Demographics & Diversity Data Survey

We can’t take action on what we don’t know. SFU is launching a demographics and diversity data collection survey in fall 2024. The data will help meet our regulatory requirements, provides information to support equitable and accountable decision-making and measures progress towards our institutional priorities.

For more information about the initiative, please see the FAQ below. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible to respond to the survey?

SFU faculty, staff, and students will be invited to complete the survey. Our current demographic data compliance and reporting needs are primarily for these SFU constituent groups. A survey to understand inclusive excellence and belonging experiences at SFU will also be developed over the next year and the full SFU community, including contractors, alumni/retirees, post-doctoral fellows will be invited to participate in that survey.

2. What information is to be collected?

The survey will include core human rights/equity demographic questions from the most recent Canadian census and a supplemental section with additional demographic questions that are important to fulfill our reporting requirements, will help inform evidence-based decision-making and help to track progress towards a more inclusive campus community. The option not to answer any question will be added to ensure respondents have the right to opt out of answering any question at any time.

  • The use of Census Canada questions will allow for comparison with the Census to measure how well we represent the general Canadian population and to benchmark against relevant census data reports (e.g. post-secondary, education, training and learning statistics). 

  • Census questions asked will include: sex at birth, gender (captures gender identity and gender expression), activities of daily living (captures long-term disability/mobility/accessibility conditions), place of birth, ethnic/cultural origins, First Nation, Inuit and Metis status, visible/racialized minority identity, religious affiliation and belief systems.

  • The survey will also include supplementary demographic dimensions such as: primary campus affiliation, host nation membership, global Indigenous identities, sexual orientation, short-term disabilities, refugee status, caregiver status, first-generation student status, first language. 

3. When will the survey be launched?    

The survey is expected to launch in September 2024.

4. Why is it important to complete the Demographics & Diversity Data Survey?

The Demographics & Diversity Data Survey will help the institution understand the composition of our faculty, staff and student groups so that their needs can be better met. The survey is not mandatory, however, each person that completes the survey contributes data that will help make SFU a better place to learn, research, teach and work.

5. Why is this information being gathered now?

Collecting self-identified data about our SFU community helps meet our regulatory requirements, provides information to support equitable and accountable decision-making and measures progress towards our institutional priorities. 

This data will be used to inform our employment equity programming needs (GP 19), collective agreement requirements (SFUFA) and legislative reporting requirements to demonstrate SFU’s alignment with the Accessible British Columbia Act, Pay Transparency Act and other regulations and guidelines related to programs that promote equal opportunity for all in Canada. 

6. How can we be sure this information will remain within SFU and appropriate groups?

SFU takes the role of stewarding equity data seriously and understands that people and communities have experienced systemic discriminations and harm as a result of misuse of personal data. Access to the raw data will be limited to select staff on an as-needed basis. This short list is being determined and will be defined in advance of the survey launch via the Privacy Impact Asssesment process. As per Indigenous Data Sovereigntyand Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP) principles, all raw and aggregate data on Indigenous persons will be made available to SFU’s Indigenous Executive Lead and the Office for Aboriginal Peoples.  

Data security measures and additional work led by the Privacy Management Program, IT, Information Security and Office of Institutional Research and Planning will ensure data gathered through the Demographics & Diversity data survey are protected from unauthorized access, use or disclosures. 

7. How was the survey designed?

A cross-institutional Diversity Data Taskforce began working on the Diversity Data Initiative in September 2022. The taskforce included representatives of offices across SFU responsible for programs that require SFU demographics and diversity data and subject matter experts in data collection and management. Key groups were also consulted for various input throughout and will continue to be consulted up to the launch of the survey.

The taskforce included representatives from the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, Privacy Management Program, Information Technology, Human Rights Office, Institutional Strategic Awards/VP Research, Faculty Relations, Human Resources, Student Services, Office of Aboriginal Peoples, Simon Fraser Student Society, Graduate Student Society and University Communications. The SFUFA Equity Committee/Expert in microdata and ethnic diversity in Canada was also engaged to review and validate the draft survey. 

Need help?

Students, staff and faculty can access equity, diversity and inclusion supports.

Learn more