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Human Rights Complaint concerning the Canada Research Chairs Program

The Canada Research Chairs program was established at the millennium by the Government of Canada, with the goal of creating 2000 new research positions in selected universities across the country. The Program's goal is to enhance Canada's competitiveness in the global, knowledge-based economy, improve Canadians' health, and enrich our social and cultural life. Its strategy is to strengthen research excellence in Canada and increase Canada's research capacity by attracting and retaining the best researchers.

Chairs are distributed by province, university, and discipline-based funding council according to a formula agreed upon at the outset. Roughly three-quarters of the Programs billion dollar budget supports research in the natural sciences, engineering, and health sciences. Although over 50% of the professors in Canada teach in social sciences and humanities disciplines, they must compete for only 20% of the Chairs. No targets or guidelines were established for members of any equity group. Women are 51% of Canadas population, 59% of degree recipients at universities across the country, 35% of the professoriate, but (as of 2005) women hold only 20% of Canada Research Chairs. Thus the CRC program is exacerbating sexism in the academy.

From 2001, with the announcement of the first round of CRC appointments,women across the country have protested the lack of attention to equity. PAR-L has played a prominent role in sharing information and gathering support for action. A human rights complaint was laid before the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa. In 2003 by eight women from across the country against Industry Canada. We reached a negotiated Settlement Agreement in 2006. Since that time, a new Canada Excellence Research Chairs program was launched; its first 19 appointments, made in May 2010, have gone exclusively to men. Each CERC will receive up to $10 million of federal funding over seven years.

This part of the PAR-L web site contains an archive of documents relating to the complaint and also a chronology of key events.

Chronology of events:
bullet Original letter to PAR-L membership requesting complainants, Wendy Robbins, October 22nd, 2002
bullet Sources of systemic discrimination in the CRC program.
bullet The nature of a human rights complaint.
bullet Biographies of the complainants for the CRC Complaint
bullet Update on CRC Complaint, February 8th, 2003
bullet Ottawa Citizen Article: "Research grant program cheats women: professor", February 8th, 2003
bullet S. 5 complaint against Industry Canada, re the "Canada Research Chairs" Program, filed to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, February 13th, 2003
bullet Follow-up to the S. 5 complaint against Industry Canada's CRC Program to PAR-L members, Wendy Robbins, March 3rd, 2003
bullet Update to PAR-L, Wendy Robbins, March 21st, 2003
bullet March 21st House of Commons discussion on the CRC, posted to PAR-L March 24th by Wendy Robbins
bullet Update on Canada Research Chairs - Human Rights Complaint (November 2003)
bullet Update on Canada Research Chairs - Human Rights Complaint (October 31st, 2004)
bullet Press Release - Final Evaluation Report (January 21st, 2005)
bullet Gender-Based Analysis of the Fifth-year Evaluation of the Canada Research Chairs Program, by Dr. Wendy Robbins (January 21st, 2005)
bullet The Wrong Kind of Harvard North, by Dr. Wendy Robbins (Globe and Mail Update, January 23rd, 2005)
bullet Equity Complaint Leads to Last-Minute Changes to Canada Research Chairs Program: But Is It All Purely Academic? (Ottawa, 8 November 2006)
bullet Media Release - Canada Research Chairs Program (9 November 2006)
bullet Settlement Agreement as established by the Human Rights Tribunal (November 2006 - PDF file)
bullet Glove and Mail: $200 Million lure pulls in 19 big-name researchers (May 2010)

Related external links:
bullet The Canadian Research Chairs Chairholders Announcement May 2010
bullet The Canadian Research Chairs Program
bullet Statistics on the Canadian Research Chairs, by Gender
bullet Ivory Towers: Feminist Audits
bullet CRC Search Engine for Canadian Research Chairs

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