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Employee Diversity Self-Identification Census FAQs

You matter. Be counted.

Background

What is Sheridan’s Employee Diversity Self-Identification Census?

Sheridan’s Employee Diversity self-identification census is a confidential online questionnaire that will provide demographic information of full and part-time employees working on all three campuses. Employee participation is required to ensure all members of the community have an opportunity to identify and ensure valid results we can all use to guide our efforts to be more equitable and inclusive. 

Employees will be able to update or change their Census-related information at any time.  Going forward, similar self-identification data will be gathered for all new hires through updated and routine onboarding processes.

Collecting self-identification data will spur the development of evidence-based, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policy and action plans

  • Who Should Complete the Census?

    All full and part-time employees are required complete the census. Self-identification is voluntary for each question as there is a “Prefer not to answer” option.  If you do not wish to respond to the overall questionnaire, you can check the box at the very beginning on the first page of the census to indicate that you choose not to participate. This will allow Sheridan to include you in the response rate to the census even if you do not choose to provide any information. All full and part-time employees should complete the census by no later than May 11, 2020.

  • Why am I being asked to complete the self-identification questionnaire?

    The collection of self-identification data is an important part of Sheridan’s commitments to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). The information about the diversity of employees at Sheridan will:

    • Increase Sheridan’s capacity to monitor our progress on EDI commitments.
    • Identify barriers and implement processes to lower barriers.
    • Catalyze new actionable plans that will achieve greater integration of EDI informed policies, programs and practices in all that we do.
  • Why were these questions (or this terminology) chosen? Can you clarify what is being asked?

    Similar to best practices at other higher education institutions, the self-identification questions relate to six dimensions of diversity including religion/faith/creed, gender and gender identity, racial and ethnic background, disability, sexual orientation and Indigeneity. Additionally, there are two questions drawn from Sheridan’s 2018 Employee Engagement Survey. Responses will provide greater insight into the perceptions about working at Sheridan. An analysis of the responses to two additional questions will inform Sheridan’s baseline understanding of its’ workforce, and will contribute to an in-depth, intersectional understanding of the engagement and experiences of members of our communities. The Census includes 8 questions in total and will take approximately five minutes to complete.

  • Why is collecting diversity information important to Sheridan?

    Sheridan is committed to building a community of learning and work where everyone is bringing their full potential and experiences, where faculty, staff and learners’ unique contributions are valued.

    For Sheridan to assess progress toward its equity, diversity and inclusion commitments and progress stated in the strategic plan Galvanizing Education for a Complex World – Sheridan needs a baseline of understanding of the diversity of our employees.

  • What’s in it for me?

    • Participation is a critical contribution to the fabric and vibrancy of our campus life.
    • Participating in the census is an important opportunity for staff and faculty to count themselves in.
    • Employees are central to framing and telling Sheridan’s diversity story.
    • Accurate and reliable data will help Sheridan identify and lower barriers that can impede people’s full participation in their workplace.
    • The information provided will support setting sound business practices, including defensible evidence-based decision-making.
    • Robust participation and strong data ensures that Sheridan will meet expectations set out by key government bodies (e.g. NSERC and Dimensions).
  • Do all employees have to participate in the Census?

    All full and part-time employees are required to complete the census. Self-identification is voluntary for each question. There is also a “Prefer not to answer” option for each question.  If you do not wish to respond to the overall questionnaire, you can tick the box at the very beginning of the first page to indicate that you choose not to participate. This will allow your response to be included in the response rate to the census even if you did not choose to provide any information. All full and part-time employees should complete the census by no later than May 11, 2020.

  • What happens if I don’t participate?

    Your participation matters! Employee participation in the Census will have a direct impact on the strength of the analysis and reporting out. Participating in the survey or by indicating that an employee prefers not to answer questions will have no impact on their employment status.

    Participating in the survey or by indicating that an employee prefers not to answer questions will have no impact on their employment status. No supervisor will have access to an employee’s diversity self-identification information.

  • Will the census include student employees (e.g. co-op students; research assistants)?

    No. We are focusing on the diversity of full and part-time employees.

  • Will my manager have access to my information?

    No. Unlike other employee information a manager may have access to, individual Employee Diversity Self-Identification information will NOT be shared with any manager or senior administrator.  Reports will NOT include individual employee information, nor will other possible individual identifiers be reported, and no individual information will be shared with your manager.

    Participating in the survey or by indicating that an employee prefers not to answer questions will have no impact on their employment status.

  • Is the Census anonymous?

    The questionnaire is confidential. But not anonymous. Participation is required – answering the questions is voluntary.

  • Why isn’t the Census anonymous?

    Sheridan requires a baseline understanding of the diversity of its workforce because of the priorities we as a community identified in the strategic plan. To develop a reliable and substantive workforce analysis based on the information provided, requires employees to participate and provide their unique identification information. A valid and representative analysis cannot be undertaken otherwise.

  • I am not comfortable responding to these questions. What should I do?

    If an employee does not wish to respond to the overall questionnaire, they can check the box at the beginning of the questionnaire to indicate that they choose not to participate.  Doing so fulfills the required completion of the questionnaire. For each question, self-identification is voluntary.  If you do not want to self-identify, you have the option to choose "I prefer not to answer" for each question.

  • I’m having trouble accessing the Census through the direct link that was provided. How can I access it?

    For instructions on how to navigate to the Census using PeopleSoft, click here. (PDF)

  • Who do I contact if I require the Census questionnaire in an accessible format?

    Please contact diversity.self-id@sheridancollege.ca to receive the questionnaire in an accessible format.

  • Who can I contact if I require assistance with completion of the Census?

    Please contact diversity.self-id@sheridancollege.ca for assistance.

What about the questions asked?

  • Is the Employee Diversity Self-Identification Census long?

    The census includes 8 questions in total.

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

    Sheridan has adopted the questions and terminology provided by the Federal Government, specifically Statistics Canada and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. We have modelled the questions to align with other institutions that ask very similar questions (e.g. Humber College, Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, York University). All questions and terminology were reviewed and approved by Sheridan’s subject matter experts.

  • Can I identify in more than one group?

    Yes, individuals can and should self-identify in all groups that apply to them.

  • Will I be identified in the analysis of the data?

    No. Responses will be reported in statistically aggregated summarized form only, using broad categories and information. No employee will be identified by name, nor will other identifiers be reported or shared. Groups with small numbers will be suppressed or merged with other small groups. No information about groups of five or less will be reported to ensure anonymity.

    Further, the confidentiality of the data is governed by and aligns with Sheridan’s existing policies that govern and protects the privacy and confidentiality of data, the governance of computer networks, data access, storage and retention. The information employees provide will be kept strictly confidential in accordance with the terms of Sheridan’s Privacy Policy, the Notice of Collection & Use of Personal Information, Sheridan’s Acceptable Use Policy and the Freedom of Information and the Protection of Privacy Act.

  • Is Sheridan the only institution collecting this kind of demographic information?

    No, the collection of information on employee diversity may be new at Sheridan but is a well-established best practice amongst many employers. You might be interested in checking out the Federal Contractors program and or the Ontario Human Rights Commission that address the importance of the collection of demographic information.

    A national survey of Canadian universities in 2019 showed that 70% of Canadian universities already keep employee data on race, disability and Indigenous identity. Self-identification data is often collected at the application stage or upon hiring and is being used to inform recruitment, retention and promotion processes. 77% of universities reference EDI in their Strategic Plans or long-term planning documents and 70% either already have or are in the process of developing an EDI action plan. Check out the following institutions who have been collecting self-identification information on the diversity of their employees for sometime: Humber College, Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, York University.

  • Where will the information be stored?

    PeopleSoft is Sheridan’s platform where confidential information is securely stored and protected. Access is limited to the VP, Inclusive Communities and designated employees for technical support.

  • Who has access to the data?

    Information provided will ONLY be accessible to those employees associated with Employee Diversity Self-identification census in the Office of the VP, Inclusive Communities and designated employees who support PeopleSoft (Sheridan’s confidential and secure HR system) for technical support. Requests for information or reports will be only approved by the VP, Inclusive Communities.

  • I’m new to Sheridan College. Can I participate in the Census?

    Yes! If you are a full-time or part-time (faculty or staff) employee, you are required to participate in the census to ensure valid and robust response rate. Your responses are confidential. Your manager cannot access the information you provide.

  • What is the People Soft Self Service portal?

    This is Sheridan’s secure online portal where employees can access their confidential personnel information through their User ID and password. Employees can access and update important and confidential information including their pay information, emergency contact and the diversity self-identification page.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

  • How will my information be stored? Who will see my information?

    The confidentiality of the data is governed by and aligns with Sheridan’s existing policies that govern and protects the privacy and confidentiality of data, the governance of computer networks, data access, storage and retention. The information employees provide will be kept strictly confidential in accordance with the terms of Sheridan’s Privacy Policy, the Notice of Collection & Use of Personal Information, Sheridan’s Acceptable Use Policy and the Freedom of Information and the Protection of Privacy Act.

    Your self-identification information is not part of your employee file. It is neither accessible to, nor shared with anyone in an identifiable form. The Census data will be stored separately. Information associated with the census will be accessible ONLY to a very limited number of employees associated with Employee Diversity Self-identification census in the Office of the VP, Inclusive Communities and designated employees in PeopleSoft for technical support. Each employee with access to the data will sign a non-disclosure agreement.

  • How will my confidentiality be protected?

    Responses to the questionnaire will be reported in a statistically aggregated summarized form using broad categories. No employee will be identified by name in reports, nor will other identifiers be reported or shared. Groups with small numbers will be suppressed or merged with other small groups. No information about groups of five or less will be reported.

What happens after the census?

  • Can I make changes to my responses after it has been completed and submitted?

    Yes. You can update your self-identification information at any time. Information will be collected only when you submit your responses. If you make a change to your self-identification information following the submission of your response, this change will be updated immediately.

    Responses to the employee diversity self-identification questionnaire will be reported in a statistically aggregated form using broad categories. Employees may withdraw their responses prior to aggregation and/or analysis.

  • How will the information I provide be used?

    With the information provided, Sheridan will establish a baseline understanding of the representation of our work force.

    For statistical purposes, anonymized and aggregated data may be augmented with other information such as employee group, campus, and job role to inform evidence-based equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policy, priorities and action plans.

  • Will there be a reporting back to the Sheridan community?

    Yes. The Sheridan community can expect the VP of Inclusive Communities to share the results of the Census through a presentation at an open forum and through the Employee Diversity Self-identification report that will be posted on the Sheridan EDI website.

    Also, as a Dimensions Charter signatory, the collection and publishing of EDI data signals Sheridan’s commitment to uphold the principles of the Charter.
  • Who can I contact for more information?

    If you have further questions, please contact the Office of the Vice-President, Inclusive Communities by this email: diversity.self-id@sheridancollege.ca