Human Rights Complaint concerning the Canada Research Chairs Program
As posted on PAR-L in november 2003
The eight university professors who initiated a human rights complaint
against Industry Canada over discrimination in the Canada Research Chairs
Program regretfully report that mediation by the Canadian Human Rights
Comission to resolve the complaint has failed.
The complaints, filed by eight faculty members from universities across
Canada, point to the very small allocation of the 2,000 chairs to people
from groups protected by human rights legislation. For example, the latest
figures on the Canada Research Chairs web site show that 1,035 Chairs have
been awarded to date; of these only 175 (17%) have been awarded to women.
Complete data are not available for any other equity-seeking group.
Industry Canada is responsible for the design and implementation of the $900
million program. The complainants hope that the complaint process will
result in the kinds of changes that will make the hiring of the Chairs
transparent and fair in all cases, and will avoid secretive,
The complainants also challenge the small allocation to the
humanities and social sciences, disciplines which involve the majority of
Canadian students and professors.
Although mediation has failed, the eight complainants will continue to
pursue the issues with the Human Rights Commission. They feel strongly that
federal government programs should be in conformity with Canadian law and
the international agreements that Canada has signed to protect individuals
The eight faculty members who filed complaints are:
Marjorie Griffin Cohen (Simon Fraser University)
Louise Forsyth (Emerita - University of Saskatchewan)
Glenis Joyce (University of Saskatchewan)
Audrey Kobayashi (Queen's University)
Shree Mulay (McGill University)
Michèle Ollivier (Université d'Ottawa)
Susan Prentice (University of Manitoba)
Wendy Robbins (University of New Brunswick)
The human rights complaint has been endorsed unanimously by the CAUT
Council, which represents unionized faculty all across Canada.