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Gender-based analysis plus

General information
Governance structures

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has integrated gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) into its broader equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives. The guiding framework for GBA+and EDI in 2018-19 continued to be the Equity and Diversity Implementation Plan (EDIP)—a four-year plan in its final year. This implementation plan has guided specific measures within the full program delivery cycle: design, operations, monitoring, evaluation and results. Updates to the EDIP were approved in fall 2018 through internal governance. A cross-divisional EDI Coordination Group met quarterly in 2018-19 and coordinated on the delivery of several EDIP measures.

In September 2018, SSHRC, with the other two federal granting agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)—adopted a new Tri-agency EDI Action Plan, which will be the basis of SSHRC’s EDI activities for 2019-20 and beyond (see Major initiatives.)

The governance and accountability structures include the following:

  • The GBA+ Responsibility Centre is in SSHRC’s Corporate Strategy and Performance Division. Responsibility Centre staff manage the EDIP and the Coordination Group; contribute to the integration of GBA+into Treasury Board submissions; and represent SSHRC on the Tri-agency EDI Policy Group, which coordinates delivery of the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan.
  • The Executive Director of Corporate Strategy and Performance is accountable for the regular reporting of the EDIP to internal governance committees and represents SSHRC on the director-level Inter-agency Committee on EDI, which oversees the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan, and reports progress to the Canada Research Coordinating Committee.

In terms of monitoring, the Responsibility Centre and the Coordination Group reported twice during the year to SSHRC’s management committees and senior officials on the progress made against the EDIP. The Responsibility Centre also reported once to SSHRC’s governing council (through the Programs and Quality Committee).

The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) is a division of SSHRC that administers tri-agency programs on behalf of CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC. The Associate Vice-President of TIPS is accountable for reporting program and policy changes to the Steering Committee (composed of the presidents of the three federal research granting agencies and of the Canada Foundation for Innovation; the Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; and the Deputy Minister, Health Canada) and to the Management Committee (composed of the vice-president-level agency representatives and assistant deputy ministers for the same organizations).

The Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, composed of national and international members, is mandated to provide advice to the management and steering committees. The advisory committee met in fall 2018: to discuss the next steps in the implementation of the Canada Research Chairs Program’s EDI Action Plan (implemented in 2017); to examine what further measures can be implemented to bolster the EDI of TIPS programs; and to provide feedback on the design of the new tri-agency Dimensions EDI program.

Human resources


Major initiatives: results achieved

Initiative 1. Tri-agency EDI Action Plan
In response to a Canada Research Coordinating Committee priority, SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR co-developed a Tri-agency EDI Action Plan, covering the 2018-23 period. This plan, completed in September 2018, has three objectives: fair access to tri-agency research support; equitable participation in the research system; and data for evidence-informed decision-making. Specific measures that will support gender equality and EDI more broadly, and on which SSHRC and TIPS have begun work include:

  • GBA+and unconscious bias training for staff and reviewers;
  • incorporation of GBA+into all program evaluations (see Initiative 2);
  • for TIPS programs, continued monitoring of equity plans in the Canada Excellence Research Chairs, Canada First Research Excellence Fund and C150 programs and the Institutional EDI Action Plans for the Canada Research Chairs;
  • continued monitoring by TIPS of progress toward institutional targets for Canada Research Chairholders from the four designated groups, with a deadline of December 2019 to meet the current targets;
  • release of the Tri-Agency Policy Statement on EDI; and
  • self-identification data collection from applicants and peer reviewers (see Initiative 4).

Gender Results Framework (GRF) alignment: SSHRC promotes and supports postsecondary-based research (careers) and research training (education) in the social sciences and humanities. As such, measures in the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan support the following elements of the GRF:

Pillar 1: Education and skills development

  • Goal: Equal opportunities and diversified paths in education and skills development

Pillar 2: Economic participation and prosperity

  • Goal: Equal and full participation in the economy

Initiative 2. GBA+in program evaluation
Following a GBA+capacity-building exercise, NSERC’s and SSHRC’s joint Evaluation Division developed a GBA+protocol that included standardized evaluation sub-questions, indicators, a survey and interview questions, and a procedure for the systematic integration of GBA+in future evaluations.

Since its development, the protocol has been actively implemented in evaluation design, data collection instruments, analyses and reporting.

The impacts will continue to be monitored through consultations with and feedback from evaluation advisory committees, steering committees and senior management committees.

GRF alignment: Evaluating programs with a GBA+lens supports the same GRF elements as Initiative 1.

Initiative 3. TIPS—EDI in the research ecosystem
TIPS supports increased EDI in the research ecosystem through its continued implementation of the Canada Research Chairs Program’s EDI Action Plan, which was launched in May 2017, as well as through EDI data collection as part of the annual progress reports of its programs.

Important milestones achieved in improving the Canada Research Chairs Program’s governance, transparency and monitoring of EDI during the year include:

  • a requirement that all institutions that participate in the program publish key public accountability information on how they manage their allocation of chairs on their external-facing websites;
  • a requirement that all institutions with an allocation of five or more chairs develop their own institutional EDI action plans;
  • review of institutional EDI action plans and corresponding progress reports by an external panel of EDI experts—feedback from this review is being used by institutions to revise their action plans, ensuring they serve as effective roadmaps for the diversification of chairs and the retention of underrepresented groups in the program;
  • new requirements that institutions must follow for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs that ensure openness and transparency at each step of the process; and
  • historic nomination rates for all four designated groups—for example, in November 2018, the nomination rate for women was 50%; for members of visible minorities was 21.2%; for persons with disabilities was 7.1%; and for Indigenous peoples was 3.8%.

Institutions are currently nominating researchers from the four designated groups to the Canada Research Chairs Program at rates approximately equal with the representation of the designated groups in the Canadian population, with the exception of persons with disabilities. However, the nomination rate for this group still exceeds data on labour market availability.

Revisions were made to the annual progress reports of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs and Canada First Research Excellence Fund programs to allow TIPS to monitor the diversity of the research teams and the measures that institutions are implementing to bolster the equity, diversity and inclusion of these research teams.

GRF alignment: Increasing EDI in the research ecosystem supports Pillar 2: Economic participation and prosperity.

  • Goal: Equal and full participation in the economy

Initiative 4. Self-identification questionnaire
As part of the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan, a self-identification questionnaire for applicants and merit review committee members was implemented, starting in fall 2018.

Respondents are asked for their gender and age range, and whether they identify as a visible minority, as Indigenous, and/or as a person with a disability. Respondents must complete the questionnaire before they can submit an application or begin evaluating applications, but for each question, they are given the option of “prefer not to answer.” In alignment with best practices, the form collects disaggregated data.

This questionnaire will allow the agencies to monitor the equity performance of SSHRC funding programs and design new measures that achieve greater equity, diversity and inclusion in the research enterprise, including on the basis of gender.

Data will be made publicly available in 2019-20.

GRF alignment: Monitoring the equity performance of funding programs through this questionnaire supports the same GRF elements as Initiative 1.

Initiative 5. New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF)
Supported by Budget 2018 funding, the NFRF provides grants to support transformative interdisciplinary and high-risk research. The program also supports fast-breaking research in response to urgent issues and time-sensitive opportunities for international collaboration, and provides targeted funding for research in emerging areas. The program is administered by SSHRC on behalf of CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

For the first funding stream of NFRF (“Exploration”), launched in December 2018, measures to advance EDI broadly were incorporated into the eligibility and review process criteria.
Projects are not eligible if sex- and gender-based analysis is not integrated into research designs (if applicable), or if they do not support EDI in the research team and training environment.

GRF alignment: Supporting EDI in the research and training environment through these criteria supports the same GRF elements as Initiative 1.

Reporting capacity and data

Starting in fall 2018, a new self-identification questionnaire was implemented (see Initiative 4). As a result, more complete microdata is now available for the following four Program Inventory programs:

  • Insight Research;
  • Research Training and Talent Development;
  • Research Partnerships; and
  • NFRF.

The new data collected will enable GBA+analysis on the basis of gender (male, female non-binary/gender-fluid/Two-Spirit), age range, visible minority, Indigenous identity and disability. These data are in addition to those SSHRC already collected prior to the new questionnaire, including on official language, academic discipline, and province and region of Canada.

An initial public release of this new data on applicants to funding opportunities is in the following report from the Canada Research Coordinating Committee: Strengthening Canadian Research: Progress Report 2018-19. It includes data for all three programs listed above.

Dating back to 2014, the following public information or reports contain microdata on applicants and/or awardees:

All programs

Insight Research:

Research Training and Talent Development

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