Provost's Advisory Committee on Equity - Terms of Reference


There is increasing recognition of the value in involving people with lived experience in the decisions that impact them directly[1]. “Nothing About Us Without Us” is a slogan used to communicate the idea that policies and programs should not be decided without the full and direct participation of members of the group(s) most impacted[2]. Involving people with direct experience who understand the impact of systemic barriers, and including them early in planning processes, is more likely to produce results that address their needs. Furthermore, bringing people from diverse perspectives together allows us to look at programs, strategies, and policies from an intersectional lens. This is key for ensuring that actions to remove barriers for one group do not inadvertently create barriers for others.

The University of Waterloo is committed to equity. Diversity is a catalyst for innovation, it is not an ‘outcome’ but rather is a process to better learning. However, equity work cannot be done by one person. We need to leverage the expertise on our campus to embed equity into our systems. 

Creating a safe space for people with lived experience to fully participate sometimes involve rethinking representational models, and the traditional ways we have organized planning processes.


  1. Advise the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion on equity plans and initiatives including an institutional equity plan;
  2. Consult with academic and non-academic units on programs, policies, or plans;
  3. Consult with campus members whose interests they represent to capture and communicate emerging issues to the AVP HREI and the Director of Equity;
  4. Provide recommendations related to emerging equity trends and issues;
  5. Provide information on existing resources on campus and in the community.

Working groups are convened to provide advice on specific equity issues and need to be of a size that permits it to function efficiently and effectively. A working group may be comprised of committee members, non-members or both. Working groups may include members who are appointed due to their positions at the University. The Chair(s) of the working groups are members of the committee and the Chair of the committee is an Ex Officio member of the working groups.

Committee Composition:

The Committee will be comprised of 11-15 members of the campus community (students, staff, and faculty) with lived experience or extensive knowledge of one or more of the areas below. We encourage participation from people who are able to think about equity broadly and understand the intersections between different aspects of diversity.

  1. Ethno cultural and linguistic diversity;
  2. International students/staff/faculty;
  3. Indigenous people (First Nations, Metis, Inuit)
  4. Sexual and gender diversity;
  5. People with disabilities;
  6. People living with low income;
  7. Faith-based diversity;
  8. Mental Health.

The committee will always strive to include a balance of undergraduate and graduate student representatives, staff, and faculty, but requires a minimum of 2 staff and 2 faculty (at least one FAUW rep), 2 undergraduate students and 2 graduate students. We will strive to involve members of diverse gender identities on the committees. The Director of Equity will serve as an ex officio member of the committee. When membership is finalized, a quorum will be established.


The Committee will meet between 6 times per year or more frequently, based on need. Working groups meet as often as needed.


The term of membership for staff and faculty will be two years, with possibility of renewal. The term of membership for students will be one year, with possibility of renewal.


The Committee will select Co-Chairs, who will serve a staggered two year term, which can be renewed.

Reporting and Administration

The Director of Equity will report on the Committee’s activities to the Associate Vice President Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (AVP HREI) on a regular basis. The AVP HREI will bring regular updates from PACE to the Vice-President Academic & Provost. The Director of Equity and will provide an annual report to Executive Council.

Minutes of PACE meetings will be posted on the Equity section of the Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion website.

The Equity Coordinator will provide administrative support to the committee.


[1] Canada’s National Housing Strategy (2016); Accessibility movements; GIPA and MIPA Principles; Harm Reduction Strategies.

[2] Charlton, 1998.