Royal Military College of Canada Action Plan on Institutional Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

RMC is dedicated to ensuring the incorporation, advancement and success of the four federally designated groups (FDGs), and other traditionally disadvantaged groups within our university. As members of the public service of Canada subject to the guidance of the Federal Treasury Board all employees are required to assist in achieving a diverse, inclusive work place and learning environment. To that end our policies and practices and higher aspirations align well with the Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) program’s priorities for equity, diversity and inclusion. Moreover, beyond the basics required by the CRC Secretariat, RMC is positioning itself as an employer of choice through fostering a collegial and inclusive work and learning environment as a strategic objectiveFootnote 1.

RMC is proud to endorse and aspires to adopt the best practices outlined in Universities Canada “Inclusive Excellence Principles” and “Universities Canada principles on equity, diversity and inclusion”.

RMC is unique in being a Federal, bilingual degree granting university, operating with a provincial charter and a Federal mandate to educate primarily members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Given our geographic location, eastern Ontario, and our unique mission there are challenges to attracting faculty. Nevertheless, while the CRC program nationally may suffer from an underrepresentation of FDGs, RMC has not. While we currently have three CRC chairs filled, and two vacant, historically, nearly fifty percent of our CRC’s have been women and all but one of the chairs filled by a member of an FDG, which is to say approximately 80% of RMC’s allocations have been filled by members of designated groups. This figure does not include cases of intersectionality. We are proud of RMC’s record of exceeding national averages and seek to build on it with future appointments. As of December 2018, RMC had three active CRC chairs and two vacant. Only one current chair holder does not identify within one of the FDGs. Once our Equity and Diversity plan is accepted by the CRC Secretariat RMC will undertake to fill the empty chairs and ensure we continue to meet or exceed our targets for FDGs.

We recognize that simple compliance is not sufficient to ensure an accommodating, healthy, inclusive work environment, and active measures are required to ensure broader and deeper engagement with the broader goals of building a university more reflective of Canadian society. We further acknowledge that there are other equity seeking groups and that there are elements of intersectionality between the enumerated FDGs and others. Further, we note given the size of the potential pool and the small number of CRCs we have that presently the CRC’s target setting tool does not include any Indigenous faculty for RMC. Nevertheless, RMC recognizes that it is built on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples.

This plan serves to guide RMC’s efforts for sustaining the participation of and/or addressing the underrepresentation of individuals from the four designated groups (FDGs)—women, Aboriginal/Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities—among their chair allocations. RMC has developed this plan in consultation or collaboration with individuals from each of the FDGs, chairholders, faculty and administrators responsible for implementing the Canada Research Chair program at the Royal Military College of Canada. This policy statement will outline the mechanisms in place and procedures to follow to ensure RMC fulfills the letter and spirit of compliance to the CRC’s national policies on ensuring appropriate representation among the Federal Designated Groups required among RMC’s Canada Research Chair appointments.

On December 15 each year, RMC will report on its progress made in meeting the program’s diversity objectives. Please see current Progress report: Progress Report 2018

Action Plan: Key Components.

1) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Objectives and Measurement Strategies

  • RMC is a unique institution in Canada – it is Canada’s only federally funded, provincially chartered, bilingual university. All mandatory undergraduate degree instruction must be provided in both official languages. Located in Kingston, Ontario, it is a challenge to attract and retain the highest quality faculty. Ensuring that RMC’s faculty, and particularly the CRC chairs, reflect inclusion of Canada’s FDGs is an organizational priority. Historically RMC’s CRC program has evidenced strong inclusion of the FDGs. We have developed an internal model employing the CRC’s recommended target setting tool based on the national representation goals established by the CRC.
    • RMC aims to meet or surpass the national standard for FDG inclusion. There are currently two vacancies and RMC is awaiting approval of its Equity and Diversity Action Plan by the CRC Secretariat before we undertake to fill them. All communications regarding these potential positions will stress that preference for the appointment may be shown toward members of Canada’s FDGs. To that end, the search will be external if necessary.
    • RMC will develop briefing and training materials to ensure that all members associated with selecting or renewing future CRC chairs are made aware of the positive measures to take in order to ensure consideration and the full inclusion of candidates from Canada’s FDGs. See Objective Three of SMART objectives below.
  • RMC’s hiring practices are governed by the regulations of the Federal Treasury Board, Public Service Regulations, and the other acts of Federal law and policy:
    • RMC’s recruitment practices are open and transparent; barriers or practices that could be having an adverse effect on the employment of individuals from the FDGs are recognized in the hiring process and efforts are made to encourage their participation, and self identification. Ensuring all those involved in CRC selection are aware of issues and measures to correct for systemic, institutional or unconscious bias is a priority. See SMART Objective Three below.
    • Internal appointments: all of RMC’s current CRC chairs were made by internal appointment. All applicants negotiated elements of institutional support, office space, administrative support and protected time for research. There is considerable variation in fields of research between RMC Chairs. All faculty salaries at RMC are dictated by collective agreement as determined by faculty rank, years of service and annual merit pay increments. In those regards, all CRC chairs are treated equally. An internal review of the forms of support provided the current chairs and where they placed on initial salary scales and the other forms of compensation provided reveals there is no significant disparity between chair holders at time of initial appointment and their status as a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Chair. RMC will make known to new applicants the forms of support and similar issues that may be negotiated or extended to a new CRC chair.
    • All of RMC’s CRC Chairs are members of the Canadian Military Colleges Faculty Association and enjoy full academic freedom and are subject to robust clauses within their collective agreement on non-discrimination regarding ‘age, race, creed, colour, national origin, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, family status, mental or physical disability” and freedom from harassment clauses.Footnote 2
    • All chairs will have access to similar administrative support and institutional financial support. All our chairs receive office, and when necessary, laboratory space as well as space for post-doctoral students.
    • As RMC employees are part of the broader Federal Civil Service, RMC is subject to a rich framework of policies affecting both hiring and employment practices. These include the Treasury Board (TB) Policy on Harassment in the Workplace policy, the TB Secretariat directive on Values and Ethics for the Public Sector, the TB Policy On the Duty To Accommodate Persons with Disabilities in the Federal Public Service, the TB Employment Equity Policy, the TB Policy on Terms and Conditions of Employment in the Work Place and the Non Discrimination and freedom from Harassment clauses of the Canadian Military Colleges Faculty Association collective agreement among others. These policies are actively applied and championed by senior management.
    • The following SMART Measures aim to ensure RMC remains at the forefront of FDG participation in the CRC program:
      • Objective 1: Align the university’s strategic plans with systemic processes and constant environmental reviews to enhance awareness and attainment of our equity, diversity and inclusion goals.
        • Measure 1.1: Review strategic planning documents such as the college strategic plan and the strategic research plan to ensure our EDI policies and goals are well articulated.
          • Who: Principal and Vice Principal, Research
          • When: Fall 2019
        • Measure 1.2: Complete review of existing CRC Chair positions, conduct direct survey and review current means of supporting our CRC Chairs.
          • Who: Vice Principal, Research
          • When: August 2019
      • Objective 2: Develop Environmental Awareness and Scan Existing attitudes
        • Measure 2.1: Conduct formal discussions with the Canadian Military Faculty Association regarding issues of EDI
          • Who: Principal
          • When: Commence fall 2019
        • Measure:2.2: Review philosophy regarding EDI with senior management and faculty deans before commencing further CRC searches.
          • Who: Vice Principal, Research
          • When: By 1 Oct 2019.
      • Objective 3: Broaden Faculty and Management Awareness regarding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion challenges and commitments.
        • Measure 3.1: Brief Deans and Senior Management
          • Who: VP Research
          • When: Summer/Fall 2019
        • Measure 3.2: Engage Faculty Board and Faculty Council
          • Who: Principal
          • When: Fall 2019
        • Measure 3.3: Engage all Faculty
          • Who: Principal & VP Research
          • When: Ongoing
        • Measure 3.4: Review Terms of Reference of the College Equity Officer regarding FDG employment issues.
          • Who: Principal
          • When: Sept. 2019
        • Measure 3.5: Provide all participants in any hiring/appointment selection or review committee, as well as senior administrative appointments, equity awareness training (GBA+) prior to commencing appointments
          • Who: College Equity Officer
          • When: Ongoing (verified at time of appointment)
        • Measure 3.6: RMC will report publicly on an annual basis its progress in meeting its FDG objectives.
          • Who: VP Research Office
          • When: 15 Dec Annually

2) Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations

RMC will manage current and future CRC Chair appointment based on research excellence and through active steps to ensure there are no gaps in our institutional inclusion targets.

  • Support for renewed chairs will be overseen by the Principal on the recommendation of the VP, Research. Should there be strong evidence of the merits to promote a Tier 2 chair to a Tier 1 position that recommendation will come from the appropriate Dean to the VP, Research for consideration by the Principal who will ensure such a step aligns with the institution’s broader strategic research goals and equity and diversity targets before approving the change for recommendation to the CRC Secretariat.
  • We have a relatively diverse internal pool of potential CRC applicants in key research areas and an internal nomination may enhance our ability to retain that talent. Such a consideration will be weighed against the benefits of externally advertising future CRC Chair positions. In either case meeting our FDG target can be a weighted factor in determining the recommended appointment.  Our hiring process already facilitates such weighting.
  • In managing future chair appointments, while seeking research excellence as well as ensuring we have no gaps in our institutional targets, RMC will take active steps to address unconscious bias which can influence hiring practices and the negotiation of terms of employment limiting overall success for individuals from the FDGs or other equity seeking groups. RMC undertakes to ensure that all those involved in the CRC nomination or hiring process will complete training in unconscious bias before commencing any process. Material beyond that provided by the CRC’s unconscious bias in hiring on-line training will be identified and incorporated.
  • RMC is undertaking to revise its broad Institutional Strategic Research Plan and CRC chairs will be filled according to its broad research priority areas. A degree of flexibility may be required to ensure our FDG targets are adhered to. The putative Chair description will be produced by the appropriate committee for review and modification by the VP, Research who, in consultation with the college equity officer, may recommend to the Principal using a corridor of flexibility in managing the chair allocation towards achieving an institutional priority such as encouraging progress towards an equity goal.
  • RMC’s policies and processes for recruiting Canada Research chairholders: RMC has held national and international competitions and internal competitions for its CRC allocated chairs since becoming eligible for the program. All future external and internal competitions will stress that priority may be given to FDG individuals. Presently, open calls are made and widely advertised. Files are reviewed for completion within the office of the Vice-Principal, Research, and then passed to the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) for ranking and recommendation. The Research Advisory Committee has equal representation from the college’s faculties and includes members from Canada’s FDGs. The RAC ranks the application and recommends the top three. The RAC will serve as the CRC Chair nominating committee recommending any internal candidate for such an appointment. Final selection has been done by a committee of Deans who consider the recommendations and analyze the top candidate’s fit with the college’s strategic research plan and teaching needs and recommend to the Principal whom they judge the best fit for the institution. That individual is then encouraged to complete the full application process. All these discussions and decisions are made in an open forum among the various committee members. Going forward, a written record of decision will be filed with the staffing file.
  • The present allocation of CRC chairs has been managed by the Vice-Principal, Research, in consultation with the Principal and the college Deans. Moving forward, the allocation of chairs will be led by the Vice-Principal, Research, through discussion and recommendation from the RAC, in light of the college’s teaching and research priorities. Department heads will identify gaps or opportunities to their Deans, and the Deans will inform their representatives on the RAC, as well as the Principal and Vice-Principal, Research. The RAC will recommend the wording for the opportunity to be advertised, and the process of staffing the advertisement will fall to the office of Vice-Principal, Research.
  • The decision to adjust or change the focus of a current chair given the corridor of flexibility will come at the suggestion of the Vice-Principal, Research. The recommendation will be made in light of discussion of broader institutional needs with the college Principal and the Vice-Principal, Academic. Their joint recommendation will go to the RAC for comment and endorsement. Should the RAC choose not to endorse their proposal, then a sub-committee of the university Senate will be struck to examine and recommend a proposal acceptable to the Senate.
  • Decisions to renew chairs (CRCI or CRCII) will be led by the Vice-Principal, Research. Renewal initiation timelines and decision cycles will be promulgated separately through the Vice-Principal’s office. The determination to renew will be made by a select committee nominated by the appropriate Dean and will include representation from the RAC and from several faculty members from a separate faculty. In reference to the CRC guidelines on renewal and assessment, this committee will recommend action through the Vice-Principal, Research to the Senate for determination.
  • RMC may from time to time consider raising a Tier 2 chair to a Tier 1 chair or dividing a Tier 1 into two Tier 2 chairs. This recommendation will only come at such a time as a current chair is renewed or vacant. As transitioning from a Chair 2 to a Chair 1 may prejudice the total number of CRC chairs RMC enjoys, such a shift would only be made in extraordinary circumstances and without prejudice to ensure that RMC meets its equity and diversity goals. The recommendation to transition a CRCII to a CRCI chair, or vice versa, must come from the appropriate Dean and be endorsed by Senate. Senate will only approve such a recommendation once it has been examined and endorsed by the college RAC who will weigh, not only the research potential, but the general impact of such a change and the specific impact on RMC meeting its goals.
  • If RMC is slated to phase out a CRC chair due to the CRC’s re-allocation process, the determination of which chair to eliminate will rest with the Principal, based on the recommendations of the RAC and the two Vice-Principals, who will consider the remaining years of service of the applicable incumbents, the impact of reduced funding on their graduate students, the priorities of the college’s strategic research plan, and the impact on meeting RMC’s gender and diversity goals. Assessment will also be in accordance with the CRC guidelines on evaluations, as published.
  • The level of support provided to chair-holders (e.g., protected time for research, salary and benefits, additional research funds,  office space, mentoring, administrative support, equipment, etc.), is determined by the Vice-Principal, Research before endorsing the application to proceed. Applicants will be encouraged to discuss their requests with their respective Dean and department head, and the Dean will provide a list of recommended support measures to the Vice-Principal, Research for discussion with the applicants before they complete their formal application documents. Applicants will be given a list of support measures previously granted to other CRC Chair holders at RMC but they will not be restricted from requesting others.
  • As a safeguard to ensure that individuals from the FDGs are not disadvantaged in negotiations related to their level of institutional support, they will be made aware of all forms and details of support provided to other CRC Chairs at RMC (i.e.there will be full disclosure of all institutional support).Candidates will be free to request and negotiate other forms of support as well which will be disclosed to them up front.
  • To ensure that individuals from the FDGs are not disadvantaged when applying to a chair position in cases where they have career gaps due to parental or health related leave or leave taken for the care and nurturing of family members, all internal communications and advertising materials that recognize such issues will not serve as an explicit or implicit reason for not advancing their candidacy in accordance with the CRC program’s priority efforts at ensuring the elimination of systemic impediments to participation by members of Canada’s FDG’s.
  • RMC offers annual training and development activities related to unconscious bias, equity, diversity and inclusion. All administrators and faculty involved in the recruitment and nomination processes for chair positions are required to take such training. All RMC faculty and academic administrators complete formal on-line training in Gender Based Analysis (GBA+) to sensitize them to issues of implicit and explicit bias towards Canada’s FDGs. Further, all faculty and administrators involved with the CRC selection or renewal process will be required to complete the” unconscious bias training module” available through the CRC website.

3) Collection of Equity and Diversity Data

  • The faculty of RMC are subject to Treasury Board Regulations and other regulations which govern the collection and disclosure of data regarding data on the FDGs (both applicants to chair positions and successful candidates);
  • As standard for the hiring of Federal Civil Servants all applicants are given the opportunity to self identify. RMC’s hiring committees have access to these results and the Human Resources Officer responsible for the college tracks and retains these materials for statistical purposes. Individuals are invited to self-identify when applying for a CRC chair. The following statement will appear on all materials advertising CRC Chair opportunities at RMC: “The Royal Military College of Canada and Department of National Defence are committed to the government’s policies on non-discrimination and employment equity. Members of Federally designated disadvantaged groups (women, the disabled, visible minorities and indigenous people) are encouraged to apply for this opportunity.”
  • Outside of regular public service surveys and the initial hiring process managed through the Defence Department’s Human Resources section additional surveys of workplace composition are generally not conducted for the employer, and  RMC does not employ a separate self-identification form.

4) Retention and Inclusivity:

  • RMC endeavors to ensure a collegial and diverse work environment. All faculty can avail themselves of various means of redress including grievances through their union, public sector mediation through formal “alternative dispute resolution” offices, and through various formal and informal means of raising issues with their managers. RMC strives to ensure a supportive and inclusive workplace for all chair-holders and will introduce an annual monitoring exercise that is still under design.
  • As a Federal institution subject to both Treasury Board and Department of Defence administrative instructions, RMC has numerous procedures, policies and supports in place that enable the retention of individuals from the FDGs. Broadly conceived, these policies aim at making RMC an employer of choice. See more complete list above.
  • RMC’s institutional equity, diversity and inclusion action plan for the CRC program is governed through the office of the Vice-Principal, Research, who oversees policies approved by the Faculty Council, which represents all faculty and academic staff, and reports to the university’s Senate.
  • The Vice-Principal, Research is the officer responsible for implementing RMC’s action plan agenda and can respond to questions or concerns related to equity or diversity regarding the CRC program specifically and RMC’s research enterprise in general. All other means for questioning practices and activities within the Federal public service may also be used.
  • Complaints may be directed to either the college Vice-Principal, Research, or the college officer responsible for equity.
  • Confidential issues may be raised by faculty through the Faculty Association or through the College Human Resources Officer.
  • Issues of Health and Safety may also be raised through various workplace advisors or the Complaint and Conflict Management Services 613-541-5010 x 4904 or the Employee Assistance Program 1-800-268-7708
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