Message from the Associate Vice-President: CIHR launches new Equity and Diversity Questionnaire for applicants

May 10, 2018

As Canada's health research investment agency, CIHR manages over 100 funding competitions each year. As outlined in the CIHR Equity Strategy, we are committed to ensuring that all of our programs and peer review processes result in the fair and impartial treatment of all participants. To fulfill this commitment, CIHR must collect data on a number of equity dimensions to allow us to identify and address potential inequities. As of May 15, 2018, application participants for all CIHR programs must complete an Equity and Diversity Questionnaire.

This mandatory questionnaire must be completed before an individual's next application to CIHR can be submitted. The questionnaire consists of five questions, and users should expect to complete it online in approximately 5 minutes using a simple user-friendly form. Once you complete the questionnaire, your information is then saved for future competitions (based on your CIHR Personal Identification Number (PIN)), so it only needs to be submitted once—unless you would like to update your response to a question, which can be done at any time.

The questions were chosen based on the current Self-declaration Form of Members of Designated Employment Equity Groups used for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Employment Equity Data Bank. The wording of each question was then adapted based on consultations. While we recognize that the questionnaire does not include every important diversity dimension, this is only a first phase of data collection and we believe that these elements will give us a better picture of the equity performance of our funding programs. This information will then inform targeted actions in the future.

As you begin to familiarize yourself with this new requirement, I invite you to review the Frequently Asked Questions, How-To Instructions, and video to guide you through the process of completing the questionnaire. Since the questionnaire is a mandatory component of the application process and must be completed by all participants before the application can be submitted, we strongly recommend filling out your own questionnaire well in advance of the eSubmission deadline for any competition to which you may be applying. In fact, anyone with a ResearchNet account will be able to log in to complete their questionnaire immediately, so there is no need to wait for an upcoming competition. If you have any questions or require any technical support to access the questionnaire, please get in touch with the CIHR Contact Centre at

CIHR is also working very closely with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The survey has been developed collaboratively to ensure alignment, as NSERC and SSHRC will be proceeding in a similar manner with their applicants later this year.

As we collect this data and perform analyses, we will continue to keep the research community informed about our progress. We would like to thank all of you, in advance, for your cooperation. We recognize the tremendous work of research community members who are tireless advocates for equity, who bolster the national conversation about equity, and who help strengthen our wonderfully diverse Canadian research ecosystem. We look forward to taking these steps with you.


Adrian Mota
Associate Vice-President
Research, Knowledge Translation and Ethics

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