Government of Canada makes bold moves to increase Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in research

Waterloo, Ontario – Evidence clearly shows that increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research environments enhances excellence, innovation and creativity. EDI policies and practices strengthen the research community, as well as the quality, social relevance, outcomes and impacts of research. That’s why Canada is taking action to transform the research culture by removing systemic barriers in the academic research community.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, launched Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada, a pilot program inspired by the United Kingdom’s internationally-recognized Athena SWAN program. Dimensions aims to address systemic barriers, particularly those experienced by members of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, including, but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.

Minister Duncan also unveiled the Dimensions charter, which is available to all research disciplines and fields of study at all post-secondary institutions (universities, colleges, CEGEPs and polytechnics). Institutions that endorse the Dimensions charter commit to embed EDI principles in their policies, practices, action plans and culture.

As well, Minister Duncan announced an investment of $5.3 million in funding under the EDI Institutional Capacity-Building Grant program to help institutions advance their EDI goals. This first round of the grant program was open to small universities and colleges to support their efforts to create an inclusive climate reflecting Canada’s diversity in their institutions.

Quotes
"Today's launch of Dimensions, along with new grants and a robust charter, will help remove systemic barriers and improve access for everyone to equal opportunities, treatment and recognition in research. This truly is a critical and transformational step for Canadian post-secondary institutions. We know that when we bring together diverse points of view, our health, environment, communities and economy can thrive.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“When we harness the ideas and talents of everyone in the research community, we drive innovation, make our country more competitive, and all Canadians benefit. The announcement today will create more opportunities for women and underrepresented groups in research institutions across Canada, and serves as a powerful step toward building a vibrant, diverse and inclusive research community.”
– The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality

“Along with identifying and addressing barriers to EDI in our program policies and practices, the federal granting agencies are committed to working with all post-secondary institutions to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in the research community. The evidence demonstrates that taking this direction will make Canada’s research culture even more dynamic and productive.”
– Alfred LeBlanc, Vice-President, Communications, Corporate and International Affairs, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Tri-agency Champion for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

“This is truly an exciting time for the research world as doors open and the talent pool deepens. The proactive steps we are taking now will pay dividends in the future as we create knowledge, examine fresh perspectives, and learn from each other.”
– Deborah MacLatchy, President and Vice-Chancellor, Wilfrid Laurier University

Quick facts
The Canadian version of the charter and Dimensions reflect input from consultations held across Canada between August 2018 and April 2019. Post-secondary researchers and leaders, as well as community members from underrepresented groups, NGOs and government representatives took part in the discussions.

The Canadian pilot program is supported by the three federal research granting councils: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).