Self-Identification Form for Senior University Leaders

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I as a senior university leader complete the self-identification form for Universities Canada?

While Statistics Canada does collect gender data on university teachers and students (and intends to collect data on all four equity-seeking categories soon), they do not collect representation data on senior leadership at Canadian universities and there is no intent to do so in the near future.

Universities Canada’s Inclusive Excellence principles commit to providing equity of access and opportunity for all – from students, to faculty and staff, to senior leaders. As decision-makers, senior leaders play a key role in helping to develop an equitable and inclusive organizational culture on Canadian university campuses.

Why should I as a university Board member complete the self-identification form for Universities Canada?

No organization that we are aware of currently collects or publishes representation data for Canadian university Boards.

Universities Canada’s Inclusive Excellence principles commit to providing equity of access and opportunity at all levels of the institution, including on university Boards.

The Board, the group that provides direction and holds the institution and its systems accountable, plays a critical role in affirming the institution’s commitment to EDI. And ideally, the Board should reflect and understand the diversity of the faculty, staff and student population it serves.

Participating in the self-identification survey will send an important signal to senior university administrators, faculty, staff and students that Board members value EDI.

Increasingly in Canada, private and public organizations recognize the important of increasing diversity on their Boards. Many have signed up to the 30% club with the goal of Board seats and C-Suites to be held by women by 2022 and in May 1, 2018, Bill C-25 received royal assent “to require certain corporations to place before the shareholders, at every annual meeting, information respecting diversity among directors and the members of senior management,” among other things.

Why are the granting agencies asking all applicants to their funding competitions to complete the self-identification form?

Universities Canada’s self-identification form, is based on the form that all applicants to granting agencies’ funding competitions (grants, scholarship and fellowships) must complete.

One of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee’s priorities is to establish Canada as a world leader in equity, diversity and inclusion in research. By collecting self-identification data on

applicants, granting agencies will be better able to monitor their performance in ensuring equitable access to their programs.

Isn’t asking someone to self-identify discriminatory?

Collecting self-identification data and comparing this data to existing talent pools helps identify where there may be biases and discrimination in recruitment, retention an promotion practices.

The federal and provincial governments as well as many private and public organizations are now collecting self-identification data and have created employment equity programs. And provincial human rights codes (e.g. Ontario) allow for targeted hiring.

How will my self-identification data be used by Universities Canada?

Universities Canada is collecting self-identification data to better understand the diversity in senior leadership at Canadian membership institutions and in the leadership pipeline. The data will help identify how the association can support our members’ efforts to advance equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Universities Canada ensures anonymity and will publicly report only aggregate data at the national level, by region (Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec, Eastern Canada), type of institution (primarily undergraduate, specialized, medical/doctoral/comprehensive and their federated institutions), and by position (e.g. Board members, Deans). In doing so, we will suppress data counts of less than five people in any one equity-seeking group.

The association will publish key data in a policy brief for members and stakeholders and share key highlights on Universities Canada’s website and in presentations.

Note that Universities Canada will not share your self-identification data with your institution. Upon request, we will provide your institution with an aggregate picture of their full senior leadership by equity-seeking category (i.e. not broken down by positions). Again, we will suppress data counts less than five people in any one equity-seeking group.

The self-identification form is one part of a three-part EDI survey of member institutions. Universities Canada is also collecting data on university presidents’ perspectives and practices to advance EDI and on the institutional structures, policies and practices to advance EDI.

If you have any questions not answered above, please contact

Universities Canada