Teaming up for equity

Vincent and Brown
Vincent (L) and Brown
Photo: Robie Liscomb

By Robie Liscomb

“We’re all gifted a finite amount of time on this planet, so at work it’s important to be mindful and respect each other’s contribution of time. One way we can do this is by being as mutually supportive and encouraging as possible.” That’s the personal philosophy of UVic’s new equity advisor, Pamela Brown, and the attitude that underlies her commitment to helping make UVic a diverse and welcoming place to work and learn.

Brown was hired upon the retirement of Director of Equity Linda Sproule-Jones in July. “Linda’s commitment together with her skill, imagination and persistence kept equity moving forward during her 12 years at UVic,” says Director of Equity and Human Rights Cindy Player.

“We are very fortunate to have Pamela’s combined expertise in equity data and planning to pick up where Linda left off and assist us to further integrate equity into all that we do.”

Brown comes to UVic from Trent University in Peterborough, where she was office manager for the CUPE local representing contract faculty and student academic workers.

“All my life I’ve been on the side of equity,” she says “And I’ve tried to bring an equity lens to all my work.”
She holds a BA in English literature from the University of Windsor and has worked for a community foundation, been involved in a feminist theatre company and written commentary for magazines, focusing in particular on gender, orientation and Indigenous People’s issues.

Brown and Equity Secretary Heather Vincent form the equity team within the UVic Equity and Human Rights Office. And they act very much as a team, assisting units across campus with hiring procedures, consulting with departmental equity committees and conducting all manner of equity business.

One of Vincent’s major responsibilities is collecting and maintaining UVic employment data for the Federal Contractors Program for Employment Equity (FCP). Canadian employers who have contracts of $200,000 or more with the federal government are required to make a commitment to employment equity and implement criteria set out by the program. These include maintaining data on the representation of designated groups employed by the university (defined by law as women, Aboriginal people, people with disabilities, and visible minorities).

Working with the university human rights committee, Brown is soon to become involved in the major task of revising UVic’s employment equity plan. Since the plan was approved in May 2003, there have been significant changes in the criteria for equity plans required by the FCP and the Human Rights Commission.

“The current equity plan is more of a conceptual document,” explains Brown, “while the new guidelines include specific accountability measures. As we proceed with the revision, we’d like to engage the UVic community in the process as much as possible.”

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