Equity, diversity and inclusion

Equity, diversity and inclusion at the NRC

Emily Harrison

Emily Harrison,
Vice‑President, Human Resources and EDI Champion

The NRC's diversity is a source of our excellence, creativity and innovation. Our respectful and inclusive work environment allows our employees to bring their best to work each day. We work to value equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in all that we do.

In the summer of 2020, the NRC's Vice-President of Human Resources and Departmental Science Advisor and Chief Science Officer were tasked with co-leading a review of the NRC's recruitment, promotion and retention practices to identify short-term actions and systemic issues. This review, which will include consultation with NRC employees, will take place in the fall of 2020 with recommendations to be provided to the NRC's senior executive committee in December 2020. The Human Resources Branch is also leading the NRC's next 3‑year EDI strategy, which is anticipated to be launched in the summer of 2021.


Gender-based analysis (GBA) plus

General information

Institutional GBA+ Capacity

The NRC will continue to formalize its GBA+ framework, accountability and reporting mechanisms. While the NRC does not have a specific GBA+ policy or statement of intent, GBA+ is part of the NRC’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy.

The NRC has integrated GBA+ into many areas of its operations to assess potential impacts of its policies, programs, and initiatives on diverse groups. The intent is to use the framework to help ensure an inclusive approach from ideation through to outcome measurement.

In keeping with this approach, the NRC is:

  • Integrating GBA+ into annual operational plans at the research centre and program level to help in applying GBA+ to existing and new R&D initiatives, program design, and monitoring and evaluation;
  • Including GBA+ in NRC programs, such as NRC IRAP and the Collaborative Science, Technology and Innovation Program (Challenge Programs). GBA+ and EDI strategies are expected to be developed and updated on an evergreen basis;
  • Using a GBA+ lens as part of its formal evaluation of the effectiveness of NRC programs and initiatives;
  • Carrying out training and other capacity building initiatives with Program Directors and Planners across the organization; and
  • Incorporating a GBA+ lens into a pilot project to renew select internal NRC processes.

The Responsibility Centre for GBA+ was established in the Secretary General’s division and the Secretary General fills the role of GBA+ champion for the NRC.

Highlights of GBA+ Results Reporting Capacity by Program
Overall NRC
  • In alignment with the Gender Results Framework, the NRC conducts GBA+ analysis on Cabinet documents (e.g. Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board submissions and budget two-pagers), as well as during program design and in the evaluation of initiatives.
  • The NRC’s Five-Year Strategic Plan, launched in 2019, includes employment equity targets for all research centres, corporate branches, and NRC IRAP. These targets would see each business unit achieve at least labour market availability for each of the under-represented groups (women, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities, and persons with disabilities) by 2024.
  • The NRC continues to build capacity and expand awareness of GBA+ across the organization. To date, this has included policy employees, the NRC planning community, and Program Directors. In addition to refreshing this training, this effort will be expanded to include Vice-President and Director General offices.
  • NRC Human Resources monitors and tracks statistics on under-represented groups, as well as women in STEM. To support these efforts, the NRC has created a streamlined set of EDI standards and performance indicators, and established a regular routine for reporting on EDI progress, which will continue.
  • An EDI Community of Practice is being set up within the NRC to bring together employees with roles that touch on EDI to share information and promote cooperation.
  • The NRC has two mandatory online courses for all staff in areas related to EDI, including a fundamentals course and unconscious bias training. A mandatory course on managing bias in hiring was created for all supervisors, and moving forward, plans are in development for training in targeted areas of the organization.
  • The NRC has established a clear internal portal for EDI information, tools and resources; made progress in ensuring that diversity and inclusive language are reflected in NRC images, posters and materials; adopted inclusive practices such as land acknowledgements in formal gatherings; and supported the formation of grassroots networks and communities (e.g. LGBTQ2). Moving forward, the NRC is analyzing the organization’s needs/approach to address anti-racism/discrimination, including providing additional training and awareness to address racism, and leveraging work underway in the federal public service, including the Black Federal Employee Caucus to provide tools to employees.
  • The NRC has implemented and intends to implement further programs and initiatives with a specific focus on women researchers and students from employment equity designated groups. The recently launched mentoring program for women in STEM careers will continue as an important component of NRC’s efforts to support women in STEM at the NRC.
  • The NRC has an Action Plan in place to assess and improve accessibility of NRC premises, with a goal of compliance by 2021. In addition, the NRC is working on a multi-year plan to comply with the Accessible Canada Act.
  • GBA+ commitments are included in the NRC’s operational plans to assess potential impacts of its policies, programs, and initiatives on diverse groups. The intent is to use the framework to help ensure an inclusive approach from ideation through to outcome measurement.
Research Centres
  • The NRC National Program Office is collecting EDI data on applicants for the New Beginnings Initiative. This collection of EDI data will be expanded to the full suite of NRC research programs.
  • The NRC is including GBA+/EDI considerations in Ideation Fund proposals. Challenge and Global Innovation Clusters Support programs must also have a GBA+ plan and framework.
  • The NRC’s new Environmental Research Strategy has a GBA+ annex. Researchers developing projects in fields related to the environment are encouraged to use these tools to increase the impact of research on diverse groups.
  • A new NRC Challenge Program on quantum sensing is engaging with the Rotman School of Business Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto for a thorough, professional GBA+ analysis. The findings from this analysis will inform the GBA+ approaches for other research work at the NRC.
  • NRC IRAP is implementing an active recruitment system to build a diverse and representative workforce, working with partners to showcase NRC IRAP as an employer of choice, and continuing to build EDI into development and advancement opportunities.
  • NRC IRAP is also working to remove barriers to growth for small and medium-sized companies led by under-represented groups, implement a data collection tool and corresponding business practices to track the diversity of NRC IRAP’s client base, and participate in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy ADM Committee.