Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research: External Resources for McGill Researchers
McGill University recognizes that excellence in research requires the convergence and collaboration of individuals with diverse identities, experiences and ideas and that the potential for discovery and ground-breaking work is heightened when scholars enjoy freedom of inquiry in equitable and inclusive research environments. This can only happen within an institutional structure that seeks to identify and challenge historic and systemic barriers to full participation that continue to impede equal access to research and innovation activities within its community.
A commitment to equity and inclusion are two of McGill’s core principles, which in turn inform McGill’s Mission statement. Principles of equity and inclusion are also overarching themes in McGill’s Strategic Academic and Strategic Research Plans.
McGill Definitions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
Federal and provincial granting agencies have introduced EDI considerations into their evaluations of the research enterprise (research design, team composition, outcomes, and dissemination). The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program focuses its EDI evaluation criteria on four federally designated underrepresented groups: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and racialized persons/members of visible minorities. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) focuses on sex (biological) and gender (socio-cultural) criteria; whereas approaches followed by some of the remaining granting agencies encompass additional identities.
- Governmental EDI Principles
- Resources by Topic
- Resources for writing reference letters
- Professional Associations and Networks for Minority and Equity Groups
Governmental EDI Principles
The CRC program, the Tri-agencies, and Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) have issued guidelines and statements on how to incorporate EDI principles into the research enterprise:
Canada Research Chairs (CRC)
The CRC EDI strategy focuses on the recruitment, hiring and retention of CRC holders with a particular emphasis on the four federally designated equity groups.
Tri-Agencies (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC)
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)/Tri-Agencies
CIHR requires that all research designs include a sex (biological) and gender-based (socio-cultural) analysis or a strong rationale why this has not been done. The Nominated Primary Applicant must also complete a CIHR gender-based analysis online training module:
Natural Sciences Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
NSERC suggests applicants comment on the researcher’s contributions towards advancing EDI in the research enterprise; include sex (biological), gender (socio-cultural), and diversity in the research design; and detail efforts to create an inclusive research and training environment (ie recruitment and mentorship)
SSHRC' New Interactive Dashboard
Data based on a voluntary self-identification questionnaire of applicants presented in an interactive interface for every competition year as of 2018.
This tool is part of SSHRC' ongoing commitment and action to strengthen equity, diversity and inclusion in research.
The Dimensions Program
The Dimensions Program is a joint initiative of the SSHRC, CIHR and NSERC in an effort to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in post-secondary institutions and help affect deep cultural change within research environments. The Dimensions program addresses barriers faced by, but not limited to: Indigenous peoples, women, members of visible minorities/racialized group, persons with disabilities and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.
McGill University publically endorsed the Dimensions Charter in July 2019.
New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF)
EDI principles are included in two of the five NFRF evaluation criteria: Research Team / Research Environment, and Feasibility. The NFRF identifies underrepresented groups as including: women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, racialized minorities, and members of the LGBTQ2+ community.
Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ)
The FRQ identifies equity groups to include gender, ethno-cultural origins or disability and requires all applications to provide a sex and gender analysis in the research design or justify why this has not been done. In addition, all FRQNT applications require EDI principles be applied to create an equitable and inclusive recruitment process and training environment.
Resources by Topic
GBA+ (Gender-Based Analysis Plus) extends the equity lens beyond sex and gender to encompass additional, intersecting identities for example: persons who are Indigenous, racialized, members of a minority ethnic groups, 2SLGBTQ+, and/or who are living with a disability (which are the groups McGill targets for its equity and inclusion efforts). Intersectional identities have the potential to combine to create more marginalized social locations (for example, a racialized woman may face additional barriers than those experienced by a racialized man).
The Status of Women Canada offers a number of online educational resources on GBA+:
Status of Women Canada – What is GBA+?
Status of Women Canada - GBA+ Course
Universities in Canada, the USA and Europe are currently engaged in processes to understand their historic links to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. Through uncovering new knowledge and confronting past histories universities are laying the groundwork to build a healing and informed path forward.
Report on Lord Dalhousie’s History on Slavery and Race, Dalhousie University, August 2019
Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow, by S. Mullen and S. Newman, September 2018
Universities are also engaged in processes to understand their roles in Indigenous dispossession in order to advance reconciliation.
A number of external guidelines and principles are available to guide research involving Indigenous peoples and communities in ways that is in keeping with Indigenous values and traditions:
Research Involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada, Government of Canada’s Panel on Research Ethics, 2012. (Video)
Setting New Directions to Support Indigenous Research and Research Training in Canada, Government of Canada Strategic Plan 2019-22
Research that follows principles of universal design offers increased opportunities for access and participation in the research enterprise by persons with disabilities.
The 7 Principles of Universal Design, National Disability Authority
See the following two documents for suggestions on how to include researchers and research participants living with a disability in the research enterprise, focusing on venues, communication, information and transportation.
- National Disability Authority, Guidelines for Including People with Disabilities in Research (Dublin, Ireland: NDA, 2002)
- Levine, Alaina “Inclusivity for All: How to Make Your Research Group Accessible” Science (January 23, 2020)
The following “Tip Box” taken from this article offers some key points:
- “Nothing about us, without us.”
- Don’t assume
- Know you won’t be able to have a catch-all solution
- Ask your team: “What do you need to be successful?”
- Share information from resources, such as your institution’s disability resource center
- Recognize that not everyone wants to or has the privilege to disclose their disability
- Remove as many obstacles as possible without requiring disclosure
- Read articles on accessibility written by people with disabilities
UNICEF, "Producing Disability Inclusive Data: Why it Matters and What it Takes" (July, 2020)
Offers a review of issues to consider when planning, designing and implementing inclusive data collection.
Resources for writing reference letters
“Best Practices for Reading and Writing Letters of Recommendation”, Lehigh University
This tool allows users to copy and paste text into this “Gender Bias Calculator” to assess for gendered wording in a reference letter.
This handout from University of Arizona gives some tips for avoiding gender bias in reference letters.
Professional Associations and Networks for Minority and Equity Groups
The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) is an international and interdisciplinary organization comprised of scholars engaged in research related to Native American and Indigenous studies.
NAISA was established in 2009 and is currently a leading organization of researchers interested in all areas of Indigenous studies.
Job postings: https://www.naisa.org/postings/job-postings/
The Black Canadian Studies Association was founded in 2009 and provides a space and forum to advance research and the exchange of ideas related to Black Canada and the Diaspora.
The American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE) has a long history of representing blacks in higher education in the USA. The AADHE has been involved in a number of initiatives, including those “addressing the pipeline of Black faculty and staff in higher education, bringing issues pertinent to Black faculty and staff to the attention of the larger academic community and recognizing African American achievements and accomplishments to higher education.”
Career Centre: https://jobs.blacksinhighered.org/
The Association of Women in Science works to advance women in the STEM fields, by inspiring bold research and leadership, sparking innovation, and promoting systemic change and organizational success.
The AWIS Career Centre: https://awis.associationcareernetwork.com/
The Vision of the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology is “…to create an environment where women and girls in Canada can pursue their interests, education, and careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) without barriers.”
The Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades is a national coalition of individuals and groups whose purpose is to “…advocate for a diverse and inclusive Canadian Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (SETT) workforce.”
The Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI) was founded in 2002 with the goal to improve the representation of women and other underrepresented groups among faculty members and leaders at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) is a voluntary, non-partisan organization with over 100 chapters located in every province in Canada. The CFUW was founded in 1919 and has a long history of working to improve that status of women and to advance public education, human rights, social justice and peace.
Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM), Inc. is a non-profit professional association serving LGBTQ+ people in the STEM fields. oSTEM has close to 90 student chapters at higher education institutions in the USA and abroad, making it the largest organization of its kind.
Pride at Work Canada works with employers to create safer, more inclusive workplaces for all employees regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity. The organization hosts learning, networking and community events across Canada with many of the country’s most inclusive employers.
The Aboriginal Job Board is a national online employment community dedicated to assisting members of Indigenous communities find suitable employment.
WORKink™ is a service of the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work that provides an online job board featuring employers offering inclusive employment opportunities.
The Canadian Black Scientists Network was formed to address the scarcity of Black scientists in Canada. This absence of Black scientists has resulted in a dearth of role models and mentors for new Black scientists, and robs Canada of the innovative talent necessary to address pressing issues.
The National Society of Black Engineers’s mission is "to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community." With more 500 chapters and nearly 16,000 active members in the United States and abroad, the NSBE offers its members professional development activities, career placement and community services opportunities, as well as leadership training and mentoring, and more.