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About the Institute

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

Targets 2017-2019 | Objectives and Measurement Strategies | Canada Research Chair Allocations | Equity and Diversity Data | Retention and Inclusivity

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (EDIAP) will guide our efforts in ensuring the representation of individuals from the four designated groups—persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, members of visible minorities/racialized persons and women-- among our Canada Research Chairholders.  

SickKids, along with the University of Toronto and affiliated hospitals, will progressively meet the Plan’s objectives within the next two years. Initiatives undertaken under the Plan will complement and support existing institutional equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives and may be revised and updated to encompass input from our community as we implement the items below.

Our community comprises the University of Toronto, including three campuses, eighteen academic divisions, 125 appointing units, and nine affiliated hospitals. As ten separate employers with different policies and practices there is the challenge of significant inter-institutional coordination, as well as the strength of different approaches in implementing the Action Plan.

Targets 2017-2019

Targets for the CRC program are set nationally for the four designated groups. Full information on the determination of targets for the four designated groups can be found on the CRC website.

 The University of Toronto has set the following targets for the appointment of CRCs between 2017 and 2019, based on its current count of 247 filled Chairs:

Women: Continue to meet and work to exceed national target of 32% / 79 CRCs
Visible minorities: Achieve national target of 15% / 37 CRCs
Persons with Disabilities: Achieve national target of 4% / 10 CRCs
Aboriginal Peoples:
Continue to meet and work to exceed national target of 1% / 2 CRCs

1. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Objectives and Measurement Strategies

SickKids is committed to removing barriers and supporting our community members in fulfilling their academic, research and employment goals. The Hospital for Sick Children is recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers (2018), Greater Toronto’s Top Employers (2017), and Canada’s Top Employers for Canadians over 40 (2016).

SickKids conducts a bi-annual employee engagement survey, as an assessment of the working experience of our staff.  Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan is informed by this report and other initiatives detailed below.  It has been shared with our community and has been strengthened by their comments, critiques and recommendations.

Unconscious Bias Training

OBJECTIVE: Ensure all faculty and staff involved with a CRC nomination complete unconscious bias training

All Faculty and Staff involved in the recruitment of scientists are required to complete unconscious bias training.  They are required to review the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) seminar “What You Don’t Know: The Science of Unconscious Bias and What To Do About it in the Search and Recruitment Process."  They must attest completion to the Search Committee Chair.

Furthermore, all faculty and staff involved in the CRC nomination process are required to complete the online training module provided by the national CRC Secretariat. Internal administrative processes for CRC nominations will be changed to both communicate this requirement and to confirm completion of unconscious bias training.

Review of Internal Administrative Processes

OBJECTIVE: Complete a review of SickKids' administrative processes for CRCs by March 2018 in advance of the April internal nomination deadline

Formal administrative key process check points at various stages of a recruitment can create opportunities to assess equity and diversity efforts and adjust strategies if needed. SickKids processes for CRC nominations will be reviewed and assessed to ensure that EDIAP requirements are clearly and frequently communicated and that academic administrators, faculty, staff and nominees are appropriately informed about processes, requirements and supports in place at SickKids.

CRC Nominations

OBJECTIVE: Develop a guide to the CRC nominations by March 2018

An online University of Toronto guide will explain the process of CRC nominations at U of T and the affiliated hospitals for administrators, faculty, staff and potential nominees. It will include equity, diversity and inclusion focused best practices for each stage of the process from recruitment of a nominee, through to fostering a supportive environment for our Canada Research Chairs.

The guide will be developed in consultation with the U of T Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life, building on resources already in place to support faculty recruitment and retention. Affiliated hospitals will be asked to develop additional content relevant to their recruitment and employment policies and practices.

The online guide will serve as the foundation for periodic workshops / information sessions for academic administrators, faculty and staff involved in CRC nominations to begin in the Spring of 2018.  SickKids staff involved in the CRC process will be required to attend these workshops and information sessions.  

The SickKids Faculty office has updated the SickKids Research Institute Recruitment Guideline, to ensure the recruitment process harmonizes to both Canada Immigration standards (should the successful candidates not be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents); and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Practices of the Canada Research Chairs Program. This Guideline will be used for all Scientist recruitment processes at SickKids.

Develop Tools for Data Collection

OBJECTIVE: Encourage CRC applicants and nominees to complete the SickKids' employment equity survey and the CRC survey on the four designated groups

In consultation with the University of Toronto’s Equity and Diversity in Research and Innovation Working Group, the SickKids Research Institute Executive and SickKids Human Resources, a communication strategy will be developed to promote the importance of completing these voluntary surveys as they provide SickKids and U of T with accurate data on the representation of diverse faculty.  Efforts are underway to make the survey easier to use.  

Develop Strategies to Recruit and Support Indigenous CRCS

OBJECTIVE: Working closely with the University's indigenous community, develop strategies to recruit and support indigenous CRCs

SickKids will work closely with the University of Toronto to support and assist in their community wide strategy. Please see University of Toronto’s EDIAP for details.  

Develop Strategies to Recruit and Support Persons with Disabilities to CRCS

OBJECTIVE: Develop strategies to recruit and support persons with disabilities to CRCs

SickKids will work closely with the University of Toronto to support and assist in their community wide strategy. Please see University of Toronto’s EDIAP for details.  

Career Development and Mentoring for CRCS and Potential CRCS

OBJECTIVE: Continue to build a supportive and inclusive culture for all SickKids faculty

As a hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids Scientists have cross appointments with the University.  SickKids will promote the University of Toronto’s professional development workshops to our researchers. Please see University of Toronto’s EDIAP for details.  

SickKids has a Faculty Development Office and committee, that provides resources and mentorship through the areas of career development in training/education skills, research and clinical care skills, work life balance, career counseling, academic leave/retirement planning, etc.  Talks are given on Unconscious Bias at scientific staff meetings to raise awareness of this issue, and methods are provided to reduce this bias.  

Build on Current U of T Initiatives to Foster Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Our strategies to recruit and retain a diverse cohort of Canada Research Chairs align with broader equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives at the University of Toronto. The U of T Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation will work in close partnership with our 18 Faculties and 9 Affiliated Hospitals to implement these action plan elements and to encourage divisional and hospital leaders to initiate local plans to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion.

There is already action underway at SickKids, including:

LGBTQ Advisory Committee: The LGBTQ@SK Advisory Committee serves as an advisory body, made up of staff volunteers, focused on LGBTQ inclusiveness in both clinical service and human resource functions at SickKids.

While the Committee was officially formed in April 2016, we’ve been active as a more informal committee for the past four years in organizing PRIDE events at the Hospital and on behalf of SickKids at Family Pride. Members have also been involved in diversity initiatives across the Hospital for many years, often bringing forward LGBTQ issues to the discussion of diversity at SickKids.

Accessibility Site: The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is committed to providing equitable treatment to people with disabilities with respect to the use and benefit of Hospital services, programs, goods and facilities.  Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Ontario hospitals must meet accessibility standards to identify, remove and prevent barriers.

SickKids is dedicated to being accessible and compliant in all accessibility standards and in creating a welcoming, barrier-free environment for patients, staff and the community.  SickKids is also committed to ensuring that all persons within its community are aware of their rights and responsibilities to promote an accessible and inclusive environment with and for persons who have disabilities.  

SickKids has established the Accessibility Committee which is comprised of a broad representation of key stakeholders.  The Committee advises the SickKids senior executive about the requirements and implementation of AODA accessibility standards, preparation of accessibility reports, and other matters for which SickKids may seek advice.

Diversity & Inclusion Working Group:  Development of a SickKids Strategy for Diversity and Inclusion.  

2. Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations

Allocation of CRCs at U of T and affiliated hospitals

CRCs are initially allocated to the University of Toronto. Please refer to the  University of Toronto’s EDIAP for details.

At SickKids, the Chief of Research, in consultation with the Associate Chief of Faculty and subject matter experts, is responsible for managing SickKids allocation of CRCs.  Strategic considerations, including scientific complement planning to advance key areas of research, are taken into consideration.  Chairs allocated to SickKids are not further allocated to individual Research Programs.  This allows for flexibility during recruitment and for retention, and ensures chairs are provided to best advance research priorities.

Advancement, renewals and phase-out of chairs

In general, assuming that the level of performance in research is maintained, SickKids allows the chair to be renewed once.  SickKids does not have an established mechanism for advancement of Tier 2 CRCs to Tier 1 CRCs.  When a Tier 1 CRC is available and there is no active recruitment for a Scientist position taking place, all eligible Scientists are considered.  

Institutional support for chairholders

The conditions of employment and institutional support at SickKids are negotiated at the time of employment and takes account of the resourcing provided for other faculty in similar disciplines.  The support is provided irrespective of being a Canada Research Chairholder.  

In addition to the employment institutional support, SickKids provides an award payback to each Chairholder, the amount determined by their CRC Tier level. It is the same for every Tier 1, and for every Tier 2.  All CRC nominees are required to sign an acceptance letter that outlines the additional award payback provided to Chairholders. This letter is being reviewed as part of U of T’s Action Plan.  

Institutional support for academic administrators involved in CRC nominations

The SickKids Faculty office has updated the SickKids Research Institute Recruitment Guidelines, that is used for all recruitment of scientists, including when a CRC nomination is a new recruit.  All administrators and staff involved in the recruitment of scientists, including chair positions, are required to complete unconscious bias training.  They are required to review the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) seminar “What You Don’t Know: The Science of Unconscious Bias and What To Do About it in the Search and Recruitment Process." They must attest completion to the Search Committee Chair.

Furthermore, all faculty and staff involved in the CRC nomination process are required to complete the online training module provided by the national CRC Secretariat. Internal administrative processes for CRC nominations will be changed to both communicate this requirement and to confirm completion of unconscious bias training.

3. Collection of Equity and Diversity Data

Applicant pool data: The Hospital for Sick Children previously did not formally collect applicant pool data for CRC competitions.  This process is being rolled out as part of our EDIAP.  Initially, it will involve a fillable form to be completed voluntarily by external applicants and submitted to a secure address so that aggregate data on the representation of the four designated groups can be provided to the CRC selection panel.  We are exploring options for an on-line process, for both internal and external applicant pools.  

Successful CRC Candidate Data: is currently collected as part of the CRC program’s nomination process. A review of internal processes for the secure collection and protection of self-identification data is part of our Action Plan. The goals are to:

  • limit the number of people who can view this information
  • ensure privacy and confidentiality
  • encourage CRC nominees to complete the self-identification form
  • communicate widely the purpose of the data collection, how the information will be used, and our commitment to privacy.

4. Retention and Inclusivity

Providing a supportive and inclusive workplace

Through our equity programs, services and offices, SickKids is working to remove a range of barriers and support our community members in fulfilling their academic, research and employment goals. Working with Human Resources, we are developing initiatives to create an inclusive environment for faculty, staff and students. We will continue to collect and post these projects to both recognize these efforts and encourage others to adopt similar initiatives.

Policies or procedures and supports in place that enable the retention of members of the FDGs: Equity considerations are an important part of our institutional approach to faculty retention issues, when these arise. Retention of CRCs has not arisen as an area of concern at SickKids, as we have not had any Chairholder resign.  

Policies that govern the staffing of Canada Research Chair positions

All Canada Research Chair holders are Scientists at The Hospital for Sick Children, with a faculty appointment at the University of Toronto.  As such there are policies at both institutions that govern their staffing.  These policies may change as part of the development of our institutional CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion action plan and initiatives.   

SickKids policies that govern the staffing of Faculty, including CRCs

Please see University of Toronto’s EDIAP for links to additional relevant policies.