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Checklist for Equity Data Collection

Key elements for better equity data collection: 

Use self-identification 

  • Equity identity must not be guessed: people must be asked to self-identify; 
  • It is important to disaggregate categories and allow respondents to select all that apply; 
  • Surveys should include an option to specify another response in order to allow members of the community to self-identify with identity groups not listed; 
  • Self-identification language is always evolving, and which groups should be included in the survey may differ depending on provincial legislation or local history; 
  • Terminology used in the survey should be made clear to respondents. Definitions of terms can be provided either within the survey itself or in an FAQ; and,  

Make sure everyone’s included 

  • Alternative formats should be made clearly available for different accessibility needs; 
  • Associations should ensure institutions consult, include, and involve community, bargaining units and other employee representatives throughout the survey process; 
  • The surveyed population should include all staff, including regular, part-time, contract and librarian academic staff as well as general staff; 
  • The opportunity to self-identify should be offered continuously, so that respondents can update their information as necessary; 
  • The opportunity to self-identify should be available at the time of recruitment. Ideally, the same survey categories used to collect equity data on the existing workforce should also be used for recruiting applicants in order to compile comparable data for staff at all stages of employment; 

Ensure the data is well managed 

  • Equity data collection should both be disaggregated and intersectional to identify where there are differences within or between sub-groups; 
  • To ensure that self-disclosure does not negatively affect individuals, data collected should be shared only in aggregation. Individual or small numbers should be suppressed; 
  • Data should be kept organised by individual record on an ongoing basis. This allows more easily facilitates intersectional analysis and allows observations to be made about the representation of equity groups at different positions, ranks, or salaries and over time; 
  • Wherever possible, surveys should be administered through the institution’s employee information system. This ensures the responses to the survey are password protected and that the data can be modified at any time by the employee.