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Bargaining and Collective Agreement Language for Equity Data

Several collective agreements require their institution to collect demographic information about the workforce. Collective agreements can specify that data should be collected through a self-identification process, how frequently this should occur, and specify the survey population and equity-seeking groups. 

The York University Faculty Association (YUFA) and CUPE 3903 each negotiated collective agreement 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 agreed to revise the self-identification survey to allow members to self-identify with the visible minority sub-categories defined in the Canadian census in order to obtain more complete information on the representation of members of racialized groups.3 

Collective agreements can also require institutions to report this information to the association. For example, Article 24 of the Queen’s University Faculty Association’s collective agreement requires data collection, monitoring and reporting as follows:  

24.4     Data Collection, Monitoring and Reporting 

24.4.1  When notified that an Appointment Committee is commencing a search process under this Agreement, the Equity Office will provide an updated report of the number of faculty Members who have self-identified as Aboriginal peoples, persons with a disability, visible minorities and women in the Unit to the Appointments Committee member designated as the Equity Representative pursuant to Article 24.2.2. The report will also identify which Designated Groups are under-represented (using the diversity of the populations of Canada as the benchmark) so that Committees may comply with Articles 24.3.3 through 24.3.4. 

24.4.2  The Committee’s Equity Representative shall have explicit responsibility for the Committee adhering to the rules and expected practices that assure equity, data collection, and submitting requisite information to the Equity Office. 

24.4.3  The form of data collection and reporting on process of Appointments Committees for Faculty, Librarian and Archivist positions, or on Personnel Committees (at each stage) shall be agreed upon by the Parties within six (6) months following ratification of this Agreement, but should be detailed enough to allow a monitoring function by the Parties. 

24.4.4  The Equity Office shall monitor the progress made in employment equity in the Bargaining Unit and report its findings every three years to the Parties. The report of the Equity Office will document the progress made in meeting the goals of Article 24.1 and Article 9. The JCAA shall review the report of the Equity Office and shall (i) discuss means for improving employment equity, and (ii) report any recommendations for improving employment equity to the Council on Employment Equity, the Deans of Faculties, and the Senate.

Data collected by the institution and shared with the association should document not only representation but other aspects of career progress. For example, the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers receives such information through its Employment Equity Committee: 

Employment Equity Committee 

51A.02  Within twenty (20) days of the signing of this Agreement, an Employment Equity Committee shall be established. The Joint Committee shall consist of two (2) co-chairs, one (1) appointed by each party, in addition to two (2) other persons appointed by the University of New Brunswick and two (2) other persons appointed by the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers. At least one (1) of the members appointed by each body shall be a member of one (1) of the designated employment equity groups. The Committee shall normally meet no less than three (3) times each term. 

51A.03  The Employment Equity Committee shall, in part, serve as the vehicle by which discussions between the Parties concerning the development, implementation and monitoring of the Federal Contractors Program on Employment Equity are carried out. This would include advice on the design and content of the data bases. 

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).

Some associations have had success in setting up committees to establish access to equity data. For example, the Trent University Faculty Association (TUFA) negotiated a Memorandum of Agreement as an Appendix to the Collective Agreement that references data requirements under the Dimensions Charter: 

APPENDIX W: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion  

Whereas the University is a signatory of the Dimensions Charter, and has committed to the principles therein;  

Whereas the University has established a Senate Committee on Indigenous Education to advance indigenization at the University;  

Whereas, the Parties wish to affirm their commitment to the goal of advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion; and,  

Whereas, consultation of the Employer with the TUFA membership will be required to formulate plans for achieving this goal  

Now, Therefore, the parties agree:  

Joint Committee shall establish a committee, which will determine a procedure for this consultation. Following the consultation process, the Sub-Committee will make recommendations to the Provost on how to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion within the faculty ranks. In particular, the Sub-committee is directed to consider the following areas:  

a. a review of recruitment and hiring practices;  

b. workplace improvements that contribute to an environment of inclusion as well as one free of bias, harassment and discrimination;  

c. recommendations for the development of tools, training, support and resources to help all members achieve EDI goals;  

d. mentorship initiatives to eliminate inequities and obstacles faced by members;  

The Sub-committee’s final report shall be delivered to the Provost within twenty-four months of the ratification of this agreement.  

Upon review of the report, the Provost shall provide a response to the review to be shared with the Joint Committee.

If the employer refuses to share the data with the association, the association could file a grievance.  The Royal Roads University Faculty Association (RRUFA) did file a grievance, however, the Board found that privacy legislation did not prohibit the employer from disclosing the information to the union but rejected the union’s argument that it required the information to fulfill its statutory obligation to fairly and effectively represent its members in collective bargaining.  “If the Union wishes to assert a right to its members' demographic information for its own research purposes, or desires copies of all hiring documents provided to employees, these are rights that can be obtained through bargaining.” 

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.7 


3 Memorandum of Settlement for a Renewal Collective Agreement between York University and the York University Faculty Association. February 9, 2016. Tentative-Agreement-Feb-9-2016.pdf (d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.ne 

4 Collective Agreement between Queen’s University Faculty Association and the Queen’s University at Kingston. May 1, 2019 – April 30, 2022. QUFA CA 2019-22 clean Aug 30 2021 for web.pdf (queensu.ca)

5  Collective Agreement between the University of New Brunswick and the University of New Brunswick Teachers. July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2020. https://www.aunbt.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/aunbtftca20162020.pdf

6 Memorandum of Agreement, City of Peterborough, June 27, 2019. 

7 CAUT Bargaining Advisory on The Provision of Information to the Association, April 2016.