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

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 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.

RMC’s current four CRC chairs and chair holders are identified elsewhere on these pages. Given RMC’s small size, and the fact there are less than ten CRC chairs at the institution, we have not published our data on FDGs as we could not assure the anonymity of our chair holders. Nevertheless, it is expected that RMC will have future CRC chair vacancies to fill and that 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 RMC’s CRC for Canada’s FDGs. We currently meet all targets.

On October 31 each year, RMC will report on its progress made in meeting the program’s diversity objectives.

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 degree instruction must be provided in both official languages. Located in Kingston, Ontario, it is a challenge to attract and retain bilingual 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. We anticipate that there may be a need to replace an incumbent chair within the next 24 months. All communications regarding this potential position 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.
  • 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 participation, and that applications from these groups are in compliance with all Federal government regulations and hiring practices as stipulated by Treasury Board. Ensuring all those involved in CRC selection are aware of issues and measures to correct for systemic, institutional or unconscious bias is a priority.
    • 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. RMC will publish internally the terms of all RMC CRC chairs and make known to new applicants the forms of support and similar issues that may be negotiated or extended for a CRC chair.
    • RMC’s current workplace environment remains challenging for all active researchers, given the strict financial controls exercised by the Department of National Defence. As RMC is governed by all workplace regulations established by collective agreements, the National Joint Council, the Department of Defence and the Treasury Board are subject to all their relevant initiatives and direction to ensure a healthy, accommodating, inclusive and diverse work space.
    • RMC will report publicly on an annual basis its progress in meeting its FDG objectives.  

2) Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations

  • 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. 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 filled 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 to the university Senate, be supported by the relevant department head 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 gender and diversity 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 Associate 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 proceed to the CRC Committee for consideration. 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 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. RMC will not be beholden to any unwritten agreements or side deals not reflected in the formal application papers that are sent to the CRC committee (i.e. there will be full disclosure of all institutional support).
  • 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);
  • 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 conducted for the employer, RMC does not employ a 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 (including those from the FDGs) and will introduce an annual monitoring exercise which is still under design.  Further, RMC has not traditionally offered an exit interview, however, this will be a policy for all departing civilian faculty and administered through the Principal’s office.
  • 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 but are too numerous to itemize below.
  • 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.
  • All complaints will be reported for action and follow-up to the college Principal who will report such complaints to the Senate and Board of Governors. These disclosures will be recorded in Senate minutes. The policy is to redress all issues at the working level wherever possible. If there is a dispute, formal dispute investigation and resolution methods may be introduced by the Principal.
  • The Vice-Principal, Research’s contact information is available here: Office of the Vice-Principal, Research and Dean of Graduate Studies.  
  • The University Equity Officer is Capt Heather Pay, email: heather.pay@rmc-cmr.ca
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