Count Yourself IN! Launch of Employee Diversity Identity Census

Equity Diversity Inclusion rainbow hands

December 14, 2022 - 12:30am

At VIU, we believe that having employees who reflect the diversity of our students and our community makes us a better university. One of the ways to move towards greater diversity is through collecting diversity data to assess the recruitment, representation and retention of employees from five equity-deserving groups: women, persons with disabilities, racialized persons, Indigenous peoples, and persons of a minority sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Welcoming the unique talents, perspectives and contributions of the different people who make up our campus community implies fair treatment for all and will lead us toward excellence in our delivery of education, service, scholarly activities and research. It also draws from the wisdom of Indigenous laws and traditions about moving forward in a good way.

Having data related to employee diversity will help the university understand who is applying, progressing through the hiring process and ultimately who is successful in attaining positions. This will help us take action to increase representation through external hires and assess internal movement and growth for existing staff from equity-deserving groups. Understanding where barriers exist helps us address them in an intentional and focused way.

The launch of the Diversity Identity Census completes an institutional commitment in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan to “implement a process for collecting voluntary self-identification information to monitor the EDI composition of the workforce”.  One of VIU’s core values as identified in the People Plan is diversity: we value human diversity in all its dimensions and are committed to achieving and ensuring learning and working environments that are equitable, diverse and inclusive. In VIU’s Strategic Plan: People, Place, Potential, one of the six priorities is to become a more inclusive and healthier place for work and study: “We believe that well-being in all its aspects depends on how we treat each other. We will therefore prioritize our work to advance equity, celebrate diversity, and practice inclusion.”

We recognize that the information collected on the Census is sensitive and personal, and as a result, your responses are held in the strictest confidence. Your responses are only accessible to a restricted number of staff whose job it is to produce equity reports to improve employment equity at VIU and for troubleshooting purposes. This information will not be part of your employment record. Anyone who prefers not to self-identify in one or more of the census questions can respond using the “prefer not to answer” option.

We are collecting this information to support programs that promote equal opportunity for everyone to share in the social, cultural, and economic life of Canada, and specifically at VIU. You can help support a culture where equity-deserving community members can feel welcome and included by completing the Census. Human Resources has created a website that includes instructions for completing the Census, FAQs for Employees, and FAQs for Managers.

If you have questions about the Diversity Identity Census, please contact the HR Department via our primary email or contact Carole Gray, HR Advisor, Recruitment and EDI or Esther Duplisea, Coordinator, Employee Recruitment. For questions about Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at VIU, you can also contact Monique McKay, Director of Equity and Human Rights. For questions about the collection, use and/or disclosure of your personal information, please contact the Privacy Officer.

Access to
quality, nutritious food is fundamental to human existence and is vital to
the success of students at VIU.


Because of
this on September 28th, 2022 the “Give a Meal” program was
successfully launched in Ancillary Services. This program provides meals to
students in need on a temporary basis through VIU's cafeterias, as
well as resources and support, for those struggling with food security.



We would
like to highlight the support and the dedication of
University Relations team to ensure the successful funding of the Give
a Meal program.


In any
given year, going to school and paying the bills at the same time can be a
challenge for students, but this year is extra hard for some due to inflation
and the rapidly rising cost of housing
” - Richard Horbachewski, VIU
Foundation executive director


Govorov, owner of Panago locations in south Nanaimo and Ladysmith, provided
the seed donation to help launch the Give a Meal program.


“As a VIU
alum, I understand the pressures put on students, from academics to social
and financial pressures”. – Slava Govorov


Strategic Partners

One on one
meetings were held and vouchers were distributed to the program distribution
Financial Aid, Counselling Services for Students, VIU Student Union, Services for Aboriginal Students, Main Cafeteria - Food Services Office, Residence Student Life.



The email
address was created with an auto-reply providing details of the program and
other resources available. In addition, advertisements were placed in the
Pulse Newsletter, VIU website, Provost Office, and Digital ads added to the
TV screens in the Welcome Center and the Cafeteria.


Through our
communication, we kindly asked all VIU employees to provide a safe
space to anyone struggling with food security, and to refer students in need
to the “Give a Meal” program at or one of
our program distribution partners.


Current Status

The program
has been open for over a month now and as of November 1st, 2022 we
have distributed 600 meal vouchers and more than 45 meals have been given to
students through this program. In other words, an average of 1.40 meals are
distributed every day. The number of students accessing the program is
significant and highlights the need, especially in such a short amount of


What’s Next

As part of
our students support network, you are uniquely placed to interact with
individuals who may need additional support but do not know where to go. Some
students may be uncomfortable asking for help and that’s normal. Be proactive
and stay alert for signs of food insecurity.


To ensure funding for the years to come, we have
discussed with the VIU Foundation, and this project is already presented to
potential donors. It’s featured in Giving Tuesday and a press-package has been
delivered to the VIU Foundation team for convincing arguments on why the Give
a Meal program is so important. Our funding objective is to provide an
average of 3 free meals a day to students for the next 5 years.

Tags: Announcements