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Frequently Asked Questions

We’re asking all employees to complete the Diversity Self-Identification. We want our community to understand why we’re asking you to do this, as well as how we've developed our process and what we plan to do with the information. We've collected a list of common questions below and encourage you to review each. 

Have a question that's not listed here? Check out our contact information below.

Our initial report was produced with summary self-identification data from the Diversity Self-ID survey and establishes a baseline of the diversity of employees in 2014.

Subsequent reports will track our progress toward having our faculty and staff reflect the diversity of our students and community.

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 work experience and climate for employees, particularly those from equity-seeking groups.

The information is stored in your eHR record and is available to you through employee self service. Beyond your access, your responses are only accessible to a few individuals in HR and EDI whose job it is to produce diversity reports for recruitment, retention, and strategic planning purposes. 

Read more about privacy and confidentiality.

There is ample evidence of discrimination and systemic barriers that limit the participation of women, visible minorities/racialized people, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and 2SLGBTQ+ people 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. The existing terminology, which comes primarily from the federal government’s Employment Equity legislation and the Federal Contractors’ program, is also considered to be offensive by some people. As the community raises these issues and as organizations such as the Ontario Human Rights Commission make changes to the terminology they use, Ryerson will consider, consult and make changes to the language we use.

As difficult 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 yourself to consider you 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 faculty and staff 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.

The Diversity Self-ID reports are prepared for all members of the Ryerson community, particularly our employees. We ask you to “Count yourself in” and trust that you can see yourself reflected in these reports.

Building equity, diversity and inclusion at the university is a shared responsibility of all Ryerson community members – it’s important that you are informed about the numbers so you can incorporate the information in your plans, decision-making and actions.

As a university in one of the most dynamic and diverse cities in the world, Ryerson aspires to reflect its students and surrounding community. The first strategy of Ryerson’s academic plan, Our Time to Lead is to “attract and retain high-quality faculty and staff with diverse backgrounds.” 

The Diversity Self-ID report can help spark discussions about the barriers and biases that can limit progress towards achieving our goals; identify ways to remove those barriers; reduce the impact of biases; and help us take action to create a more inclusive community for all. The reports allow us to assess the effectiveness of our diversity initiatives and make changes to our plans where necessary.

Diversity in an organization, particularly in an educational institution, has been shown to improve critical thinking skills. Combined with equity and inclusion, diversity helps to prepare our students to succeed in a pluralistic society, with more and more individuals who have diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences.

As the conclusion of the report indicates, “Our academic plan sets out the framework for inclusion. And while progress has been made, there is still more work to do. Now it’s up to each and every one of us to take the data presented in this report and move even further.”

The report provides highlights of data to tell the story of Ryerson’s diversity. Overall Ryerson’s workforce is diverse, but that diversity isn’t evenly distributed. The data included in the report illustrates this fact. 

Future reports will include more disaggregated data, as this is a best practice for identifying barriers and setting goals.

There is more data available for Ryerson community members online, including representation of equity groups by:

  • employee group;
  • faculty and administrative department;
  • occupational groups;
  • faculty by rank/status;
  • and faculty.

This information is available by accessing Beyond 20/20, the software program Ryerson uses to display institutional data. For assistance, please refer to the Guide to Interactive Statistics on the University Planning website.

The percentages in the report reflect the representation of employees who self-identified as part of one or more equity group(s), as a portion of employees who completed the survey. This is why we’ve provided the response rate, so that you can better contextualize the data.

If 50% of employees identified as women, it doesn’t mean that the other 50% of employees were men. The other 50% includes those who indicated that they don’t identify as women as well as those who indicated they preferred not to answer the question.

We could have removed those who indicated they preferred not to answer the question, but this would likely have resulted in overstating the representation of equity-seeking groups since it reduces the denominator used to calculate the percentages. With any survey, there will always be limitations. However, the data in the report does provide a good snapshot of the representation of equity-seeking groups for the period covered in the report.

Further, employees can identify as part of any equity group they consider themselves part of, so they may be counted more than once in the data. For example, one employee could identify as a woman, Aboriginal person, person with a disability and as an 2SLGBTQ+ employee. With this in mind, the data doesn’t tell us about the representation of those who do not belong to any of the equity groups.

Visit the data access and organization information for more information about the data and explanations for terminology used in the report.

The Diversity Self-ID report refers to the data as a snapshot because it reflects the representation of equity groups based on active employees on March 1 of a given year.

The data on recruitment and promotion/career progression is for the period from August 16 of one year to August 15 of the following year.

Exit data covers several years at a time because the numbers involved in any one year are often too small to report on.

Ryerson’s workforce changes depending on the time of year. Because of this, the representation changes depending on when you look at it. March 1 is selected as the date for reporting because it is one of the times we have peak employment and we can get a good sense of the representation of employees who work full-time as well as those who work temporarily during the academic year, such as teaching and graduate assistants.

Overall, the idea is to understand the picture of representation the data provides.

Ryerson aspires to have its employees reflect the diversity of its students and the community. To help us to see how we are doing, we include available comparison information.

This is largely due to the availability of data about larger community representation outside of Ryerson.

Most of the community representation data comes from Statistics Canada, from the National Household Survey (NHS), censuses or special surveys, which currently only provide Ontario representation data for persons with disabilities.

While we do have data from Statistics Canada on the representation of Aboriginal peoples in the GTA, given the fact that many Aboriginal peoples live in indigenous communities outside of the GTA, the Ontario data is included in the report as well.

Statistics Canada's NHS and Census data currently does not provide information about the representation of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. However, the Toronto Public Health survey conducted in 2001 provides some idea of the representation of this group in the city, even if it is outdated.

Data about Aboriginal peoples, women and visible minority/racialized people

The GTA and Ontario data used to compare representation of Aboriginal employees, women and visible minority/racialized employees at Ryerson comes from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) data produced by Statistics Canada.

Data about employees with disabilities

The Ontario data used to compare representation of employees with disabilities at Ryerson comes from the 2012 Statistics Canada survey on persons with disabilities in Canada.

Data about 2SLGBTQ+ employees

Toronto data used for comparison with the representation of 2SLGBTQ+ employees at Ryerson comes from a 2001 Toronto Public Health survey.

Student data is provided in reports to compare student representation of equity groups with employee representation of those groups.

Just as there are challenges in finding appropriate community information, there are similar challenges finding data about the representation of students from equity groups at Ryerson that can be used for comparison with employee data from the Diversity Self-ID.  

Data on the presentation of women students at Ryerson

Student data in the section about women comes from the 2013/14 student enrolment data published on Ryerson's website.

Data on the representation of visible minority/racialized students, Aboriginal students and students with disabilities at Ryerson

Student comparison data in the sections about visible minorities/racialized employees, Aboriginal employees and employees with disabilities comes from self-identification data from the 2014 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). It is limited because the survey only includes students in their first and fourth year who are in full-time programs. With this in mind, it’s likely that the data understates the representation of students from equity seeking groups, particularly Aboriginal students and students with disabilities.

Data on 2SLGBTQ+ students at Ryerson

Student comparison data included in the section about 2SLGBTQ+ employees comes from the 2013 ACHA-NCHA-I Health Assessment survey, in which Ryerson students participated and self-identified. Based on the methodology used and the response rate, it provides a reliable estimate of the representation of this group amongst Ryerson students.

Data about the increase in Aboriginal students

In the section about Aboriginal employees, data was also included about the increase in representation of Aboriginal students. This data was provided by Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services.