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Media Release - Canada Research Chairs Program  

Canada Research Chairs Program welcomes equity agreement

( Ottawa , November 9, 2006 ) –The Canada Research Chairs Program today welcomed the ratification of a new agreement on equity in the nomination process for chairholders. The agreement is designed to reinforce the program's emphasis on excellence by ensuring that all candidates have access to the program in a fair and equitable context.

“We are very pleased with this agreement,” said John ApSimon, executive director of the program, which presently funds over 1600 research professorships in Canadian universities. “The Canada Research Chairs Program is about excellence: attracting and keeping the best research talent at Canadian universities. One of Canada 's greatest strengths is our diversity, and clearly the program must draw on that diversity to fulfill its potential.”

The agreement, ratified this week by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, marks the end of a mediation process begun in 2003 after a group of professors brought a complaint concerning equity in the ranks of chairholders.

Among other things, the agreement requires that the federal government's policies on non-discrimination and equity in employment become an integral part of the Chairs nomination process. The agreement targets equality of opportunity for all four groups protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: women, persons with a disability, Aboriginal peoples, and visible minorities.

In 2001, the program's first full year, women received 14 per cent of Chairs awarded. As a result of ongoing collaboration between the program's secretariat and universities, that percentage has increased steadily and in the last round of nominations, 33 per cent of the Chairs went to women. Currently, women make up 30 per cent of Canada 's university faculties. Twenty-two per cent of all Chairs are now held by women, and the proportion continues to rise.

Working with Canadian universities, the program will set concrete targets for appointments to Canada Research Chairs from the four groups, will monitor progress towards those goals, and will take active steps to encourage universities to meet them.

“We have been successfully working with the universities to improve the equity of the Program,” ApSimon concluded. “By reinforcing this effort, this agreement marks an important milestone in an ongoing process. Even more than before, Canada Research Chairs will be a vital national resource.”


Note to editors: The Canada Research Chairs Program, funded by the Government of Canada, is designed to attract the best talent from Canada and around the world, helping universities achieve research excellence in natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, and social sciences and humanities. Chairholders improve Canadians' depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen the country's international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of highly-skilled people.

Since its launch in 2000, the Chairs program has created 1689 research professorships at 73 universities across Canada . Of these positions, 539 have been filled by researchers recruited from abroad, including 243 Canadian expatriates. When fully implemented, the program will support 2,000 Chairs across the country. Applications to renew a chairholder's appointment undergo the same rigorous peer review used to evaluate the initial nomination.

For more information on this announcement, including detailed research profiles for each chairholder, visit our website at:

Media contact:
Véronique Gendron
Media Relations Advisor
Canada Research Chairs Program
(613) 996-8373

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