BioCanRx EDI Priorities & Action Plan


BioCanRx is committed to promoting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) throughout our network. During Cycle 1, the internal EDI team at BioCanRx undertook benchmarking exercises to gain insight on our network investigators and developed an EDI framework. Moving forward into Cycle 2 these efforts have been further examined by Diversio, a Canadian firm with deep expertise in sectoral analyses of barriers of inclusion, to understand where we are falling short in terms of inclusion.


Results from Diversio Survey


We received 95 responses to the Diversio survey from 64% Highly Qualified Personnel, 31% Principal Investigators, 3% Co-Investigators, and 2% Collaborators. Below is a breakdown of what our network looks like demographically.



Inclusion Scores


BioCanRx received an overall inclusion score of 62.2 (4.4 points lower than industry average) based off six inclusion metrics:

  • Inclusive Culture
  • Fair Management
  • Career Development
  • Workplace Flexibility
  • Workplace Safety
  • Recruiting & Hiring



These broken-down inclusion scores give us a better understanding about where our gaps are in regard to EDI. Our inclusion pain points are a summary of these inclusion scores as well as written feedback provided by survey respondents. These pain points are:



Common Feedback


  • Expressed need for representation of marginalized communities (BIPOC, women, 2SLGBTQ+, etc.) at leadership levels.
  • Expressed need for EDI and unconscious bias training at all levels.
  • Focus conversations on EDI to reflect “There is a problem” rather than “Do we have a problem?”
  • Need for mentoring and support systems for early career researchers in marginalized groups.


Based on these results and the recommendations from both Diversio and the EDI committee the following action items will be a priority for Cycle 2.


BioCanRx EDI Priorities & Action Plan

  1. Standard Code of Conduct & Zero Tolerance Policy and Training
  2. Indigenous Summer Studentship Program
  3. Allyship and Unconscious Bias Training
  4. Sponsorship Program
  5. Multi-Network Safe environment


1. Standard Code of Conduct & Zero Tolerance Policy


The Standard Code of Conduct & Zero Tolerance Policy documents provide an expectation of day-to-day behaviours as well as overall workplace culture for all BioCanRx network members.


Action Items:

  • Draft Standard Code of Conduct & Zero Tolerance Policy and have approved by EDI Committee.
  • Send policies to all network members and require signatures.


2. Indigenous Summer Studentship Program


The goal of the BioCanRx Indigenous Summer Studentship Program is to provide Indigenous students with meaningful hands-on research experience in the area of cancer through work placements with research groups at post-secondary institutions across Canada.


Action Items:

  • Continue developing this program with guidance from external organizations and the Indigenous Summer Studentship working group.


3. Allyship and Unconscious Bias Training of Network


Allyship Training is designed to help people understand the unique experiences of under-represented communities and how to act as allies to these groups in your community. Unconscious Bias Training is designed to allow individuals to build their cultural awareness and to understand/learn to spot unconscious bias and microaggressions in their own behaviours as well as in the behaviors of others.


Action Items:

  • Begin training with Summer Studentship cohort for 2022, including students and any staff involved in training students.
  • Continue training sessions with the rest of the network until all funded investigators and HQP are trained.


4. Sponsorship Program


A sponsorship program will be developed specifically for marginalized students in the network. These students would be partnered with BioCanRx Network Investigator sponsors who would assist them in career development activities such as networking, bridging institutional gaps, and advocating for them amongst more senior members.


Action Items:

  • Develop sponsorship program details and application form.
  • Reach out to sponsors from BioCanRx network based on sponsorees goals and needs.
  • Establish annual reporting structure to assess success of these relationships.


5. Multi-Network Safe Environment


The Multi-Network Safe Environment would be an independent and confidential reporting system for those experiencing harassment or discrimination to provide them with advice, guidance, and resources. This action will be undertaken by a coalition of different partners to ensure the anonymity of all those submitting reports.


Action Items:

  • Establish a coalition of networks.
  • Onboard both a third-party complaint collection software and human resources professional.
  • Publish yearly reports based on complaints receive.