aerial photo of the campus in the fall season

Frequently Asked Questions

Applicant Equity Census

VIU values human diversity in all its dimensions and is committed to achieving and ensuring equitable, diverse, and inclusive learning and working environments. In 2021, VIU released its EDI Action Plan pledging to weave equity, diversity, and inclusion measures across all of the university’s planning. 

This plan enables VIU to focus on 6 key priorities to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion for members of the VIU community. These 6 key priorities include:

  1. Ensure that VIU’s Institutional Policies, Procedures, and Processes Support EDI
  2. Support VIU Learners and Employees to Demonstrate Equitable and Inclusive Behaviour
  3. Help More Learners from Equity-Deserving Groups Enrol and Thrive at VIU
  4. Support More Employees from Equity-Deserving Groups to Apply, be Hired, and Thrive at VIU
  5. Make VIU’S Facilities, Learning Design, and Teaching Practices More Accessible and Inclusive
  6. Embrace EDI Best Practices in VIU’S Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity.

Job applicants are asked to voluntarily provide diversity data to ensure VIU has an accurate picture of who is applying. This is necessary to understand whether there are any potential biases or systemic barriers within VIU’s policies and processes and where changes may be needed to increase the diversity of job applicants and employees.
Your information will help us determine where we are now so we can set realistic equity, diversity and inclusion goals and measure our progress. In turn, we’re able to create plans and strategies that improve the work experience of VIU employees.

During this first phase of implementation of the job applicant census, the data will not be used to guide hiring decisions. The census will help build an understanding of who our job applicants are and create a baseline for further comparison.   

The four designated groups (FDGs) as identified by the Employment Equity Act due to their underrepresentation in the Canadian labour force are women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and racialized peoples. VIU recognizes that groups other than those in the Employment Equity Act have historically met barriers in the workplace that limit their full and active participation, such as persons who identify as belonging to a minority gender identity and/or sexual orientation group. VIU considers all of the above groups as equity-deserving groups.

There is ample evidence of discrimination and systemic barriers that limit the participation of women, racialized people, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons who identify as belonging to a minority gender identity and/or sexual orientation group in the Canadian workforce.

Collecting data on these groups does not mean the university is only concerned about improving the work experience for these employees. In fact, research shows that making the workplace more diverse, equitable and inclusive for these groups benefits all employees.

How you identify is personal and the choices provided may not fit with how you see yourself as an individual. As imperfect as it might be to group people in this way, we cannot assess our equity, diversity and inclusion progress without doing so. It's important to note that we are not asking you to consider yourself part of these groups for any other purpose or to label yourself with this terminology.

We are asking you to consider whether you identify as part of these groups to help the university understand the diversity of its job applicants not only overall, but also at different levels, in different types of jobs, and in different areas of the university. The data will help us track our progress toward reflecting the diversity of our students and community across the university.

Please self-identify in all groups that apply to you.

Yes. It is important for all job applicants to submit a survey response so VIU has an accurate picture of who is applying. Plus, employment equity involves all job applicants and employees: policies and programs that support members of designated groups like best practices for hiring, flexible work hours, family-friendly measures and accommodation of persons with disabilities, support and benefit all employees.

Yes. It is important for all job applicants to submit a response so VIU has an accurate picture of who is applying.

If you do not feel comfortable self-identifying, you have the option to choose “Prefer not to answer” for each question.

No. Your responses are collected on your profile in our recruitment system.  You can update or make any changes to your information as needed by logging in to your profile.

Access to the data collected in the Applicant Equity Census is strictly limited to select employees in, or designated agents of, the Human Resources Office, and to select Information Technology employees for maintenance and troubleshooting purposes. These individuals are required to keep this information confidential. Self-identification information is not part of your application and will not be accessible to search committee members. Anonymized self-identification data may be shared with search committee chairs for the purpose of helping to ascertain whether there is a diverse pool of qualified applicants and aiding in decision-making with respect to the shortlisting and job offer process. Your responses are only accessible to a few individuals whose job it is to produce diversity reports for recruitment, retention, and strategic planning purposes. Your self-identification information will be combined with the self-identification information of others and reported out at a group level so that you cannot be identified.

VIU collects, uses, discloses and retains personal information only in compliance with the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). VIU collects the personal information on this form pursuant to section 26 (c) and (e) of FIPPA.

No, your responses collected are confidential but not anonymous.

The data will be used to set equity, diversity and inclusion goals; develop action plans; and report on progress. It will also be used to inform strategies for improving the job application experience and climate for applicants, particularly those from equity-seeking groups.

No, your responses will not result in someone contacting you about accommodation needs in the hiring process. If you require accommodation to participate in the recruitment process, please advise the representative who contacts you to coordinate the interview.

Submitting the Applicant Equity Census is voluntary. Your application will be accepted regardless of whether or not you complete the survey.

Employment Equity is an approach designed to ensure that all job applicants and employees have a fair chance in the workplace. It is achieved when no person is denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to their skills, knowledge and experience.  Employment equity also aims to correct historic disadvantage in employment experienced by equity-deserving groups.

The ultimate objective of Employment Equity is full participation in employment of all designated groups according to their availability in the work force.

No. VIU's commitment to employment equity does not mean the university will hire or promote unqualified people. The goal of selection is always to find the candidate who best meets the criteria specific to that position. Where knowledge, skills and abilities are equal, and one candidate is also a member of a traditionally under-represented group (identified as being a member of one or more of the 5 most basic diversity dimensions), we would additionally consider that individual’s ability to contribute to our goal of addressing historic under-representation, as an additional asset they brought to the job competition.

No. Employment Equity works to remove barriers faced by all employees. It provides opportunity to equally qualified candidates who have been denied opportunities in the past for reasons other than their skills, knowledge and experience.

The goal of VIU’s Employment Equity approach is a discrimination-free workplace where all employees and job applicants receive equitable hiring, training and promotion opportunities. We believe all employees will be able to work and grow best in a welcoming, inclusive workplace.

The term ‘systemic barriers’ refers to situations, policies and/or practices, which unfairly exclude members of the designated groups from taking part in the workplace. These “barriers” are varied and can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • sexism, racism or prejudices which manifest in the workplace
  • physical barriers which prevent people with disabilities from accessing or participating fully in the workplace
  • lack of access to education or training
  • lack of accommodation of family responsibilities (caregivers of young children or elderly parents)
  • career interruption if when, for health, family or other reasons, a candidate is out of the workforce for an extended period of time (e.g., pregnancy, early childcare, eldercare, illness, etc.) which can impact access to hiring, training and/or promotion opportunities
  • "chilly climate": environment which has the effect of excluding or undermining a person or a group of people in a working environment
  • lack of awareness of cross-cultural issues (particularly in communications)

Systemic discrimination occurs when groups of people are excluded from the workplace for reasons not related to job requirements. It results from entrenched policies or practices that are part of the normal operation of employment systems which unintentionally discriminate. Often hidden, systemic discrimination has an adverse effect on equity-deserving groups.

For questions about specific jobs, your application, or the recruitment process, please contact our Recruitment Team. For questions about the collection, use and/or disclosure of your personal information, please contact the Privacy Officer.