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CAUT Policy Statement

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is committed to securing equity for members of marginalized groups disproportionately excluded from full participation in the academy. Such groups include but are not limited to women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, or 2-spirited, and racialized persons. The commitment to equity begins with the acknowledgement of inequity and demands proactive redress for the effects of systemic discrimination1.

In the post-secondary education environment, systemic discrimination has manifested itself in barriers to access, employment, governance, inclusion, respect, and acceptance. The result has been that particular forms of knowledge production, dissemination and pedagogy have been privileged over others, a practice that has limited the scope of academic freedom and scholarship.

The goal of equity is to achieve inclusiveness and social and economic justice through recognition, respect, numerical representation, accountability, responsibility and the development of balanced, healthy, and harmonious working environments.

CAUT recognizes the importance of Aboriginal perspectives that see equity as a continuing struggle to achieve and maintain balance between living things. Equity for Aboriginal (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) peoples requires recognition of their distinct Aboriginal and treaty rights, as well as historical injustices which have resulted from longstanding Canadian colonial practices.

When assessing scholarship for career decisions, recognition must be given to different and diverse experiences of marginalized groups. Diverse substantive contributions to knowledge must be welcomed in the university or college. Diversity demands representation of difference in terms of vision, values, cultural mores, lived experience, methodologies, and epistemologies in critical analysis.

The attainment of equity requires vigilant monitoring and action to address restrictions to the realization of full participation of all members of the academy. An inclusive university or college is one that is active in eliminating these restrictions and promotes collegial governance and the full democratic participation and academic freedom of all its members, both regular and contract academic staff. Such restrictions include systemic discrimination, employment and education inequities, lack of accommodation, and institutional structures, policies, and practices that perpetuate systemic discrimination and may enable a climate of hostility or other adverse effects.

Realizing equity is both an individual and a collective responsibility. CAUT commits to providing leadership in the work of combating systemic discrimination, removing barriers, and promoting inclusivity.

Academic staff associations should take a leadership role in the realization of equity by negotiating equity provisions in agreements and by promoting equity within the association and its governance structure2. Success requires openness, transparency, and accountability in all aspects of institutional life including but not limited to anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, employment equity, accommodation, and salary equity.

Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2018.

1 In [para. 34] in C.N.R. v. Canada (Human Rights Commission), [1987] 1 S.C.R. 1114.
2 This could include a position on the Association Executive Committee and/or the creation of an association committee or caucus related to Equity.