Koi Fish

Public accountability - Canada Research Chairs

EDI Commitment Statement

As highlighted in the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan, VIU is firmly committed to ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion within the Canada Research Chairs program.  This statement expresses our ongoing commitment to fostering a campus-wide culture where all people feel valued, respected and included. VIU is a values-based institution and our core values include several that underpin equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI): respect, engagement, diversity and sustainability and wellbeing.  These overarching values guide and direct our approaches to creating an inclusive and diverse environment.

In accordance with our equity, diversity and inclusion priorities, we are committed to ensuring that all Canada Research Chair applicants have fair and equitable access to opportunities throughout hiring, retention and advancement. Racialized persons/persons of colour, Indigenous Peoples, Persons with Disabilities and Women have traditionally and are currently underrepresented in the Canadian workforce.  VIU acknowledges that strategies are necessary to ensure that researchers who are members of these groups are better represented among nominations for Canada Research Chair positions.

Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is central to our strategic documents and established practices, including but not limited to the following:

  • Our Academic, Strategic Research, and People Plans include a deep commitment to the founding peoples on whose traditional territories we operate (the Snuneymuxw, Tla’amin, and Quw’utsun First Nations) and recognition that “diversity of [VIU’s] people is a strength.” We also have made a deep commitment to advancing truth and reconciliation. VIU has one of the highest percentages of First Nations students in Canada and was the first university in BC to waive tuition for adults that have spent time in foster care. Our Associate Registrar for Admissions and Registration has worked with all programs to identify a quota of seats that are offered to Indigenous applicants meeting the requirements for admission as a priority. This includes graduate programs as well as undergraduate programs.
  • Our Academic Plan states: “we value human diversity in all its dimensions and are committed to achieving and ensuring learning and working environments that are equitable, diverse and inclusive.”
  • VIU’s first ever VIU People Plan, launched in 2019, enshrines this institutional commitment. One of its 5 “Invitations for Action” aims to “Foster Diversity, Fairness and Truth Reconciliation.” The People Plan was designed based entirely on feedback from VIU employees (staff and faculty) who clearly stated that more needs to be undertaken in this area.
  • Our Diversity, Equity and Human Rights Office promotes equity, diversity and inclusion through outreach, coaching and tailored training programmes for departments and faculties on request, as well as ongoing management of grievances
  • VIU welcomes a diverse group of international students from over 90 different countries, representing approximately 22% of our student body. The Faculty of International Education, which supports these students, routinely runs events for the VIU community to enhance cross cultural understanding and celebrate institutional diversity.
  • As of 2019, we have signed on to Universities Canada‘s “Inclusive Excellence Principles,” and the “Dimensions Charter,” to work in close collaboration with other universities in sharing best practices for advancing EDI. With these commitments, we are currently developing a campus-wide EDI action plan which is based on VIU-specific disaggregated data, focusing on reviewing and modifying policies and practices, raising awareness and education on EDI, and demonstrating progress in the inclusion of under-represented groups into our campus community of students and employees.
  • From 2018, we established a core EDI staff team comprised of:  EDI Advisor, EDI Policy Analyst, Post-Doc Researcher and a student assistant. This core team operates under the guidance of the EDI Working Group, comprised of both academic and administrative leaders, largely from under-represented groups.

Through the above strategic plans and our established practices, VIU’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion will support our efforts to attract and retain the best talent, increase the diversity of our workplace and contribute to the creation of a world-class research and scholarship culture.

While we have made progress, we will continue to update and enhance provisions for greater equity, diversity and inclusion.

Awareness Strategy

Strategy Statement for Raising Awareness of VIU’s Commitments and the Benefits of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within the Canada Research Chairs Program and Broader Research Enterprise

As part of our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) and the broader research enterprise we will continue to communicate VIU’s guiding values, and the benefits of equity, diversity and inclusion.

We will do this by:

  1. Communicating the benefits of EDI through website presence and community emails from the Provost and the President.
  2. Monitoring adherence to well defined allocation, search and recruitment processes and will publish and communicate our progress in diversifying our CRC population.
  3. Incorporating reporting on equity, diversity and inclusion activities by in our annual reporting cycle to re-inforce awareness among academic leaders of the strategic importance to the institution of EDI.
  4. Providing EDI training to all members of CRC-related committees, including training on unconscious bias, as well as ensuring the participation of an EDI Representative on these committees.
  5. Providing professional development training opportunities to all staff and students on topics related to EDI, including basic EDI concepts, micro-aggressions and allyship.

Governance Plan 

Vancouver Island University has approved an EDI Plan in September 2021. The plan is being finalized for public release and will be added to this site by December 15, 2021

This plan was reviewed by:

  1. The EDI working group
  2. the President's Committee for EDI
  3. President's Council
  4. Senate
  5. the Board of Governors

The EDI plan was approved by the Senior Management Team. The EDI Steering Committee provides oversight and accountability for implementation of VIU's EDI Plan.

Terms of Reference Steering Committee

Contact information

The following individuals are responsible for implementing VIU’s EDI agenda, and can answer any questions or concerns:

Monique McKay, Director, Equity, Diversity and Human Rights

Vancouver Island University
Building 300, Room 100B


How Concerns Are Received

VIU Community Members with EDI concerns have access to numerous reporting avenues within the institution. VIU receives these concerns primarily through its Office of Diversity, Equity and Human Rights (DEHR). The DEHR Office administers VIU’s Personal Harassment, Human Rights and Sexual Misconduct policies and procedures. The DEHR also works closely with Accessibility Services on matters relating to student accommodation requests. Differently abled faculty and administrative employees make accommodation requests directly or through management, to Human Resources.

Members of the VIU community can access the DEHR on a walk-in basis or can raise concerns by contacting the DEHR by email.  Students are made aware of the DEHR as a part of their orientation at the beginning of the academic year. Employees are made aware of the DEHR as part of their orientation on appointment.

Faculty with EDI concerns are invited to request that the DEHR attend the class and provide recommendations on EDI best practices.  The DEHR is also empowered to conduct audits in any department of the institution. These audits are initiated in cases where the DEHR observers an unusual number of complaints from a particular department, or in response to departmental request in response to concerns raised to the department by students, faculty or staff.

How Concerns Are Monitored and Addressed

The DEHR oversees VIU’s Human Rights, Personal Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures. These policies and procedures providing reporting and complaint mechanisms to respond to conduct that ranges from rude or inappropriate behavior and micro-aggressions to racism and discrimination. The DEHR’s response to concerns raised by VIU community members is proportional to the nature and severity of the conduct and considers the desired outcome of the complainant. The DEHR responds to concerns in a variety of ways, from receiving and investigating formal complaints to providing education or mediation for less formal concerns. The DEHR addresses all inquiries in a trauma informed and culturally appropriate fashion that honors and respects complainants’ agency and privacy.

Where the DEHR has conducted an audit of a specific group or department within VIU, the underlying source of concern are addressed through preventive measures to restore the learning or working environment, including reconfiguring working groups, altering levels of contact and addressing communication or chain of command issues. Targeted education sessions, mediation and interpersonal coaching are also offered by the DEHR.

Formal and Informal complaints to the DEHR Office are monitored by way of ongoing contact between the parties and working groups involved and the Director, DEHR. An Investigation Manager is assigned o to each formal investigation matter. The Investigation Manager oversees the investigation, supports parties and witnesses by providing information and resources, and monitors the efficiency and fairness of the investigation process.

Reporting Concerns

Electronic files pertaining to each matter are kept securely and confidentially in the DEHR Office.

Where individual concerns result in formal complaint and investigation, the parties to same are kept informed as to the process and outcome of investigations. Each investigation culminates in an Investigation Report, a copy of which is provided to the parties (as redacted in compliance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act).

The Director of the DEHR Office provides ongoing reports of its activities to VIU’s President and Senior Management. These reports include summary data on EDI concerns including sources of complaints (i.e. raised by an individual or management); the policy or policies engaged; the form of resolution, outcome statistics and education and outreach activities conducted by the DEHR.

Policies for Managing the Staffing of CRC Positions

Currently, VIU is drafting policies for managing the staffing of CRC positions in a systematic and transparent fashion.

Canada Research Chairs Program: Equity Targets and Gaps

The current representation of individuals from the four designated groups within VIU active chairs cannot be communicated, as there are fewer than five Chair positions. Information has been withheld to protect the privacy of our Chairs.

Archived External CRC Postings