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Human Rights Complaint concerning the Canada Research Chairs Program

As posted on PAR-L, 8 February 2003

Dear Parleuses,

Here is a brief update to our notice (posted on PAR-L on October 22) about a proposed Human Rights Complaint alleging discrimination in the Canada Research Chairs Program. The complaint contends that Industry Canada, contrary to the federal government's 1995 gender-based analysis commitment and contrary to the Canadian Human Rights Act, s. 5, has failed to ensure that the structure of the CRC Program is free of discrimination on gender and other prohibited grounds. This failure is evidenced in the process as well as in the results.

There is persistent gender discrimination in the appointment of women under this program: only 15% of the Chairs in 2001 went to women, and only 18% in 2002. There is a complete lack of data on other equity groups.

The complainants will be asking the Canadian Human Rights Commission to do one of two things: either conduct a Special Inquiry into these allegations, or file our section 5 complaint. The complainants are diverse and come from institutions across the country : Simon Fraser University, University of Saskatchewan, University of Manitoba, Queen's University, McGill University, University of Ottawa, and University of New Brunswick. We are waiting for confirmation from two additional complainants before proceeding, which we intend to do very shortly. The request to the Commission either to conduct an inquiry or to file our complaint has been prepared by Rosemary Morgan, Legal Counsel, Canadian Association of University Teachers.

Thank you to everyone who either volunteered or provided advice and encouragement to us. The 900 million dollar CRC Program is having a powerful impact on Canadian university research, and thus on our society.

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