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Equity in the Appointment and Career Progress of Academic Staff


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. Excellence in post-secondary institutions can be sustained only when we actively promote social and intellectual inclusivity. Discrimination necessarily compromises the pursuit of excellence by ignoring the talents of individuals able and willing to contribute to the academic enterprise.1

Academic staff associations have an ethical and legal obligation to ensure that the agreements they negotiate do not discriminate against members.2 The removal of discriminatory provisions is insufficient, however, to overcome systemic discrimination that persists in the academy. Realizing equity requires associations to play a leadership role and negotiate proactive measures to improve the recruitment, retention, and working conditions of Indigenous and equity-seeking members.

Academic staff associations have negotiated collective agreement language to eliminate discriminatory practices and promote the recruitment, retention, and advancement of members of underrepresented groups. This bargaining advisory looks specifically at examples of collective agreement language pertaining to equity in the appointment and career progress of academic staff. It updates and complements the 2008 advisory Realizing Equity.

1 CAUT Policy Statement on Equity (2011, revised 2016).
2 Central Okanagan School District No. 23 v. Renaud, [1992] // 2 S.C.R. 970; Starzynski v. Canada Safeway Ltd., [2003] ABCA 246.

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Assessing the workplace

Equitable appointment and promotion processes

Collective agreement language aimed at increasing equity in the appointment and promotion of academic staff falls into two broad categories. Anti-discrimination measures ensure that processes, criteria, and practices do not discriminate against applicants from Indigenous and equity-seeking groups, while proactive measures actively promote the recruitment and retention of members of groups that are underrepresented within the institution or the hiring unit. Associations should negotiate both types of language.