Employment Equity

The University of Toronto is proud to have a dynamic and diverse community of staff, faculty, alumni and students. We are committed to employment equity and diversity in hiring, and strive to attract candidates from all designated groups in order to help shape the diversity found within our campuses.

Our HR and Equity offices work together to further equity in the recruitment, hiring, retention, training and promotion of faculty and staff and to develop programs that engage under-represented faculty and staff across all three of our campuses.

Employment Equity Survey

To help us develop programs and initiatives to support the diversification of employees at the University, we ask that all faculty & staff complete an employment equity survey. The survey is confidential and voluntary.

The University of Toronto recognizes that our teaching, scholarship and other activities take place in the context of a highly diverse society. The University values this diversity as it contributes to the diversification of ideas and perspectives and thereby enriches our scholarship, teaching and other activities. Therefore, the University aims to have teaching and administrative staffs that mirror the diversity of the pool of potentially qualified applicants for those positions.

The survey is available through Employee Self-Service (ESS).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Employment Equity?

Employment Equity is a program designed to remove barriers to employment for Indigenous / Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, racialized persons / persons of colour, LGBTQ individuals, and women.

Like many equity initiatives, employment equity is ongoing and works to identify and eliminate employment barriers that may exist in procedures and policies. An employment equity program attempts to achieve:

  • A workforce that reflects the diversity of the available labour force
  • Employment systems, policies and practices that support the recruitment, retention and promotion of designated group members
  • Employment systems that ensure all employees have an equitable opportunity to develop their abilities, realize their expectations and make the best contribution possible to the workplace

Why is Employment Equity important to the University of Toronto?

The principles of equity, diversity and inclusion and their fundamental relationship to excellence are at the heart of the mission and values of this University. Maintaining and strengthening this culture of excellence requires ongoing effort and a perpetual commitment to open dialogue and new ideas from all corners. Our equity offices form the core of our efforts to translate policy into practice and culture, provide support, and create and grow engaged communities of thought and action on our campuses.

Contributing to U of T’s commitment to excellence and inclusion requires continued engagement and participation from all members of our teaching, learning, and working communities. To facilitate the evolution of this community, Equity Offices (and those with equity responsibilities) provide resources, training, advocacy, and support across all three campuses.

Everyone at the University of Toronto plays an important role in the continued achievement of employment equity. Collecting employment equity data is just one of the many ways we at the University gather information to help create and grow engaged communities.

Who should complete the Employment Equity Survey?

This survey is intended for all University of Toronto employees – including non-appointed staff (i.e. TAs, other groups) and casual staff. Because this survey collects employment equity data, it will not be distributed to students unless they also hold a staff and / or faculty role at the University.

Why are the questions asked in the way they are written?

The University has adopted the questions and terminology provided by the Federal Government, specifically Statistics Canada and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. All questions and terminology were reviewed and approved by University of Toronto subject matter experts.

How do I complete and return the survey?

Completion of the survey is voluntary, we request that all employees complete the survey online via Employee Self-Service (ESS).

You can access the survey by clicking the ‘My HR & Equity’ tab within Employee Self-Service (see below). Once you answer your security questions, you will be prompted with a direct link to the survey if you have not already completed it.

AWS Homepage with My HR and Equity tab outlined

You can also access the survey via the ‘Personal Information’ section within the ‘My HR & Equity’ tab (see below).

Screenshot of the Personal Information Section of Employee Self-Service

Should you choose not to complete the survey, please submit the incomplete survey (either online or in paper form – see below) to assist us in fulfilling the requirements of the Federal Contractors Program. Please ensure your personnel number is recorded on the survey for reporting purposes, as outlined in the Commitment to Confidentiality below.

Who should I contact for an alternative survey format?

If you require a paper format for accessibility, please contact your HR Divisional Office or hrandequity@utoronto.ca. You can complete and return your survey to either your HR Divisional Office or the Integrated HR (iHR) team in Suite 310, 214 College Street. Please ensure your personnel number is recorded on the survey for reporting purposes, as outlined in the Commitment to Confidentiality below.

How is data from the Employment Equity Survey used?

When you complete the Employment Equity Survey, your confidential response is counted in our workplace analysis. The information is used by various offices at the University to determine programs and initiatives for the upcoming year, and to develop recruitment strategies that ensure the University is representative of our diverse community. This information is then included in the annual Employment Equity report which is provided to Governing Council and posted on the University’s website.

My circumstances are special – where do I fit?

I have dyslexia but with accommodation I am able to perform my job. Is this considered a disability?

Yes, if you require accommodation to perform your job then you are considered a person with a disability.

I have a mental health condition / illness. Is this considered a disability?


I have Crohn’s disease, or epilepsy, or diabetes. Is this considered a disability?

Yes. If you are unsure about your particular situation and would like to speak with someone in confidence please contact the hrandequity@utoronto.ca. No identifying information will be required.

I wear glasses all the time. Is this considered a disability?

It is considered a disability if your eye condition cannot be sufficiently corrected by wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses.

I have a broken leg. Is this considered a disability?

No, it is not considered a disability since your recovery and return to your earlier level of activity are likely to be achieved in time.

I am Chinese and I am a Canadian citizen. Am I considered to be a racialized person / person of colour?

Yes. According to the Federal Government definition, you are considered to be a racialized person / person of colour if you are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour. This definition is not based on place of birth, citizenship or religion.

I am Portuguese / Spanish / Dutch. Am I considered to be a racialized person / person of colour?

No. According to the Federal Government definition, you are considered to be a racialized person / person of colour if you are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour. This definition is not based on place of birth, citizenship or religion.

I am a person of mixed descent, both Cree and Black. How do I identify myself?

A person who is of Indigenous / Aboriginal and racialized person / person of colour  descent can self-identify in both the Aboriginal and racialized person / person of colour  sections.

I believe I fit in to more than one ‘category’. Can I tick more than one box?


I have a question that isn’t listed here. Where can I send it?

If you have any additional questions, please contact the hrandequity@utoronto.ca.

What is the Applicant Diversity Survey?

The University of Toronto is committed to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, and their fundamental relationship to excellence. We collect applicant diversity data to help inform, evaluate and diversify our employee recruitment and talent management strategies. These efforts add to our ongoing work to build an equitable and inclusive community where all members flourish, and to advance employment equity across our three campuses.

The Applicant Diversity Survey includes questions pertaining to the four designated groups as specified in Canada’s Employment Equity Act (i.e. women, aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities). It also queries additional information that helps to advance equity, diversity and inclusion work at U of T, such as ethnocultural identities, gender identity, visible and invisible disabilities, and sexual orientation.

You may choose to decline to answer any of the questions in the survey. Any information directly related to you is confidential and cannot be accessed by search committees or human resources representatives administering the recruitment process. Response data will be aggregated for institutional planning purposes.

Confidentiality and Reporting

The University’s Commitment to Confidentiality below outlines the protection of your privacy and how anonymity in reporting information is maintained.

Our commitment to confidentiality is foundational to the integrity of the survey data and you can be assured that:

  1. The Employment Equity information you provide will be stored in a strictly confidential Employment Equity database and will not be used for any other purpose.
  2. The information you provide on the questionnaire is accessible only to those individuals whose job it is to enter the data and / or to produce the Employment Equity reports. No one else can access this information.
  3. The data you provide will be stored in a strictly confidential employment equity database and will not be used for any other purpose.
  4. The only identification on the questionnaire is your personnel number. This is required by legislation. The personnel number will only be used to track completion and return rates and to link your response to other data about your position in order to be able to report on trends over time in various employment groups – for example, the proportion of Sessional Lecturers in the various designated groups.
  5. Reporting is done by 14 broad designated employment equity occupational groups across all three campuses.
  6. No information about groups of three or less is reported to ensure anonymity. Only summary reports will be released. No individual will be identified.
  7. You may update your information at any time by submitting a new survey response on Employee Self-Service (ESS).

This Commitment to Confidentiality applies to and binds anyone who may be dealing with the survey information or process.

Could I be disadvantaged in any way by providing this information?

No. The information you provide on the survey is stored in a strictly confidential Employment Equity database. Information is presented in summary form in the annual Employment Equity Report and is used to develop initiatives to remove barriers to employment for the designated groups.

I am the only person in my department who is from a designated group, won’t I be easily identified?

No. The applicable legislation prohibits disclosure of information where any category includes three or fewer people.