Employment Equity Survey

All UBC employees are asked to complete a confidential online survey that helps inform our understanding of the demographic composition of faculty and staff. This survey is one way to examine patterns and trends in employment across the university. A few minutes of your time spent completing this survey will provide UBC with better and more accurate data to advance equity and inclusion in our workplaces.


Survey Update

We recognize that some of you may have already completed a version of this survey prior to October 6th, 2021. If so, please complete the latest version of the survey that was made available after October 6th, 2021.

Based on feedback received, we developed and now released a new and enhanced version of the survey. It offers more options for self-identification and uses up-to-date terminology to allow for an enhanced analysis and understanding of the composition and diversity of UBC’s workforce.

At UBC, we are committed to advancing employment equity. Still, we know that some in our community continue to experience inequities. As a university, we’re committed to doing better, to building more inclusive and equitable teaching and working spaces, and to creating a workforce that is reflective of the diversity of the student body and the wider community.

The Employment Equity Survey is an important part of these efforts and one way that you can help build a more inclusive UBC, today. By counting yourself in, you will:

  • provide valuable data on the composition and diversity of UBC’s workforce;
  • inform employment equity goals which improve our recruitment and retention practices;
  • assess progress in terms of advancing the Employment Equity Plan;
  • support institutional accountability by allowing us to track and report on progress and trends;
  • help towards ensuring that everyone benefits from a fair and equitable workplace.

UBC employees are required to complete the survey, however, providing responses to the survey questions is optional.

Complete the Survey

If needed, you can also complete a PDF version of the survey. If completing the PDF, please contact Sahir Moosvi, Data Analyst, for details on how to submit it.

Privacy and Confidentiality

We understand that some of you may feel vulnerable and hesitant to share your information. We hear you. All data collected is confidential, analyzed anonymously, and presented on an aggregate level – no one is identified by name. All data is stored on secure UBC systems, is confidential, and individual responses are not shared with your manager or supervisor.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Employment Equity

We understand employment equity as expanding access to employment opportunities for all – particularly as we work to address historical and systemic disadvantages faced by federally designated groups – Indigenous peoples, racialized people, people with disabilities, and women – as well as those who identify with diverse sexual orientations or gender identities. 

As a university, we have clear commitments to equity, diversity and inclusion, including through the university's strategic plan and the Inclusion Action Plan (IAP).  

The emerging research is unequivocal: diversity enhances innovation, and inclusive spaces are required to ensure that diverse teams are able to collaborate effectively. As the world becomes more connected, and UBC focuses on contributing to global citizenship and finding solutions to complex issues, our commitments to equity, diversity, and inclusion support our continuing progress.

More diverse people means more diverse ideas and more diverse solutions to problems. 

About the Survey

Every five years, we engage in a more pro-active and invested approach to inviting employees to complete the employment equity survey. This process is called the census. The survey is the mechanism to conduct the census and it remains available throughout the year to employees to update or complete. Regardless, survey data is downloaded each year at the end of October and is used to produce the annual Employment Equity Report. 

You can access the survey here.

If you completed the survey prior to October 6th, 2021, please fill it out again as questions and answer options have changed. Completing the survey should take approximately five minutes and it will ensure that your data is accurate and up-to-date and that decisions we make using this data are well informed. You can see how the survey has changed here. 

The university collects this data to understand the demographic composition of faculty and staff, assess barriers to equitable participation among under-represented groups, and analyze, track and report on barriers, gaps, and successes, as well as present trends in support of evidence-based decision-making to advance employment equity and institutional accountability and transparency.

In short, the data helps us understand: 

  • current and changing faculty and staff demographics; 
  • patterns and trends, as well as gaps or inequities in employment, promotion and retention;  
  • differences in employees’ experiences; and 
  • progress towards institutional commitments. 

Employment Equity Survey aligns with the British Columbia Human Rights Code’s aim to “foster a society in B.C. where there are no impediments to full and free participation in the economic, social, political and cultural life of B.C.”, and with UBC’s employment equity policy and plan, which follow the guidelines of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. 

At times, depending on the level of university’s contracting through the Federal Contractors Program, we may be required to report employment equity data to satisfy the requirements of participation in the program. 

All employees – faculty and staff – who have been employed for at least three months are asked to complete the survey. 

At this time, we are asking all UBC employees to complete the census. Different data sets are used by the different programs to support their work. For instance, the Employment Equity Report only provides information on those people employed for three months or more while programs like Dimensions is seeking a broader range of representation data. 

While employees are required to fill out the survey, if you prefer not to disclose personal information you can select the “Prefer not to answer” option.  

While completing the survey is a requirement, at this time there are no measures in place to promote compliance. 

For each reporting year, the anonymized survey data is downloaded at the end of October. Once downloaded, the data are analyzed and results are compiled into the Employment Equity Report and presented at an aggregate level.  

Individual responses are never shared with your manager, supervisor, head of unit or department. Information is only shared in aggregate. 

Overall, aggregate level results are presented to the Board of Governors as part of accountability efforts, to communicate progress, and to inform decision-making. Reports are also shared with administrative and academic leadership in order to inform recruitment and retention practices. 

Survey data results support the university’s evidence-based approach to decision-making around resource allocation, program and policy developments, and action and strategic plan implementation related to equity, diversity and inclusion. 

UBC Equity & Inclusion Office (EIO) is responsible for the survey development and employee engagement. EIO works with UBC's Planning and Institutional Research Office (PAIR) to analyze survey data. EIO also works with the Integrated Service Centre (ISC) to program the survey into WorkDay and provide managed access to UBC employees. 

The Associate Vice President, Equity & Inclusion is the data steward for all employment equity data.  She designates one person within the Equity & Inclusion Office and two individuals within PAIR who have access to record level data.  

Personally identifiable information is not accessible to UBC staff or leadership and, as a result, there is no way for someone to gain knowledge of your personal identity data from this survey. 

Aggregate level data may be used to inform recruitment and selection processes and, as a result, some positions may be designated as seeking preferential hiring for those from under-represented, federally designated groups.  

Likewise, survey data may inform development of programs to support under-represented employees in terms of career advancement, including mentorship and/or sponsorship programs. 

Yes. Many if not all public post-secondary institutions collect employment equity data.

About Your Privacy

Employment equity data is collected to comply with the Federal Employment Equity Act, the Federal Contractors Program, and the British Columbia Human Rights Commission. 

The survey information will be used only to comply with the Federal Employment Equity Act and Regulations. All census information remains strictly confidential and will not be used or disclosed except to comply with Act 9(3), Regulation 3(6) (b) of the Federal Employment Equity Act, 1995. No individual is ever identified. 

The Census aligns with the purposes of the British Columbia Human Rights Code to “foster a society in B.C. where there are no impediments to full and free participation in the economic, social, political and cultural life of B.C.”, and with UBC’s employment equity program, which follows the guidelines of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. 

Information you provide is protected by section 26 (a) and (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and will be treated in strictest confidence. 

The information is stored in a secure database accessed only by designated staff in the Equity & Inclusion Office and Planning & Institutional Research (PAIR). IT Personnel from Human Resources Management Systems provide technical support.  

The information you provide will not form part of your personnel file. 

The survey data will not be made available for purposes other than employment equity programs, and will be reported in an aggregate, summarized form which does not identify individuals, to protect your privacy. 

The survey data will not be made available to any other organization, though publications of aggregated and summarized reports will be available on UBC’s website. 

Individuals will not be provided with information on others. 

Access to the data is restricted and only a limited number of employees designated by the Associate Vice-President, Equity & Inclusion as needing access for analysis purposes can download anonymized data.  

The survey is not anonymous so that you can update your information at any time, so that we can connect identity-related information with job categories and/or occupational groups, and also update the data should an employees status at the university change (leaving the university and/or changing positions, for example). 

The only people who are able to see record level data are the limited number of individuals designated by the Academic Vice-Provost, Equity & Inclusion in the Equity and Inclusion Office and PAIR.  

Data is stored in Canada and on UBC's secure systems.

Aggregate level data is provided to institutional decision-makers (e.g. Deans, Associate Deans, Managing Directors) and is reported annually through mechanisms such as the Employment Equity Report, the Focus on People annual Report and the Canada Research Chair Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan. 

About the Federal Contractors Program

The Federal Contractors Program requires that organizations who do business with the Government of Canada implement employment equity in their workplace. Organizations with a contract for goods and services with the federal government valued over $1 million dollars sign an Agreement to Implement Employment Equity (AIEE).

Employers subject to the Federal Contractors Program are required to collect, analyze and report on workforce data pertaining to the four designated groups under the Employment Equity Act. More details about the requirements for the FCP Program can be found here: https://equity.esdc.gc.ca/sgiemt-weims/emp/WeimsEET.jsp.

The four designated groups under the Employment Equity Act are:

  1. women;
  2. Indigenous Peoples;
  3. persons with disabilities;
  4. and members of visible minorities.

The table below provides the description of each designated group, as written in the Act, and the correlating description in UBC’s employment equity survey. UBC's Employment Equity Survey was revised in 2020/2021 to improve overall participation and to respond to feedback indicating the need to eliminate outdated and irrelevant terminology.

The federal definitions are currently under review as part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to modernize and strengthen its employment equity framework. In the interim, UBC continues to collect data through its current employment equity survey but will report them to the FCP as the designated groups.

Designated Group  Employment Equity Act definition  UBC’s Employment Equity Survey definition 
Indigenous Peoples  Persons who are Indians, Inuit or Métis  Indigenous peoples include treaty, status/non-status, and/or registered/non-registered members of First Nations, Métis or Inuit. 
Members of visible minorities  Persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour  Someone who is racialized, a visible minority, person of colour, or an analogous term. Members of racialized groups are persons who do not identify as Indigenous peoples (as defined above), and who do not identify as primarily White in race, ethnicity, origin, and/or colour, regardless of their birthplace or citizenship. 
Persons with Disabilities  Persons who have a long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric or learning impairment and who 


(a) consider themselves to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment, or 


(b) believe that a employer or potential employer is likely to consider them to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment, 


and includes persons whose functional limitations owing to their impairment have been accommodated in their current job or workplace 


Has a significant and persistent or recurring mobility, sensory, learning, or other physical or mental health impairment; 

Experiences functional restrictions or limitations of your ability to perform the range of life’s activities related to a significant and persistent or recurring mobility, sensory, learning, or other physical or mental health impairment; and/or 

Experiences environmental barriers related to a significant and persistent or recurring mobility, sensory, learning, or other physical or mental health impairment that hamper your full and self- directed participation in University activities. 


Yes, you can identify as belonging to multiple designated groups.

About Survey Methodology

The survey should be completed by all employees or trainees who have been employed for a minimum of three months. 

The survey asks employees to self-identify as a member of a federally designated group. In addition, UBC has added questions on sexual orientation and gender identity, adding two additional designated groups. 

The Employment Equity Act identified women, Indigenous peoples, racialized peoples and people with disabilities as social groups whose individual members have been historically denied equal access to employment, education, social services, housing, etc. because of membership in the group. Although sexual and gender minorities are not identified in the Employment Equity Act, UBC recognizes that people with diverse sexual and gender identities may also have experienced discrimination in the above areas. 

Even if you don’t identify within one of the four designated groups you are still asked to complete the survey. 

You are asked to self-identify in all relevant categories. 

While religion is covered by the BC Human Rights Code, specific religious beliefs are not included as part of federally designated groups.

To be included in the count for the current year, employees need to submit their survey by end of October of same year. In 2021, the deadline to provide updated information for the 2021 count is October 29th.

About Using the Data

The annual employment equity report is shared with the Board of Governors, UBC executive leadership, Deans, heads of units, and other leadership, as well as being available to all UBC community members and the broader public. 

Faculty, portfolio, or unit and/or department-level data is shared with the respective leadership and is not necessarily disclosed publicly. The data is also used in the external review of programs and units.