and Selection Policy Review (described above), specific objectives for the Plan’s first two years include:

Objective: Develop tools and processes for improved data collection and target-setting

Over 2018-19 and 2019-20, the university is developing enhanced data collection instruments and mechanisms to improve its capacity to conduct robust, intersectional analysis on equity- and diversity-related issues (including among CRCs) and to inform the development of additional initiatives in subsequent years. 

Actions and Deliverables:

  • A new demographic survey for all faculty and staff (scope of data to include FDGs as well as other demographic characteristics), was developed by a team of U of A survey experts, EDI experts, and academic administrators, to replace the current data collection instrument (developed to meet Federal Contractors’ Program requirements) - and will be launched by mid-2019.
    • This new survey instrument will be specially administered to all CRC holders in early 2019 to enable reporting and target setting against all FDG categories.
  • Based on survey results, development of additional institutional targets for workforce composition - by end of 2019-20.
  • Development of a faculty and staff engagement survey and strategy, beginning with a pilot in a single Faculty in 2018-19 and continuing across the university in 2019-20.
  • Development of a survey of CRC-holders assessing inclusion and experienced barriers, to be implemented by end of 2019.


  • Demographic composition of academic and non-academic workforce (including CRC holders)
  • Chairholder-reported experience of EDI-related barriers (instrument under development - to be completed by end of 2019).

Objective: Provide enhanced resources to support best practices in teaching, research, and service

The university is working to ensure that tools and resources are available to assist Faculties, departments, administrative units, and individual researchers to incorporate EDI best practices into their work environments. Primary resources will include the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), where instructional development and supports already exist, Human Resource Services, and the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights.

Actions and Deliverables:

  • Collation of best practices for supporting EDI in teaching, research, and service (including for incorporation of EDI concerns into the conduct and dissemination of research), and development of guidelines where required - by end of 2019.
  • Launch of a web portal on EDI, providing access to resources and best practices, support for grant applications and research development, and educational tools - by mid 2019.
  • Broadened implementation of bias awareness training and education (described above).


  • Availability of best practice resources on EDI through CTL and new EDI web portal; (links to be added when ready)
  • Completion of bias awareness training by hiring committee members; faculty access to best practice resources.

Objective: Develop pathways into and through the professoriate to increase diversity at all levels

In the long term, increasing diversity in the senior professoriate - including among chairholders - requires concerted focus on developing pathways into and through the professoriate, particularly among disciplines with historic under-representation.

Actions and Deliverables:

  • Development of methodology and process to survey existing pathway programs and resources, to identify gaps as well as best practices - initiated by mid-2019.
  • Completion of a literature review on pathway programs to identify best practices for consideration at the University of Alberta - by end of 2019.
  • Implementation of pilot mentorship programs in selected Faculties/units - by end of 2020.


  • Survey results and literature review report of existing and best practices in pathway development;
  • Participation in pilot mentorship programs;
  • Inventory of existing pathway programs and resources. 

Objective: Sustain and enhance training and development on EDI and bias awareness

The university is augmenting and enhancing existing training and development programming to incorporate EDI tools and concepts into other training activities (e.g., leadership development; EDI training for committees) for faculty, staff, and those in formal leadership positions, and to build a common training framework among senior organizational leaders.

Actions and Deliverables:

  • Hold full-day bias awareness training sessions for senior leadership (vice-presidents, associate vice-presidents, vice provosts, deans, vice deans), completed in November 2018;
  • Launch of annual orientation and training for new chairs and new deans/vice-deans, including components on EDI, bias awareness, and university resources, completed in August 2018 (ongoing);
  • Overall review of Gold College, the university’s academic leadership training program, which will incorporate an EDI lens across the curriculum, in progress;
  • Implementation of bias awareness training for award adjudication committees (initiated fall 2018).


  • Participation in training and professional development activities.
  • Participant surveys and evaluations.

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Performance against CRC equity targets is monitored on an ongoing basis by the Office of the Provost, and all faculties are required to produce CRC Equity Plans indicating their strategies to achieve equity targets. The University of Alberta will report to the CRCP and the public yearly on its progress made in meeting its objectives.

Inclusion and the experience of barriers among chairholders will be monitored on an ongoing basis following the implementation of a data collection tool on experience of inclusion and belonging in 2019, as described above.

Current data on self-reported FDG characteristics among full-time, operating-funded faculty and staff are reporting in the Human Resource Services (HRS) annual EDI Report.

Overall achievement of university-wide diversity targets (for gender, visible minority (racialized), persons with disabilities, and Indigenous persons) will be monitored on a triennial basis following the implementation of the institution-wide demographic survey in 2019 and the subsequent establishment of institution-wide targets, as described above. Current targets concerning the proportion of the professoriate that is female are monitored and reported on an annual basis in the University Annual Report.

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2. Management of CRC Allocations


Recruitment processes are managed at the Faculty level, within an institutional framework. In the majority of Faculties, CRCs are in turn allocated by the Faculty to departments. This process means that department chairs usually convene hiring and selection committees to recruit potential CRC nominees. In non-departmentalized Faculties, CRC hiring and selection are managed directly by the Faculty.

Faculty- or department-level recruitments are subject to an institutional framework of processes and requirements that ensure consistency and transparency in recruitment and nomination processes. The institutional framework establishes the following conditions and requirements:

  • CRC nominations proposed by Faculties are subject to approval by the central CRC Allocation Committee, made up of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), the Vice-President (Research), and the Deputy Provost. Approval from the CRC Allocation Committee is required before a recruitment process is initiated by the hiring unit.
  • Consistent with CRC program guidelines (see CRC website for more details), the university requires an open and transparent recruitment and nomination process with special attention to ensuring a diversity of candidates.
  • Faculties must advertise all chair positions, whether internal or external competitions, according to CRC guidelines.
  • Academic appointments associated with nomination for a CRC award may not be contingent on the success of the chair nomination (positions must be back-stopped by the Faculty).
  • All Faculties are required to have an approved equity plan in place prior to commencing recruitment;
  • An Equity Advisor participates on CRC selection panels and is responsible for ensuring that all panel members understand their responsibilities with respect to EDI, as well as advising on job posting and other recruitment activities;
    • Legal and human rights advice is also provided for more targeted searches.
  • All members of CRC selection committees must complete the CRC online training module on unconscious bias (effective fall 2018);
  • Recruitments are conducted under the university’s Recruitment Policy and associated procedures, which include a statement of commitment to employment equity.

Approaches taken to ensure diverse applicant pools can vary across the university, but may include the following (non-exhaustive list): widely advertised positions, conversations to encourage individuals to apply, targeted advertising in publications that may reach FDGs, and targeted postings (sometimes for multiple CRC positions) open only to FDGs (we have had two of these so far).

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Allocation Management

The University of Alberta manages its allocation of chairs based on a number of considerations.  Whereas the equity targets are set at the institutional level, the university allocates chairs to the Faculties, and recruitment is done at the Faculty (or department) level to ensure the chairs come into a supportive environment and their expertise is well suited to the strategic research directions of the Faculty. 

The process for allocation to Faculties was revised in August 2018. The revised process allocates 90% of CRC slots to Faculties proportionately on the basis of their tri-council funding success; 10% have been withheld to be used for strategic purposes. The criteria for this 10% pool were developed collaboratively with the Faculties.

CRCs are also allocated within the distribution across the tri-councils stipulated by the CRCP. On November 2, 2017, a new distribution of regular chairs was announced by the Federal Government: 39% CIHR, 39% NSERC, and 22% SSHRC. The university has made the transition in its allocations to meet its targets communicated in summer 2018. The university will use the corridor of flexibility, as required, to meet its commitment to research excellence and equity.

In allocating chairs to Faculties, the university considers overall equity targets as well as Faculty equity plans, and some chair recruitments may be designated to be filled by females (and, in future, other FDG once targets are set). As of fall 2019 (when the new demographic data collection instrument is launched), it will be possible explicitly to determine the proportion of CRCs allocated to individuals in the other protected groups and set targets accordingly (note this still depends on voluntary self-disclosure).

Corridor of Flexibility

To strengthen research priorities and meet equity targets, the university will use the corridor of flexibility to facilitate the recruitment or retention of world-class researchers. In association with the revision of the overall allocation procedures in summer 2018, preference is given to Tier 2 CRCs and equity targets to open up new avenues of inquiry and support early career development. In transitioning to the university’s revised CRC allocations, including a reduction in the total number of chairs available, the corridor of flexibility may also be utilized to support the continuity of CRC-supported research programs within a given Faculty. Requests to utilize the corridor of flexibility may be initiated by Faculties, and decisions are made by the CRC Allocation Committee.

Chairholder Renewals

Requests for renewal are initiated by the Faculty, and decisions concerning the submission of renewals are made by the CRC Allocation Committee. The renewal of a chair, on completion of the term, is not automatic. As of summer 2018, renewals to Tier 2 CRCs will be higher priority than Tier 1 renewals, with particular emphasis on early career development of members of the FDGs. Renewals should not normally be expected for the 10% strategic pool in order to facilitate turnover to achieve diversity

The decision on whether to support a renewal nomination considers the overall Institutional allocation plan based on tri-council funding success, equity targets (including Faculty equity plans), preference to early career development, and the requirements noted on the CRC website.


Requests for advancement are initiated by the Faculty, and decisions concerning nominations are made by the CRC Allocation Committee. Advancement nomination requests are required to demonstrate a transparent review that considers research excellence, Faculty research strategy, institutional research priorities, Faculty equity plans, and institutional equity targets.

Chair Phase-Out

The University of Alberta process for determining which chairs will be phased-out when the institution loses a chair due to national reallocation will be a recalculation of distribution based on tri-council success across the Faculties, with the most timely vacancy being surrendered. The university endeavors not to disrupt individual researchers and their research programs in this process, if possible. Priority retention will be given to early career and FDG researchers, and priority research areas within constraints of distribution by council and equity targets.

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Chairholder Support

The University of Alberta promises protected time for research, competitive salary and benefits, additional research funds (especially start-up), office space, research space, mentoring, administrative support, equipment, among other factors to all chairholders.  The new institutional approach to management of CRCs and related data collection will enable superior monitoring of resources and support across all chairholders. 

As noted above, chairholder support is offered primarily at the Faculty level. At the Faculty level, chairholder support varies according to the needs of the researcher and the resources of the hiring unit.  The level of Faculty support is decided by Deans and Faculty representatives according to the availability of resources at the time of submission.  All proposed chairholder support is reviewed by the President’s Advisory Committee for Senior Academic Appointments (PACSAA) and the CRC Allocation Committee for consistency and fairness prior to submission of nominations.  

At the institutional level, the following supports are provided to all faculty members: Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) Program, salary and benefits support, as well as various benefits supporting mental and physical health, and provision of accommodations. This support is applied across all members of the university in accordance with collective agreements and university policies and procedures. 

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FDG Safeguards and Protection Measures

At the University of Alberta, research, teaching, as well as service to the university, the scholarly area, and the community are all core to our mission and understood to be implicated in, and affected by, the development of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Our faculty members are encouraged to do, and are recognized for, work that thoughtfully and rigorously incorporates or contributes to equity, diversity, and/or inclusivity (examples include the university’s annual EDI Award).  The University of Alberta is committed to having a diverse and inclusive faculty population as we know that the rich diversity of our faculty contributes to the excellence of teaching and research.

We are committed to having measures in place to ensure that no individuals are disadvantaged, including individuals from federally designated groups are not disadvantaged – for example, in negotiations related to the level of institutional support provided to them (e.g., protected time for research, salary and benefits, additional research funds, office and research space, mentoring, administrative support, equipment, etc.). Furthermore, annual performance evaluation is not to be negatively impacted by career interruptions due to parental, family, or health-related leaves. The collective agreement for faculty members outlines the entitlement and conditions of absences such as parental or health-related leaves. Our annual evaluation process includes a sophisticated consideration of merit awards (pay increases) to ensure that child-birth and parental leaves do not unfairly affect salary progression. This process was negotiated with our academic staff association. Human Resource Services (HRS) offers a “tip sheet” for academic staff considering childbirth and parental leaves. Additionally, a review template document has been developed for the use of the internal reviewers (PACSAA) and for committee chairs in evaluating CRC submissions that reflect career interruptions or other circumstances which might have affected traditional indicators of productivity.

The university’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Duty to Accommodate Policy provides additional safeguards. This policy articulates the university’s responsibility for ensuring equity in access to employment and employment conditions, and identifies resources for those experiencing discrimination or harassment (see Complaint Processes, below). In support of this policy, the university also provides ceremonial guidelines to support spiritual and ceremonial  practices. The Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights is able to receive disclosures from, and provide advice to, individuals involved in recruitment processes who may have experienced discrimination.

The University of Alberta’s Human Resource Services (HRS) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Office provides services to support the university in meeting “its commitment to fairness and merit in hiring and retention practices to achieve a diverse, respectful and inclusive working, teaching and research environment.” Trained staff in the EDI Office offer coaching, consulting, formal learning opportunities, and outreach programs to recruit and retain qualified and diverse candidates — including women, especially in non-traditional occupations, Indigenous persons, members of visible minorities, and persons with disabilities.

Additional resources and services are described in the Retention and Inclusivity section below.

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Education, Training and Development

The University of Alberta offers education, training and development activities related to personal bias, equity, diversity, and inclusion, including offerings specifically for administrators and faculty involved in the recruitment and nomination processes for CRCs (acknowledging that research has shown personal biases can have adverse, unintended and negative impacts on the overall success and career of individuals, especially those from the FDGs). All members of CRC selection/hiring committees must complete training on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Training and development are offered by the University of Alberta HRS EDI Office or online using the Federal Government unconscious bias training module. Each member of hiring or selection committees is required to self-register in one training session and to inform the committee chair when this training has been completed. Hiring units must document that all participants have completed this training in their competition files. For CRC recruitments, as of September 2018, completion of the CRC online training module on unconscious bias is mandatory. The chairs of the CRC selection committees must ensure that all members complete the training, and attest to this completion in writing to the Provost. Since 2004, the university has encouraged inclusion of an equity officer on CRC committees.

For the university community as a whole, training and development is available both through the HRS EDI Office and the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights. Trained EDI staff offer both customized and regular workshops and seminars. Topics addressed through these resources include:

  • Unconscious/Implicit Bias
  • Leadership Skills for Workplace Inclusion and Equity
  • Human Rights, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Inclusive Classrooms
  • Inclusive Work Environments
  • Accommodations
  • Preventing and Addressing Discrimination
  • Harassment and Bullying
  • Understanding and Addressing Power and Privilege in Work and Learning Contexts
  • Customized workshops can be given, on request, to hiring units at the beginning of the selection process.  Regular workshops and seminars are scheduled throughout the year for the wider university community.

A full listing and schedule of EDI training sessions through the HRS EDI Office can be found at: EDI Training.

Future objectives related to training and development are described in Section One. 

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3. Collection of Equity and Diversity Data

Currently, applicants to CRC job postings are requested to complete a questionnaire concerning their membership in one or more FDGs. The questionnaire is identified as a requirement on all job postings. Although recruitment is a decentralized function at the University of Alberta (meaning that hiring departments or Faculties manage the recruitment process themselves with oversight from the Provost’s Office), HRS assists in creating, reviewing, and advertising postings. All postings contain the university’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, the advantages of self-identification, the assurance of confidentiality, contact information (should the applicant have any questions), and a link to a form to complete.

As described above, the University of Alberta is developing a new survey instrument and mechanism to collect data on a broader set of demographic characteristics in addition to membership in FDGs. Once implemented in mid-2019, this new survey will replace the current FDG self-identification questionnaire that is administered to CRC applicants. Data collected using the new mechanism will be securely stored by Disclosure, Assurance and Institutional Research and managed under the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (OSDHR), which has established procedures for management of confidential personal information. Reporting will be coordinated through the institutional data warehouse, with processes in place to link the demographic data with any personal identifiers, to prevent easy, accidental, or inappropriate access or linking of survey responses with other identifiable personal information.

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4. Retention and Inclusivity

The University of Alberta strives to create an equitable and inclusive environment and culture for all members of the university community. In order to meet this goal, the university commits to implementing a regular assessment of institutional culture and to continuing training around EDI issues. In a strong EDI culture, the university regularly identifies and remediates areas requiring improvement for inclusivity and celebrates areas working well.  The University of Alberta is committed to the development and maintenance of this culture.

Workplace and retention initiatives

The University of Alberta endeavours to provide a supportive and inclusive workplace for all.

In working to make our university welcoming and inclusive for all, the University of Alberta has many programs, associations, offices, opportunities, and options available on an ongoing or one-time basis at both the overall institutional level and within different Faculties and units that may provide services, supports, and welcoming spaces for different individuals and groups.

The programs and initiatives described in this section are supported by a robust framework of formal policies and procedures, including:

  • Disability Management/Health Recovery Support Policy
  • Discrimination, Harassment, and Duty to Accommodate Policy
  • Duty to Accommodate Procedure
  • Ethical Conduct and Safe Disclosure Policy
  • Research and Scholarship Integrity Policy
  • Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures
  • Recruitment Policy

The university has a comprehensive array of services to identify, incorporate, encourage, and support the use of best practices in the recruitment and retention of all employees, with specific resources related to advancing employment equity. While these are too many to enumerate here, the following sampling offers a picture of the richness of our university climate.

University resources:

  • EDI is a foundational concept for a range of faculty and staff leadership programs containing components intended to develop skills related to people management, including Gold College and orientation for new deans and chairs.
  • Senior leadership at the university recently participated in a day-long workshop entitled “Beyond Catch Phrases: Leadership Toolkit for Inclusion” on November 16, 2018 (a goal in our EDI Strategic Plan). 
  • The OSDHR offers training and education services to units across the university to support awareness of human rights, discrimination, and accommodation issues and responsibilities (Training and Development). 
  • HRS regularly offers workshops on topics such as Inclusive Workplaces, Unconscious Bias, and Respect 101.
  • HRS provides immigration support, talent acquisition, accessibility, disability management, accommodation, and EDI. The HRS EDI and Talent Acquisition Offices offers coaching, consulting, and outreach programs to recruit and retain qualified diverse candidates including women( especially in non-traditional occupations), Indigenous persons, members of visible minorities, and persons with disabilities.
  • The HRS Organizational Development, Equity and Health unit supports health promotion and mental health across the university.
  • Comprehensive benefits programs and spousal employment programs reduce or eliminate barriers to the workplace are also available (for example: the Employee Family Assistance Program’s Cultural Transition Support for employees who are newcomers to Canada, and Culture-Sensitive Counselling and Aboriginal Services matching clients (graduate students and employees)) with counsellors who have an appreciation of specific cultural sensitivities. There is also a network of approved Elders, spiritual healers, and Aboriginal Treatment Facilities available to those desiring these supports.  Recruitment services, immigration consultants, accessibility services, disability management specialists, human rights advisors, faculty relations advisors, and 17 human resource partners who provide strategic advice and services to staff, supervisors, managers, senior leaders and the human resource assistants and advisors in Faculties and centrally-funded units.
  • The university’s annual EDI Week, launched in 2014, features presentations, panels and workshops, and profiles EDI leaders through the EDI Awards.
  • Student Accessibility Services provides assistance to address accessibility needs (e.g. ASL).
  • The Faculty and Staff Orientation website is a useful resource for new employees that offers guides, documentation, and a virtual place to connect. Both the regularly scheduled event and the website are powerful tools to support all employees including those from FDGs.
  • The Academic Women’s Association is a network of women faculty members that provides a forum for collaboration, information exchange, and advocacy. 
  • First People’s House provides supports to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) learners to achieve personal and academic growth.
  • The university has recently designated “Research at the Intersections of Gender” (RIG) as one of our signature areas of research and teaching, and is supporting a range of multi-disciplinary collaborative efforts to advance research and programming in this area. RIG focuses on the importance of gender in its intersections with race, class, ethnicity, religion and more. RIG highlights both the strengths of our research in this field and our commitment to this critical area of research. The research and teaching  strengths of faculty members across the university support the university’s commitments to equity, diversity and inclusion, with more than 200 faculty and staff specifically affiliated with this signature area. 

In addition, the EDI Scoping Group (described in section one) provides an ongoing mechanism for individuals or units to identify procedural or structural concerns or barriers with direct links through membership to the Provost and VP (Academic), the VP (Research), and the VP (Finance and Administration).

Faculty or Departmental Highlights - Contributing to the University of Alberta Community Climate:

  • Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) in the Faculty of Education
    • Camp fYrefly - a camp for LGBTQ2S+ youth
  • Faculty of Native Studies--the only Faculty of Native Studies in North America, offering a BA, MA and PhD in Indigenous Studies
  • Diversity in Engineering - Career and Family Planning Panel, panel offered in the Faculty of Engineering
    • DiscoverE - student-delivered initiative of the Faculty of Engineering that delivers classroom workshops, unique clubs and events, and engaging summer camps to more than 27,000 youth every year.
  • Faculty of Engineering has an Associate Dean, Outreach, focused on EDI and community engagement
  • Faculty of Arts Working Group on Indigenous Initiatives
  • Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry has an Assistant Dean of EDI, an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and a Director, Indigenous Health Division of Community Engagement, and conducted an enhanced EDI census for faculty and staff in 2017-18
  • Faculty of Education - Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research
  • School of Public HEalth - has an EDI committee of faculty, staff, and students
  • WISER and UA-WiSE — for undergraduates, graduates, and early-career female professionals in science, engineering and technology.
  • Indigenous People’s Education and Aboriginal Teacher Education Program- Faculty of Education
  • Indigenous Education Council - Faculty of Education
  • Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Research Group
  • Multi-faith prayer area - supported by leaders from multiple faith areas

Indigenous Initiatives

Although attended to through the EDI plan, in accord with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, the University of Alberta also has a number of programs and initiatives in place that support the inclusion and retention of Indigenous faculty members in particular. The university has over 50 years of history developing Indigenous scholarship and education. The university’s goal is to ensure that the University of Alberta is a welcoming and safe environment for Indigenous students, staff, faculty and community members and that programs and strategies reflect the institutional commitment to incorporating Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, and ways of knowing and being. An Indigenous Initiatives portfolio has been established in the Office of the Provost & Vice-President (Academic) to facilitate institutional collaboration and communication to support the development and implementation of programs, services and initiatives related to Indigenous engagement at the University of Alberta. The university has designated two interim institutional leads for Indigenous Initiatives – the Dean of the Faculty of Native Studies and the Assistant Dean, First Nations, Metis and Inuit Students (Dean of Students).

Specific initiatives supporting the inclusion and retention of Indigenous scholars include:

  • Development of a website on Indigenous initiatives and resources;
  • Support for Indigenous graduate students to provide tutoring to Indigenous undergrad students through First People’s House;Development and provision of Historical Trauma Training;
  • Annual networking and tri-annual town hall-style consultation events;
  • Major events such as a Building Reconciliation Forum II (2016) and an event for the signing of an MOU with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (2017);
  • Development of new administrative positions in the Office of the Provost, Dean of Students, Registrar’s Office, and Centre for Teaching and Learning;
  • Review of existing policies and procedures (including development of Ceremonial Guidelines and Community Collaboration and Research Guidelines);
  • A targeted hiring strategy to increase the number of Indigenous scholars across the university;
  • The development of the Indigenous Canada massive open online course (MOOC), completely by Indigenous Scholars - currently the most popular MOOC in Canada. 
  • Funding to Faculties to develop additional Indigenous initiatives and programming  across the Faculties.

These programs and initiatives build on a robust and longstanding academic framework of Indigenous knowledge and presence at the University of Alberta. As noted above, the University of Alberta has the only Faculty of Native Studies in North America, (now 30 years old); a heavily enrolled Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): “Indigenous Canada” that focuses on Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada today through highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations; strong programs in Aboriginal Teacher Education in the Faculty of Education; strengths in decolonial and anti-colonial research throughout the Faculty of Arts, and a longstanding program in Indigenous language revitalization (for example CILLDI, Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute, founded in 2000) that combines research and work with community partners, to name some highly significant examples.

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Currently, the University of Alberta monitors its achievement of a supportive and inclusive workplace through the following mechanisms:

  • Annual report by the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (OSDHR), which tracks disclosure and complaint numbers and trends and identifies qualitative issues. This report is submitted to the university senior leadership and to its Board of Governors via relevant subcommittees.
  • HRS Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report - report of diversity and EDI efforts by HRS for faculty and staff.
  • Decanal review processes, which provide the opportunity for qualitative input by faculty members concerning the workplace climate.
  • Qualitative reporting of issues and concerns to members of senior leadership and/or to the EDI Scoping Group.
  • Regular exit surveys for departing faculty members, including chairholders. These are completed, for the most part, by Faculties.  Alternatively, all exiting faculty members can request to complete a survey by contacting HRS directly. 

Going forward, the University of Alberta is developing the following mechanisms for enhanced monitoring and reporting: 

  1. As described in Section One, the university is developing a faculty and staff engagement survey, to be piloted in 2018-19 and implemented across the university in 2019-20.
  2. A goal in the EDI Strategic Plan is for Senior Administrators to include reporting on and commitment to EDI initiatives in their annual evaluations, beginning in 2019.
  3. The university is also developing an online tool to administer to CRC holders to assess their perceived experience of inclusion, belonging, and barriers. The data from this assessment will be managed and reviewed, in confidence, by the Office of Human Rights and Safe Disclosure (OSDHR). The OSDHR will review the data and highlight areas of concern or necessary intervention to the Office of the Provost. Where the OSDHR sees specific individual level risks, it will follow its established procedures for connecting with the individual and providing direction to the Office of the Provost if targeted actions are required. This assessment will be in place in time for the 2019-20 annual reporting period at the University of Alberta, which is June to August depending on the faculty.

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Complaint Processes

CRC holders who have concerns in relation to equity issues, or other breaches of policy, have a number of reporting options available to them.

The university has processes in place for both complaints and confidential disclosures, which are an important resource to those experiencing discrimination-related issues but not wishing to make formal complaints.

Complaint Processes


The university has well established complaints (and disclosures) procedures. Complaints can be registered through numerous offices and individuals, including Chairs, Deans, and Human Resources, either though the office of Faculty and Staff Relations and/or Human Resource Services. These offices will work with the complainant and the lead administrator to resolve the issue. In those instances where the issue cannot be resolved in this manner, the complaint is handled through formal processes described in the collective agreements.

Faculty and Staff Complaints

The University of Alberta’s Discrimination, Harassment and Duty to Accommodate Policy and the Sexual Violence Policy (and their respective procedures) have clear processes for dealing with alleged incidents of discrimination, harassment, failure to accommodate, or sexual violence.  These complaints are treated in a prompt, impartial and confidential manner and are taken seriously by all members of the university community.

Complaint Processes

The various collective agreements that exist for staff and faculty (including CRC chairholders) guide the procedures for lodging complaints. Formal complaints are investigated following established process as defined within the collective agreements and if substantiated, may result in formal action taken against the respondent(s) up to and including termination or informal actions including coaching, mediation, counselling or other measures necessary to resolve the complaint.

Bad Faith or Vexatious Complaints

The University of Alberta may take disciplinary action should allegations of discrimination or harassment be frivolous, fraudulent, or vexatious. Submitting a complaint in good faith (i.e., valid complaint), even when the complaint cannot be proven, is not a violation of this policy.

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Complaints concerning administration of the CRC program

The Deputy Provost is responsible to review all complaints or concerns related to the CRC program. These include:

  • Complaints made using the mechanisms described above;
  • Concerns raised by deans or Faculty officials concerning program administration or chair allocations;
  • Concerns or other issues identified, formally or informally, through the university’s internal nomination processes.

Complaints or concerns are considered in light of Faculty equity plans, CRC campus allocations, CRC guidelines, and CRC requirements, among other benchmarks within the university. The complete analysis is reviewed by the CRC Allocation Committee, which determines the appropriate response. If required (e.g. in the case of apparent misconduct or violation of a collective agreement), complaints may also be brought to the attention of other units, as described in the above section. The Deputy Provost is responsible for ensuring appropriate communication with complainants consistent with university policies.  If a complaint results in substantive Faculty-wide changes to CRC allocation, the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) will communicate these changes appropriately and ensure their implementation.

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Disclosure Services

The Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (OSDHR) provides confidential, neutral, and safe disclosure services for all members of the university community. Faculty, staff, and students are welcome to discuss concerns (in confidence) as they relate to equity issues and extending to any concerns regarding possible wrongdoing or breach of policy. OSDHR staff will provide information and guidance on the various processes and options available to an individual making a disclosure and will work with them to determine the next steps to best address their concerns. Disclosures can also be shared with any administrator, which is likely to follow the same process described above.

All members of the University of Alberta community, including CRC chairholders, are welcome to make an appointment to meet with an advisor. CRC chairholders can contact the OSDHR via email, telephone, in person or through the online disclosure service (which enables anonymous disclosures).

For more information or to make a disclosure, individuals would contact OSDHR by email at or telephone at 780-492-7478. Alternatively, they may file an online report using the online reporting tool

It is important to note that making a disclosure to an OSDHR advisor does not automatically trigger an investigation nor does it comprise a formal complaint.

Public Interest Disclosure

Alberta’s Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act [PIDA] facilitates the disclosure and investigation of significant and serious matters in or relating to departments, public entities or offices of the Legislature, that an employee believes may be unlawful, dangerous to the public or injurious to the public interest. Further, it protects employees who make those disclosures, and it manages, investigates and makes recommendations respecting disclosures of wrongdoings and reprisals. The PIDA is intended to promote public confidence in the administration of departments, public entities and offices of the Legislature, and any other purpose prescribed in the regulations.

The Office of Safe Disclosure & Human Rights is able to help guide individuals through the process. All Disclosure Services staff members take the necessary measures to ensure that the identity of those raising allegations, and of those against whom such allegations are made, is kept confidential. Confidentiality, however, is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP). Confidentiality may be compromised as a result of subsequent litigation.

Communication of Disclosure and Complaint Processes to Chairholders

Chairholders are informed of the availability of disclosure and complaint processes through the university website as well as through presentations and outreach sessions delivered across the university. Beginning in 2019, the OSDHR will also individually contact all chairholders to provide information on complaint mechanisms.

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Program Quality Assurance

The Deputy Provost, together with the Vice Provost (Programs), serve as the institutional lead on the University of Alberta’s Quality Assurance process, legislated by the Campus Alberta Quality Council (CAQC) The university seeks to maintain the highest educational and research standards. In this way, the university has set out a scheduled review of its various educational and research programs according to the guidelines of CAQC, the President, and the Provost and Vice-President (Academic). All programs are reviewed on a five- to seven-year cycle. Specifically related to the CRCP, a university-initiated Faculty-level review, the President’s Visiting Committee (PVC), focuses on the quality, innovativeness, research impact and competitiveness of faculties. PVCs also assess future plans for research programs and activities through self-study, external review (by global experts and internal representatives), and unit response. The outcome of a PVC will serve to increase the research quality and impact of the research unit. The University of Alberta has added specific questions to the legislated reviews focusing on Indigenous Initiatives and on EDI-related initiatives, at the program and PVC review levels.

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Contact Information

At the University of Alberta, the Deputy Provost is responsible for addressing any equity concerns/complaints regarding the management of the institution’s chair allocations. Contact information for the Deputy Provost is:

Deputy Provost
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
2-40D South Academic Building
Edmonton, AB 
Canada T6G 2G7
Phone:  780-492-2677

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5. Appendix

Example of University of Alberta Equity/Diversity Census self-identification form

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