We use biodiversity as an index for environmental health, yet when looking at the different fields in biodiversity science, equity and inclusion are still lacking. Let us work together to create an inclusive, diverse and equitable environment for all.
A person who identifies with more than one of these groups – for example, a woman with a disability – may experience multi-faceted discrimination or oppression, which is referred to as intersectionality or intersecting factors (see Women and Gender Equality Canada’s definition of “intersecting factors”).
Unconscious bias is an attitude, stereotype, motivation, or assumption that may manifest itself without the knowledge or control or intent of the person displaying the bias. Unconscious bias is a product of people’s life experiences and no one is immune to it. Everyone has implicit or unconscious bias. Examples include gender, cultural, racial/ethnic, age, language and institutional biases. Over time, decisions based on unconscious biases can have a cumulative effect that ultimately has a significant impact on the lives and opportunities of those involved.
QCBS EDI Plan
This section presents the QCBS declaration of engagement and scaffolding for our current EDI action plan.
Our Declaration of Engagement
The Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science (QCBS)
affirms that a scientific community built on the values of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) benefits the quality of life of members, the quality of research, and facilitates the impact of research,
recognizes that there are systemic barriers in the research environment that prevent or slow the participation of underrepresented, visible and non-visible minorities, including Aboriginal people, LGBTQ2S+ people, women, and people with disabilities,
is fully committed to supporting the values of EDI as a priority, as which are inherently beneficial, and as a factor of excellence.
In support of its declaration of engagement, the QCBS
adheres to the “Dimensions” Charter of the three funding institutions and applies its principles in the organization of events and in the evaluation of funding applications,
established an EDI Advisory Committee composed of co-researchers, student, post-doctoral, and research professional representatives, and institutional representatives, to coordinate and support EDI actions,
consults with the QCBS community on a regular basis to obtain quantitative and qualitative information on the status and perceptions of EDI issues within the QCBS, while respecting privacy,
adopted an EDI action plan, based on the recommendations of working groups or open forums, working in conjunction with the EDI Advisory Committee,
invests a portion of its funding to support the implementation of its EDI objectives and to ensure the sustainability of the EDI components of all its initiatives,
adopted a code of conduct for all QCBS organized or funded events, including anonymous reporting mechanisms,
established, as a result of the first EDI consultation, targets for representation in both the leadership of the Centre and in funded projects,
communicates on its website the status of EDI at the QCBS and of the targets set.
EDI Action Plan outline
Furthermore, in support of its statement of commitment to EDI, the Quebec Biodiversity Science Centre (QCBS) will put in place specific procedures. The purpose of this section is to propose a structure for the supervision of EDI activities, and outline our EDI action plan. For detailed descriptions of the definitions of EDI used at the QCBS, please see the start of this page.
Structure for EDI activities
The QCBS encourages its entire community to identify EDI issues, and establishes institutional support to facilitate and sustain initiatives to address them. These initiatives form the basis of the EDI action plan. The governance of EDI issues involves two groups: the EDI Advisory Committee, which coordinates activities and projects and advises the Centre’s management; and the EDI Forum, which is open to the entire QCBS and provides a space to incubate initiatives, express ideas or frustrations.
The EDI Advisory Committee is made up of a representative of the co-researchers, a representative of the student community, a representative of the post-doctoral fellows, a representative of the research professionals, and representatives of the EDI offices of our main partner institutions (McGill, U. de Montréal, U. de Sherbrooke, U. Laval). Center representatives are appointed or elected for two-year terms.
The mandate of the EDI Advisory Committee is to:
1. Draft a recommended EDI action plan (2021), which will then be co-developed with the Centre’s management
2. Identify EDI issues and best practices
3. Propose EDI targets and update them (once a year)
4. Provide recommendations to center management (if needed, during the 3 annual meetings)
5. Provide recommendations for revisions to the EDI action plan (once a year)
6. Propose working groups within the EDI forum (if needed, during the 3 annual meetings)
7. Receive and track incidents via firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Present an EDI status report at the annual symposium, based on the results of the annual survey.
The committee meets once per session, and once more during the annual symposium (December).
The EDI Forum brings together all initiatives from members or proposed by the Advisory Committee, and is open to all members of the Centre. It meets once a year during the annual symposium and the different working groups form, meet and disband as needed. Each EDI Forum working group will have a member of the Advisory Committee to facilitate the exchange of information. The EDI Forum will be responsible for updating the code of conduct for each annual symposium in collaboration with the organizing committee.
Outline of the Action Plan
Baseline Assessment: The QCBS will conduct a survey of its entire membership to (i) assess the diversity of its membership, (ii) identify issues raised by members in terms of equity, diversity and inclusion, and (iii) provide information for setting EDI targets. Anonymous participation in the survey will be mandatory upon registration with QCBS (and annually thereafter), and will be a condition of access to funding. Results (targets set/actual) will be updated on the QCBS website and presented at the annual symposium.
Priority Issues: In conjunction with the drafting of the initial EDI action plan, the QCBS will initiate action on three priority issues:
- Member consultation: in order to encourage member involvement in the EDI forum, the QCBS will use the usual communication channels (newsletter, website, social networks) to (i) inform members of the establishment of the EDI Advisory Committee and the Declaration of Engagement and (ii) solicit live feedback on priority issues.
- Formalization of governance around EDI issues: as part of the consultation with members, the Advisory Committee will produce an initial document articulating the governance structure to clarify the mode of communication between members, the EDI Forum, the Advisory Committee and the Centre’s management. This document will be used to guide the drafting of the EDI action plan.
- Evaluation methods: the advisory committee will produce, as a priority, a series of recommendations on the evaluation of funding applications from co-researchers or students, aimed at reducing the expression of implicit bias. These recommendations will cover a range of practices including, for example, anonymous review, the creation of dedicated funding to support EDI objectives, particularly to encourage persistence in research, and the criteria for evaluating EDI components of funding applications.
Training: The QCBS, through student initiatives at the annual symposium, has already done some training and awareness work with members. The EDI action plan should contain recommendations on training in EDI issues; in particular, the advisory committee could propose to management that part of this training be made mandatory for members involved in the leadership of the center (management, axis leaders, event and training organizers, etc.) and for students who are new to the QCBS. These training sessions will be based as much as possible on the means put in place by partner institutions.
EDI policies in government agencies
Provincial Government – The Chief Scientist (Science in Québec) Agenda on Equity, diversity and inclusion
Provinical government – FRQNT & EDI
Federal government – Canada Research Chairs Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Requirements and Practices
Federal government – NSERC/CRSNG Tri-Agency Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
EDI in our partner universities
McGill University – Equity at McGill
Concordia University – Working toward equity, diversity and inclusion
Université de Montréal – Équité, diversité et inclusion
UQAC – Équité, diversité, inclusion
Université Laval – L’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion à l’Université Laval
Université de Sherbrooke – L’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion à l’UdeS
Bishops’ University – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Previously At the QCBS
(2020) Our code of conduct – QCBS 2020 symposium code of conduct . Ideas for a more general code applying to the QCBS events and not only the annual meeting were also discussed.
(2020) The Beagle Team and EDI – The Beagle adds EDI category to posts
(2019) The First North American Dialogue on Biocultural Diversity – Promoting exchange and co-creation of knowledge between different actors, the Dialogue contributed to better understandings of the interlinkages between biological and cultural dimensions of diversity, and the implications for resource management and decision-making processes.
(2019) QCBS EDI workshop – How can we work towards a fairer academic environment?, with invited guest speaker Madeleine Peters from University of Toronto.
(2018) Symposium 2018: Diversity in STEMM – Included talks on diversity in STEMM as well as training opportunities for women in the QCBS network.
Links to organizations involved in EDI work:
oSTEM – Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) is a non-profit professional association for LGBTQ+ people in the STEM community
Canadian Black Scientist Network – The Canadian Black Scientists Network exists to Elevate, make Visible, Celebrate and Connect Black Canadians in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Medicine (STEMM) across sectors.
SCWIST – The Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology is a not-for-profit society that specializes in improving the presence and influence of women and girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in Canada
IndigeSTEAM – IndigeSTEAM ‘s mission is the provision of Indigenous-led and culturally-relevant programming in STEM/STEAM to support a better future for Indigenous youth in STEM.