Speaking Up about Equity & Diversity at U of T

Speaking Up 2014 - 76% of faculty, staff and librarians agree that the University demonstrates a commitment to practices that support equity and diversity  - Areas of Focus - Equity and Diversity


Canada's Best Diversity EmployersThe Speaking Up Faculty & Staff Experience Survey Focus Area #5 looks at Equity & Diversity at the University of Toronto. As stated in the Governing Council Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Excellence, U of T prides itself on an institution-wide commitment to “be an equitable and inclusive community, rich with diversity, protecting the human rights of all persons, and based upon understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of every person.” In fact, in 2015, U of T was named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for the eighth consecutive year.

“We are extremely proud of the diversity of our community at U of T. It is one of our greatest strengths. Our differences enrich our ability to innovate in our research and educate our students,” says Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost.

The ‘Speaking Up’ Faculty & Staff Experience Survey shows us that:

  • 76% of faculty, staff and librarians agree that the University demonstrates a commitment to practices that support equity and diversity.
  • 71% agree that their unit head / managers demonstrate a commitment to practices that support equity and diversity.
  • 76% also agree that in their experience faculty, staff, and librarians are treated with respect in their departments (new question in 2014).
  • 61% are aware of resources / services sexual harassment; 60% are aware of resources/service for harassment in general.
  • 58% are aware of resources / services for discrimination and racism.

These numbers are generally consistent with our previous results; overall, we are up 4 points from 2010 in this area.

So what does this tell us?

The results from the three iterations of the ‘Speaking Up’ survey since 2006 confirm that we are continuing to make progress with respect to equity and diversity but that there remains room for improvement. For instance, the composition of the U of T community of faculty, staff and librarians does not reflect the diversity of the greater Toronto area.

“While we are very proud of U of T’s work and commitment in building an inclusive environment, it is clear both from Speaking Up and our Employment Equity data that we can do more. As such our HR team is working on strategies with representatives from underrepresented groups to see how we can improve in the areas of recruitment and engagement,” says Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity.

What are we doing?

Equity Banner The Provost and the Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity are working together to build upon existing resources and develop new programs to increase diversity in our hiring and promotion practices. They will be consulting broadly in order to define and implement strategies.

Here is a snapshot of the some of the new and ongoing initiatives that are currently happening to increase diversity and inclusion at U of T.

  • The U of T International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Campaign (IDERD) launched in 2012 to join the movement established by the United Nations in 1966. U of T’s campaign, coordinated by the Anti-Racism & Culture Diversity Office (ARCDO) with the support of the ARCDO Advisory Committee, aims to increase awareness about IDERD and its importance to the University community.

    Recognize U of T community members who are changing the world for the better:
    Nominations are open until February 12, 2016 for U of T faculty, staff, and students who have contributed to the effort to eliminate racial discrimination and advance anti-racism. Recipients will be highlighted in the U of T March 21, 2016 campaign day.

  • Positive Space CampaignThe Positive Space Campaign is an ongoing program aimed to create and identify safer and more inclusive spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersexed, queer, questioning and Two-Spirited (LGBTTIQQ2S) members of the U of T community. To get a positive space poster or sticker, or a button for a website contact positive.space@utoronto.ca.
  • The Washroom Inclusivity Project was launched in 2014 in collaboration with students and various U of T offices (Sexual & Gender Diversity Office, Multi-Faith Centre, Accessibility Services, Family Care Office, the AODA Office and with Facilities & Services and Property Management). The Project is designed to provide information about public washrooms on campus: physical accessibility, single-user washrooms for broader gender inclusivity, and baby-changing stations. The washroom inventory is included on the campus maps. The initiative is now active on all three U of T campuses.
  • 2015-16 Equity Bookmark 2 - Intersectionality - colouringThe #UofTEquity Bookmarks campaign launched on November 30, just in time to help relieve the stress of exams and the holiday season with some fun and relaxing colouring! The award-winning bookmarks highlight equity-related resources available at U of T, and can be downloaded here or picked up in person at equity offices on all three campuses. The bookmarks feature themes of ‘inclusivity’ and ‘intersectionality’, with a third one coming in early 2016! Join in the fun by submitting your coloured bookmark to hrandequity@utoronto.ca. Check the U of T Equity website for details and updates.

Equity & Diversity Resource Repository

A list of equity and diversity related initiatives will live on the ‘Speaking Up’ website and serve as a repository of innovations and ideas stemming from the results. We look forward to hearing more about what is happening across the campus to promote diversity and inclusivity in our community. Please share thoughts and feedback at hrandequity@utoronto.ca.

Final thoughts… for now

We are continuing to look for new ways to enhance the diversity at U of T and to provide support, resources, and education programs for all staff, faculty, and students. We look forward to hearing about what initiatives are underway in your divisions and departments, and working together to promote a culture of equity and diversity at U of T.