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Canada Research Chairs: Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

McMaster’s Commitment to EDI in the Research Eco-System

The Government of Canada and the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) are committed to excellence in research and research training for the benefit of Canadians. McMaster University shares this commitment. Achieving a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative, and impactful research necessary to seize opportunities and for responding to global challenges.

For more information, please see the CRCP’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Requirements and Practices and 2019 Addendum to the 2006 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement.


Expandable List

Institutional EDI Commitment and Strategy

McMaster University is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community, where the rights of all individuals and groups are protected and all members feel safe, valued, empowered, and respected for their contributions to the shared purposes of the University: research and education excellence. Inclusion occurs when systems and structures facilitate full participation by all community members and where members are treated equitably for their contributions.

In keeping with its Statement on Building an Inclusive Community with a Shared Purpose, McMaster is committed to building a diverse community and has put in place the requisite resources and programming to enhance awareness of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). McMaster has undertaken a number of initiatives to profile and lead commitments to EDI, which relate both to the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) and the broader research enterprise.

McMaster established a new position of Associate Vice-President Equity and Inclusion (AVPEI) in 2018. Working in collaboration with Human Resources, the AVPEI plays a central role in education and awareness-raising initiatives, with particular attention to faculty.

Following the inaugural appointment of AVPEI, McMaster undertook to establish an institution-wide strategic EDI action plan. Towards Inclusive Excellence: McMaster’s EDI Strategy was unveiled in 2019, establishing a four-pillar strategic EDI framework to guide both institutional and unit-level EDI planning and implementation. An institutional Action Plan was developed with a three-year time horizon (2019 – 2022), to accomplish several strategic actions across six thematic objectives. The EDI Strategy and Action Plan are widely promoted across all areas of the university, and its and priorities are champions by all senior executives and are integrated across their portfolios – operational, academic, research, and advancement. The President’s 2021 strategic vision document profiles inclusive excellence and reinforces the strategic EDI framework and its goals.

The AVPEI leads university-wide efforts to advance strategic priorities and works closely with unit-level EDI champions to influence the entire research and educational ecosystem. The AVPEI also oversees an Equity and Inclusion Office  (EIO) which works with campus and community partners to ensure that McMaster is a place where all students, staff, and faculty are treated equitably and respectfully in all areas of campus life.

More recently, McMaster established a new position of Manager, Research Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Excellence (EDIE). This position will lead the implementation of McMaster’s equity and diversity initiatives as they pertain to research and commercialization, with particular emphasis on the University’s Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan.

Employment Equity Framework and Census

One of the pillars of the university’s EDI Strategy relates to community and compositional diversity, which is driven by McMaster’s commitment to employment equity.

To advance employment equity programming at McMaster, an Employment Equity Working Committee was assembled in the summer of 2016 to develop a centralized Employment Equity FrameworkEmployment Equity Policy and Recruitment Statement.

The Employment Equity Framework, Policy and Recruitment Statement aim to achieve four goals:

  1. To confirm McMaster’s commitment to Employment Equity and to identify, address and mitigate systemic discrimination in employment policies, practices and procedures;
  2. To establish the responsibility of each person in a position to make or influence employment decisions at McMaster University;
  3. To remedy the effects of any past discrimination through the development and implementation of Special Measures and Accommodation of differences; and,
  4. To set attainable goals and timeframes to achieve a representative and engaged workforce that reflects the diversity of the local community, and encourage understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and contributions of every person representative of the diversity of the local community.

Employment Equity Policy and Recruitment Statement

All recruitment advertisements must include the following statement:

McMaster University is located on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga Nations and, within the lands protected by the Dish With One Spoon wampum agreement. In keeping with its Statement on Building an Inclusive Community with a Shared Purpose, McMaster University strives to embody the values of respect, collaboration and diversity, and has a strong commitment to employment equity. The diversity of our workforce is at the core of our innovation and creativity and strengthens our research and teaching excellence. The University seeks qualified candidates who share our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. While all qualified candidates are invited to apply, we particularly welcome applications from women, persons with disabilities, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, members of visible minorities, and LGBTQ+ persons.

Recruitment and Selection Training and Support

Hiring Guidelines

McMaster has developed staff hiring guidelines, which detail the benefit of and need for employment equity. The McMaster Staff Hiring Guidelines consolidate the necessary staff hiring tools into one central resource to provide a better understanding of the hiring process, outline best practices in selecting candidates, and provide the resources for additional assistance. The Guidelines outline recruitment and selection processes at McMaster, including roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in the hiring process. The Guidelines also clearly speak to “recruiting for diversity” and provide education on understanding EDI at McMaster and challenging misconceptions.  They also raise awareness of unconscious assumptions and cognitive bias, explain employment laws, the Ontario Human Rights Code and the need for accommodation, and provide tools, including examples of how to provide accommodation and best practices for equitable recruiting.  The Guidelines are provided to all Faculties and Departments who are engaged in recruiting.

Faculty Hiring Policy and Handbook

In addition to the broad employment guidelines referenced above, McMaster has revised its Policy on Recruitment and Selection of Faculty Members in 2020 to further ensure faculty hiring processes embody the principles of inclusive excellence, fairness, and equity, and further encourage participation and equitable consideration of candidates from equity-deserving groups. Equity-Deserving Groups (EDGs) refer to historically and contemporarily under-represented and underserved employees in higher education. EDGs include (1) the four federally designated groups (FDGs) – Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) peoples, members of racialized communities including people of Black/African descent and diaspora, persons with disabilities, women, and particularly those in STEM fields, and (2) members of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) minoritized groups (i.e., 2SLGBTQ+ communities), who also experience workplace barriers in higher educations. The term “racialized” is used herein place of but with the same meaning as the term “visible minority”, which is defined by the government of Canada in the Employment Equity Act as persons, other than Indigenous peoples, who do not identify as Caucasian, European, and/or White in race, ethnicity, origin, and/or colourregardless of birthplace or citizenship.)

Faculty Recruitment and Selection Handbook has been developed to support the effective implementation of the Policy.  The Policy and Handbook apply to all faculty hiring processes, including those for the CRCP.

Diversity and Equity training is a key component of diverse recruitment, promotion, and retention. The Office of the Provost, Human Resource Services, and the Office of the AVPEI collaborate to deliver EDI training for staff and faculty at McMaster. All senior leaders, hiring managers, and selection committee members involved in the hiring process are expected to complete EDI training. All faculty search committee members, including personnel involved in the selection of Canada Research Chairs, are required to attend training, which addresses unconscious bias in recruitment, evaluation, and selection processes.

Equity Through Faculty Lifespan: Recruitment, Progression, and Retention

As maintaining equity and inclusion is a shared responsibility, the Office of the Provost, Human Resource Services, and the Office of the AVPEI work with senior administration to coordinate and monitor the effectiveness of EDI initiatives, not only in hiring but also for equitable and inclusive career progression, recognition and retention practices and supports across the career lifespan of faculty members. Together these units ensure a visible presence for and sustained focus on the development, implementation, and evaluation of effective recruitment and retention policies.


McMaster launched an employment equity census in 2016.  The purpose of the census was threefold:

  • To understand the current composition of our workforce including those involved in research;
  • To identify our areas of greatest priorities in terms of representation of equity-deserving groups; and
  • To track our progress in working towards an equitable workplace.

McMaster’s inaugural 2016 Employment Equity Report shared immediate and longer-term recommendations emerging from the Working Committee and presented data from the University’s first Census Report. Census data is continually being updated, and a campaign to increase response rates is launched biennially followed by the publication of a biennial Census Report.

We recognize, however, that employment equity is about more than numbers. Having a representative workforce becomes meaningful only when the environment encourages inclusivity and fosters success for all groups. Together, the goals of the EDI Strategy aim to influence personal, structural and cultural change so that the institutional infrastructure and climate support equity-deserving groups to flourish at McMaster. As stated in the Employment Equity Report, McMaster recognizes that employment equity is realized as a collection of small changes to attitudes and practices; it is, by its nature, an iterative process. It is also a shared responsibility. Working together to promote employment equity, we will succeed in developing potential, strengthening our community, and multiplying the perspectives from which to answer the most challenging questions facing our world.

The University’s Employment Equity website provides information and tools including a description of McMaster’s Employment Equity Framework, and details the process used for the employment equity census and access to training.

McMaster’s FDG Representation/Utilization and CRCP Goals

The CRCP has established representational goals (referred to as “targets” by the Tri-agency) across four federally designated groups (FDGs): Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) peoples, members of racialized communities (referred to as “visible minorities” by the federal government), women, and persons with disabilities. While members of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) minoritized groups (i.e., 2SLGBTQ+ communities) are equity-deserving groups who also experience workplace barriers in higher education, the federal government does not collect comparable population statistics for these communities.

Tri-agency targets as of May 2022 are shown on the CRCP’s Program Statistics websiteMcMaster’s CRCP utilization spreadsheet outlines how many chair allocations the University has, how many are filled and by which Chairholders (with their term start and end dates), type of flex moves used, and which allocations are available. All universities must submit to the CRCP, an annual program report against CRC FDG representation goals, for posting on the CRCP website. McMaster’s latest report submitted is the 2022 Institutional EDI Action Plan and EDI Stipend Report.

McMaster has enhanced efforts to attract and retain a diversity of high-quality researchers including CRC Chairholders. As a result of these efforts, we can report that McMaster is meeting the representational goals set by the CRCP. McMaster is committed to reflecting true equity (equality of opportunity and outcome) beyond quantitative compositional diversity goals and in qualitative measures of attitudes, practices, experiences, and climate.

McMaster has consistently met the targets set by the CRCP for the representation of racialized chairholders since the first reporting cycle in 2009 and for the representation of women among chairholders since the 2012-2014 reporting cycle. As of June 1, 2022, 34 of our CRC Chairholders identify as women, against an internal goal of at least 21 according to the CRCP representational target of 31% of institutional Chairholders, and 22 Chairholders identify as members of racialized communities, against an internal goal of at least 10 according to the CRCP representational target of 15% of institutional Chairholders. McMaster can report that the proportions of Chairholders who identify as Indigenous Peoples and those who identify as persons with disabilities meet the CRCP representational targets of 4% and 1% of Chairholders, respectively. Given the small number of Chairholders who identify as Indigenous Peoples (<5) and who identify as persons with disabilities (<5), McMaster cannot report the actual numbers to protect the identities of Chairholders per privacy legislation. McMaster recognizes that the representational targets set for Indigenous Peoples and persons with disabilities are low and that there are potential barriers and complexities associated with self-identification among these populations. McMaster is committed to employing innovative strategies, in consultation with these communities to strengthen the research community comprising CRC and other Chairholders, particularly from underrepresented FDGs.

In response to the CRCP’s requirements to meet the recently established 2029 Equity targets, McMaster developed our 2021-2029 equity target plan. The current representation of individuals from the four designated groups within active chairs of June 1, 2022, and the equity targets by Tier for December 2022 and projected targets for future deadlines can be found here.

McMaster’s CRCP EDI Action Plan

McMaster’s CRCP EDI Action Plan outlines the efforts that we have already undertaken, as well as our planned initiatives, to build a diverse and inclusive community, and encourage of the participation of members of equity-seeking groups in the CRCP.

The Development and ongoing evolution of McMaster’s CRCP EDI Action Plan includes representatives from the Office of the Vice-President Research, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the AVP Equity and Inclusion, Human Resources and the Employment Equity team, and Associate Deans Research in the Faculties. Consultation includes members of equity-seeking groups broadly and specifically those among Canada Research Chairholders.

McMaster’s President and Vice-Presidents must provide the final approval of the CRC EDI Action Plan and all future revisions, as well as the annual Institutional EDI Progress Report

Monitoring, Addressing, and Reporting Concerns Related to EDI

The Equity and Inclusion Office (EIO) administers the University’s Policy on Discrimination and Harassment and responds to concerns related to EDI through the Human Rights and Dispute Resolution (DRDR) Program, one of the services within the EIO. The HRDR Program provides confidential, complaint-driven responses to discrimination and harassment complaints. The Program is available to any member of the McMaster community. The EIO has developed a printable Guide to raising awareness of the Policy, the HRDR Program, and protocols to address and report concerns.

The EIO publishes an annual report on all harassment and discrimination consultation and complaints related to human rights grounds, which is provided to the senior management, including the President, Provost, Senate, and Board of Directors. The EIO management team regularly assesses consultations and complaints received regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion incidents and trends, as these could signal the presence of deeper organizational or cultural issues. The EIO engages relevant senior administrators to initiate university-led processes, such as a systemic review or climate study, to better understand and remediate the situation.

Archived CRCP Advertisements and Transparency Statements

Tier 1 CRC in Obesity – July 2017

Tier 1 CRC in History of Analytic Philosophy with particular attention to Bertrand Russell’s contribution to this history – October 22, 2018

Tier 2 CRCs in the Faculty of Health Sciences – November 29, 2018

Tier 2 CRC in Stem Cell Research – December 21, 2018

Tier 2 CRC in mental health using emergency retention mechanism – transparency statement – Feb 5, 2019

Tier 2 CRC in Economics – Feb 8, 2019

Tier 2 CRCs in the Faculty of Science – June 28, 2019

Tier 2 CRCs in the Faculty of Health Sciences – July 19, 2019

Tier 1 CRCs in the Faculty of Engineering (internal) – July 25, 2019

Tier 2 CRCs in the Faculty of Engineering (internal) – July 25, 2019

Tier 1 CRCs in the Faculty of Engineering (external) – July 26, 2019

Tier 2 CRCs in the Faculty of Engineering (external) – July 26, 2019

Tier 2 CRC in the Faculty of Engineering – July 20, 2020

Tier 1 CRC in the Faculty of Engineering – July 20, 2020

Tier 2 CRCs in the Faculty of Science – July 6, 2020

Tier 1 CRC in Addictions Research using emergency retention mechanism – Transparency Statement – July 29, 2020

Tier 1 CRC in Mathematical Analysis and Applications – October 7, 2020

Tier 2 CRC in the Faculty of Health Sciences – Addictions Research – October 9, 2020

Tier 1 CRC in the Faculty of Health Sciences – October 9, 2020

Tier 2 CRCs in the Faculty of Health Sciences – October 9, 2020

Tier 2 CRCs in the Faculty of Health Sciences – Data Science – December 6, 2019; revised January 28, 2020

Tier 2 CRC in the Faculty of Engineering #33473 – July 31, 2020 – reposted October 7, 2020

Tier 1 CRC in the Faculty of Health Sciences – Brain Research – December 16, 2020; last revised Feb 22, 2021

Tier 2 CRC in the Faculty of Health Sciences – Obstetrics and Gynecology – March 25, 2021

Tier 1 CRC in the Faculty of Health Sciences – Nutrition and Gastrointestinal Diseases – March 15, 2021

Tier 1 CRCs in the Faculty of Health Sciences – open only to members of four designated groups – May 4, 2021

Tier 1 CRC in Infectious Diseases Research using emergency retention mechanism – Transparency statement – June 29, 2021

Tier 2 CRC in the Faculty of Health Sciences – Indigenous Health – August 27, 2021

Tier 2 CRC in the Faculty of Humanities – December 13, 2021

Tier 2 CRC in the Faculty of Health Sciences – Skin Microbiome and Infection – April 8, 2022


Contact Information

For questions related to equity and diversity within the CRC Program:

Kathy Charters
Assistant Vice-President, Research Administration
Office of the Vice-President, Research
McMaster University
905-525-9140 Ext. 23735;

For questions related to equity and diversity within the broader McMaster community:

Sonia Anand
Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion (Acting)
Equity and Inclusion Office
McMaster University
905-525-9140 Ext. 21523; 

May-Marie Duwai-Sowa
Employment Equity Specialist
Human Resource Services, Organizational Development
McMaster University
905-525-9140 ext. 24395;