Canada Research Chairs: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

By December 15, 2017, all institutions with five or more chair allocations are required to develop an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan for the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP). This action plan will guide Simon Fraser University’s efforts in sustaining the participation of and/or addressing the underrepresentation of individuals from the four designated groups (FDGs; women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and members of visible minorities) among SFU's chairholders. The action plan represents a foundational component of efforts to embed equity, diversity, and inclusion principles into SFU processes and practices within the CRC program and beyond.

The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) delivered this mandate in May of 2017, as part of its commitment to achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive research community. Requiring institutions that administer funds in partnership with the TIPS to create equity, diversity and inclusion action plans, make concerted efforts to meet equity and diversity targets, and provide inclusive and supportive environments is a critical component of this commitment.

This webpage was created to fulfill the public transparency requirements and to provide a space for SFU to share its equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives for the CRC program.

To date, we have made good progress on some of the recommendations from SFU’s CRC Action Plan such as creating standardized processes for allocating and monitoring support for Chairs, updating internal CRC Allocation Principles and Policies, creating a guide to administering CRCs at SFU, providing resources and support for CRC search committees, and advancing efforts to improve data collection across the University.

SFU is deeply committed to embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion in its policies and practices, evident in the work of the EDI Initiative, SFU’s endorsement of the Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada Charter, and preparation of a Letter of Intent to join the Dimensions Pilot program in 2019.

Simon Fraser University Commitment Statement

In accordance with the mandate from the Federal Government and the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program, Simon Fraser University (SFU) offers this commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion:

Simon Fraser University is an institution whose strength is based on our shared commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion. Diversity is an underlying principle of our Strategic Vision, which pledges SFU to “foster a culture of inclusion and mutual respect, celebrating the diversity reflected among its students, faculty staff and our community.” SFU is committed to ensuring no individual is denied access to employment opportunities for reasons unrelated to ability or qualifications. Consistent with this principle, SFU will advance the interests of underrepresented members of the work force, specifically Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, racialized persons and women; embrace gender and sexual diversity; ensure that equal opportunity is afforded to all who seek employment at the University; and treat all employees equitably. Candidates that belong to underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

View SFU’s Employment Equity Policy.

Strategy for Raising Awareness

SFU is committed to raising awareness of its commitment to equity and ensuring the university community is aware of the benefits of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the CRC Program and beyond.

  • The SFU CRC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan communications strategy is guided by SFU’s Strategic Research Plan’s identified challenge of “strengthening civil society by advancing justice, equity, and social responsibility”; CRC Program resource guide: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Best Practices for Recruitment, Hiring and Retention; and the SFU Faculty Association Salary Equity Recommendation Committee’s guiding principle “to advance equity, distributive justice, fairness and high integrity of all procedures and recommendations.”
  • SFU’s strategy to raise awareness of its commitment to equity within the institution and the benefits of equity, diversity, and inclusion with the CRC Program include:
    • creating and publicizing the work of the SFU CRC Equity Committee, whose mandate was to oversee the creation of SFU’s CRC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan;
    • communicating equity and diversity objectives of SFU’s CRC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan to all faculty, staff, and students via the Vice-President, Research (VPR) website and email correspondence to staff and faculty from the VPR Office;
    • holding information sessions for faculty and staff to learn more about SFU’s CRC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan in 2017; 
    • creation of a CRC Administration Guide to provide guidance on CRC process (internal and external), provide templates and documents for to assist CRC search committees, and information on equity requirements and best practices; and 
    • regular comunications with faculties and departments to ensure compliance with equity requirements for CRC search processes. 


To oversee the development of the Action Plan, SFU established a CRC Equity Committee comprised of members from faculty, administration, the SFU Faculty Association, and staff.

  • The objectives of the committee were to oversee the creation of all required elements of SFU’s CRC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan, which included:
    • data collection on all current Canada Research Chairholders and applicants;
    • meeting the CRC Program’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Public Accountability and Transparency Requirements; and
    • SFU’s CRC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan.
  • The committee met monthly and established a governance plan that included:
    • contracting the services of an external equity advisor;
    • appointment of a project lead to set timelines, organize meetings, manage deadlines, and liaise with equity advisory to design and create deliverables for consideration of the committee;
    • committee consensus on materials and deliverables related to SFU’s CRC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan; and
    • final approval and oversight from the Vice-President, Research and International and Vice-President, Academic, on all documentation related to this initiative.

Oversight of the CRC program at SFU, including allocation of chairs and and monitoring of equity targets, falls within the Vice-President, Research and International portfolio; final approval of chair allocations requires Executive approval.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan

Contact Information

To find out more information about the implementation of Simon Fraser University’s equity, diversity, and inclusion agenda, please contact the Associate Vice-President, Research.

Monitoring Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Concerns

A person who believes that they have experienced discrimination, harassment based on a prohibited ground of discrimination, sexual harassment, or personal harassment can direct their complaint to SFU’s Human Rights Office. Learn more about the procedures for complaints and answers to frequently asked questions.

SFU’s Associate Vice President Research, Dugan O’Neil, oversees the Canada Research Chair Program and is responsible for monitoring and responding to equity, diversity, and inclusion concerns in relation to it.  Theresa Burley, Research Project Manager, Institutional Strategic Awards, is SFU’s first point of contact for bringing such concerns forward to the Director of Institutional Strategic Awards and to the AVP Research.

SFU’s Director of Equity in Faculty Relations is responsible for:

  • receiving equity, diversity, and inclusion related complaints from academic staff to prioritize and reassign or involve other service departments such as the Human Rights Office or the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office;
  • providing conflict resolution support to affected parties and collaborating as needed with other departments and stakeholder groups such as union representatives, Human Resources, and other Faculty Relations staff;
  • working collaboratively with Safety & Risk Services to prepare formal reporting to WorkSafeBC on bullying and harassment complaints;
  • providing consultation and advice on individual workplace conflicts and complaints of bullying and harassment, including providing coaching and support on conflict resolution and investigations when needed;
  • conducting exit interviews for academic staff resigning or retiring, and developing and maintaining an impartial interview process; and
  • bringing complaints and concerns to the attention of the Executive Director of Faculty Relations and to the Vice President Academic and Provost, where appropriate.

SFU’s Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Human Resources is responsible for:

  • receiving equity, diversity, and inclusion related complaints from non-academic staff to prioritize and reassign or involve other service departments such as the Human Rights Office or the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office;
  • providing conflict resolution support, as needed;
  • bringing complaints and concerns about equity, diversity and inclusion to the attention of the Director of Labour Relations and the Associate Vice President, Human Resources where appropriate; and
  • supporting the work of SFU’s Human Resources staff in relation to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

SFU’s Special Advisor to the Provost on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion works in collaboration with Human Resources, Faculty Relations, the Office of the Vice-President Research, and others across the institution to provide support for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion.


SFU’s Equity Targets and Gaps

Policies and Procedures that Govern Staffing of Canada Research Chairs

The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program provides the University with the opportunity to recruit world-class scholars across all research disciplines. This document provides a brief description of the principles which guide the use and allocation of CRC positions at SFU.

View the policies and procedures that govern staffing of Canada Research Chairs at SFU.

Simon Fraser University Canada Research Chairs Equity Committee

The CRC Equity Committee was created in 2017 for the purpose of drafting SFU’s Equity, Diversity and Action Plan for the Canada Research Chairs Propgram. The Committee was comprised of:

Faculty Representatives: Lesley Shannon, Nathalie Sinclair
Faculty Relations: Doug Thorpe-Dorward, Catherine Stoddard
Simon Fraser University Faculty Association: Ronda Arab
Major Projects Office: Theresa Burley
External Advisor: Grace Wong Sneddon

Canada Research Chairs Program Utilization Spreadsheet

Canada Research Chairs Program: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Information

Public Reports

Current Canada Research Chairs Postings

Archived Postings for Canada Research Chairs

For further inquiries or information on this initiative, please contact Theresa Burley at

Updated: February 21, 2020