Back to top

Equity Data

A key barrier to the creation and monitoring of equitable appointment and advancement processes is a lack of information and analysis about the composition of the workforce. While many institutions make some efforts to collect information on representation of the four federally-designated employment groups4 (women, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples, and people with disabilities), and some go beyond these categories, to include LGBTTQ+ or disaggregated racialized groups, for example, not all institutions make this information available to academic staff associations.

Associations facing resistance to sharing data can take advice and examples from other institutions in the CAUT Bargaining Advisory, The Provision of Information to the Association.5 Associations can also point to a general trend toward increasing transparency on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Universities Canada has called on member institutions to collect and make public data relating to EDI.6 Institutions that participate in the Federal Contractors’ Program (FCP) are required to collect data on the four designated groups. At least 50 institutions have participated in the FCP in the last decade.7 Similarly, the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program requires institutions to have an EDI Action Plan and collect data on the four designated groups and LGBTTQ+.8 As well, the Federal Dimensions Program, launched in May 2019, will support data collection. Many institutions have endorsed the Dimensions Charter, which states:

Institutions require qualitative and quantitative data to measure, monitor, understand and publicly report on challenges and progress made. The analysis of the data should inform a comprehensive, in-depth, intersectional understanding of the contexts, manifestations and experiences that result from inequities, underrepresentation and exclusion among all post-secondary community members.9

Associations should negotiate access to disaggregated and intersectional equity data on the four federally designated groups, LGBTTQ+ and provincially designated groups, if any. This information should be provided by rank, subject taught, and year of appointment, as this will allow analysis of representation, compensation, working conditions, and promotions.

At York University, the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) and CUPE 3903 each negotiated provisions to include LGBTQ2 as an equity-seeking group and collaborated to develop related questions for the university’s self-identification survey. YUFA and the employer also agreed10 to revise the self-identification survey to allow members to self-identify with the visible minority sub-categories defined in the Canadian census11 in order to obtain more complete information on the representation of members of racialized groups.

Data collected by the institution and shared with the association should address not only representation, but also other aspects of career progress. The Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers (AUNBT) receives such information through its Employment Equity Committee:

51A.04 The Employment Equity Committee shall carry out an analysis, and report annually by December 1, on the status of all designated groups. Such a report shall include but is not limited to the number of persons in each of the designated groups who:

(a) were appointed to positions within the bargaining unit, and where the candidate has indicated a designated group:
(i) those who applied for positions in the bargaining unit;
(ii) those included on short lists of suitable candidates;
(b) were considered for probationary reappointment;
(c) were considered for promotion;
(d) were considered for tenure;
(e) were considered for sabbatical leave;
(f) were successful in considerations (b) – (e).12

The disclosure of personal information about individual members and job applicants, including demographic information, may be subject to privacy legislation. Individual privacy can be protected by suppression of counts less than five, as is done in the CRC program. However, disclosure of this information to the association may be permitted where a collective agreement requires it, where the information is necessary for the association to ensure that the employer is complying with the collective agreement, or where the information is necessary for collective bargaining.13 Associations should seek legal advice if the employer asserts that privacy legislation prohibits the disclosure of demographic information or if they have questions about privacy legislation in their jurisdiction.

Because self-identification surveys are voluntary and the quality of data may be compromised by low participation rates, associations should also educate their members on the purpose of the surveys and encourage participation.

4 Canada Research Chairs Institutional Public Accountability Web Pages.
5 CAUT Bargaining Advisory on The Provision of Information to the Association, April 2016.
6 Universities Canada. (2017). Inclusive Excellence Action Plan.
7 See Appendix 1 for list of FCP institutions 2010-2018.
8 Participating institutions in the CRC Program.
9 National Science and Engineering Research Council. Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada.
10 Memorandum of Settlement for a Renewal Collective Agreement between York University and the York University Faculty Association, February 9, 2016. Retrieved on January 16, 2018.
11 The visible minority variable in the 2016 census includes “'persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.” The categories for the visible minority variable in 2016 were South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean, Japanese, Visible minority, n.i.e. ('n.i.e.' means 'not included elsewhere'), Multiple visible minorities and Not a visible minority. Statistics Canada. Visible Minority and Population Group Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2016. October 25, 2017. Retrieved on January 16, 2018.
12 Collective Agreement between the University of New Brunswick and the University of New Brunswick Teachers – RAS (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2020).
13 In Royal Roads University v Royal Roads University Faculty Association, 2018 CanLII 88451 (BC LRB), <>, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board rejected the union’s argument that it required appointment letters and demographic information including age and gender of its members in order to fulfill its statutory obligation to fairly and effectively represent its members in collective bargaining. However, the Board also held that the union could obtain rights to this information in bargaining. The British Columbia Court of Appeal in Canadian Office and Professional Employees' Union, Local 378 v. Coast Mountain Bus Company Ltd., 2005 BCCA 604 (CanLII), and the Court of Appeal of Saskatchewan in Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology v Saskatchewan Government, 2013 SKCA 8 (CanLII), <> each found that collective agreement articles requiring disclosure of information about job applicants to the union did not violate privacy legislation because of statutory exceptions permitting information to be disclosed for uses consistent with the purpose for which the information was collected. In Quebec, personal information may be disclosed “if the information is necessary for the carrying out of a collective agreement, order, directive or regulation establishing conditions of employment.” Other jurisdictions have similar provisions.

< home  //  next >