One year after U of T pledged to publicly release on students, faculty, and staff as part of the Universities Canada Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence (APIE), the university said that it still has no timeline for a demographic census for students.
The purpose of the APIE from Universities Canada — an advocacy association for Canadian universities — was to better understand diversity and demographics in universities across the country and to develop support for underrepresented groups.
The pledge, announced on October 26, 2017, is non-binding. However, all Canadian university leaders agreed to implement or improve equity, inclusion, and diversity at their institutions.
In a statement to The Varsity, Vice-Provost Students Sandy Welsh said that the university plans to conduct a student census, but has yet to develop a timeline for when that will happen.
“We’ve replaced our student information system with a new one that we hope will allow us to collect this information.”
U of T’s 2016–2017 Employment Equity Report is the last published demographics report that the university has; it surveyed staff and faculty on gender, race, Indigeneity, sexual orientation, and disabilities.
There is currently no publicly released demographic data on U of T students.
Universities Canada reaffirmed its commitment to the action plan one year after its announcement and has developed an online tool to track various practices and policies at postsecondary institutions across the country.
In a statement on its website, Universities Canada President Paul Davidson expressed his confidence in the work that member institutions have made toward the five-year action plan.
“The high level of commitment and involvement from all levels of the university community gives us confidence that we can indeed make a difference in improving equality of opportunity on university campuses over the coming years.”
The advocacy organization said that it plans to conduct a survey this fall to determine the progress that Canadian universities have made toward the pledge of increased equity, inclusion, and diversity.
However, details are lacking in regards to how both U of T and Universities Canada plan to fulfil the pledge.
In a statement to The Varsity, Nadine Robitaille, Communications Manager at Universities Canada, reiterated that the survey will be conducted across the organization’s 96 member institutions.
Robitaille also confirmed that while Universities Canada currently has data on gender balances in university leadership, the demographic data to be collected will be “for across the country, not granular down to the individual university.”
Editor’s Note (November 26, 7:00 pm): This article’s previous headline stated that there was no public demographic data on faculty or staff. This is incorrect: the university releases an annual report on this data. The Varsity regrets the error.