Canada’s Research Granting Agencies: Mandatory Self-Identification Form

In June 2018, Canada’s granting agencies began requiring all applicants to grant, scholarship, and fellowship programs — “and increasingly individuals involved in the merit review of applications” — to complete a self-identification form.1

In 2020, the self-identification form was revised “in light of legal requirements, new legislation, and feedback from the research community.” One legal requirement stems from the 2019 addendum to a 2006 Human Rights Settlement (pertaining to the Canadian Research Chair Program – CRC), which ordered greater measures to increase increase the institutional targets for the four disadvantages groups (FDGs): women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous people. As well, the 2019 Addendum “requires revisions to the self-identification form to collect data on nominees and chairholders who identify with LGBTQ2+ communities and who identify as white.”

Additionally, the “revised questionnaire asks about eight dimensions of identity, adding sexual orientation and language to the previous questions.”

While its hard to nail down a precise mechanism for the implementation of this mandated form, “The collection of self-identification data is driven by the Government of Canada’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in the federal research enterprise.”

The completion of the self-identification data form is mandated, but applications have the option to select “I prefer not to answer” for each category.2

The Frequently Asked Questions page provides some detail about what is being asked on the self-identification form.

[Pam Lindsay’s comment re: “7. I have already provided my self-identification data to my institution and/or other federal research funding agencies. Why am I being asked to self-identify again?”

Note that one of the justifications for requiring an applicant to self-identify on each and every application she submits is that “responses provided by individuals can change over time.” I wonder if there is any data (and how one would collect it) on how frequently an individual’s self-identification changes? And, since “In addition to their program monitoring, the agencies share aggregated self-identification data,”3 I wonder whether the aggregated number of changes to self-identification individuals make over time on different applications renders self-identification data utterly useless.]


[1]”An open letter to the research community,” Self-Identification Data in Support of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Government of Canada, June 2018,, accessed, July 26, 2022.

[2]”Self-Identification Data Collection in Support of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,” Interagency research funding>Policies and Guidelines, Government of Canada, Date modified: 2021-04-15,, accessed July 26, 2022.

[3]”Frequently Asked Questions about the Self-identification Questionnaire,” Self-Identification Data Collection in Support of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,, Government of Canada, Date modified: 2021-04-16,, accessed July 27, 2022.


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