Court asked to enforce settlement on equity targets

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is taking the unusual step of asking the Federal Court to enforce a decade-old settlement that created equity targets for a prestigious research award because most universities have consistently failed over the years to give enough chairs to women and diverse candidates, writes Chris Hannay for The Globe and Mail.

The Canada Research Chairs programme, which awards funding for up to 2,000 academics at a time, was required to track how many of its recipients are female, indigenous, visible minority or had a disability, after a 2006 settlement through the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

The equity targets are meant to ensure that the demographics of the award recipients reflect the demographics of the pool of qualified academics. The most recent figures show more than half of universities across the country do not make their targets, with small institutions generally doing better than large ones. In the aggregate, the 15 largest institutions – which hold the bulk of all research chairs – currently meet the targets of 15% for visible minorities and 1% for aboriginal researchers, but are three points shy each in meeting the targets of 31% for women and 4% for academics with a disability.
Full report on The Globe and Mail site