The guidelines outlined here apply to the search and hire of all teaching stream, tenure stream, and contractually limited term appointments of three years or more.

Relevant Policies

The information in this manual provides guidance on implementing policy but in all instances, the policies are binding and take precedence over the information provided in this manual.

Approval to Search

Approval to commence the search and hire process must be obtained in writing from the Provost.

The Search Committee

Striking the Search Committee

The search committee should be formed as soon as the position is approved, that is, in time to consider the overall search process. Each member of the search committee must be given a copy of the document Information for Search Committees. In addition, it would be useful to provide the following documents to each search committee member:

A number of good practices regarding the formation and deliberations of the search committee can be found in better practices in recruitment.

Composition of the Search Committee

Search committees are required for all appointments. The Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments (PPAA) gives wide latitude to a division in its selection of membership for each search committee. The following practices are recommended.

  1. The search committee should be chaired by the Unit Head.
  2. When the Unit Head does not chair the search committee, they should:
    1. meet with the committee at the outset of the search to ensure that the committee is appropriately directed;
    2. meet with the short list of candidates and with the search committee prior to its final recommendation.
  3. In multi-department Faculties (MDFs), the practice of having a Decanal Assessor on each search committee is a good one. Deans should select a small number of individuals and provide a training session for them. The Provost’s Office would be pleased to assist in this regard.
  4. For single-department Faculties (SDFs), Provost’s Assessors are designated and trained to serve on search committees. The Assessor will be a voting member of the search committee.
  5. Where the Graduate Chair is not also the Budgetary Chair, they (or a designate) must be added to the committee. If a Graduate Chair chooses to appoint a designate, then they must ensure that the designate is fully aware of the standards for a graduate appointment. In any event, the Graduate Chair will be required to co-sign the letter of offer.
  6. Where a cross-appointment is to be made at the time of the initial appointment, the heads of the academic units concerned should be involved in the preparation of the “short list”; moreover, each of these academic units should be represented on the search committee.
    See the PPAA, section 1:5:v.
  7. The search committee presents the face of the unit and the University to candidates. Search committees that are inclusive communicate a commitment to diversity to applicants. They are also likely to bring more complexity of perspective to bear on their decision-making. Together these can impact on the performance of diverse candidates and on the committee’s ability to evaluate candidates fully. We continue to require, where possible, both women and men on the search committee. Committees should include racialized persons / persons of colour. If your department has few women or racialized persons / persons of colour, please invite individuals from cognate departments. Your committee should make every effort to ensure that Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America are consulted in the search process. Diverse hires are more likely to occur when search committees also contain diverse representation. The section below on better practices in recruitment provides further areas of consideration in the formation and operation of the search committee.
  8. Search committees for full-time Lecturer/Senior Lecturer positions should have at least one member who holds the rank of Senior Lecturer.
  9. In cases where there is a concern of a potential conflict of interest for a member of a search committee with respect to one of the candidates (e.g., where a member has been the candidate’s thesis supervisor or is related to the candidate) the member should declare his/her concern regarding a conflict of interest to the Committee Chair. If the Chair determines that there is a conflict of interest, the member will excuse themselves from all discussions about the candidate. Where the Chair of the search committee has such a conflict, this should be discussed in advance with the Dean/Provost.
  10. Where there is a very small applicant pool, please discuss this with the Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life, before proceeding to the interview stage.
  11. Candidates submit material for positions at the University in confidence. In practice, these materials can include CVs, letters of reference, and samples of scholarly work. Such material should remain confidential to the members of the duly constituted search committee. Please see PDAD&C #32, 2001-02 for more information on the confidentiality of search committee records.

Section 1:5:ii of the PPAA requests “a current CV and several letters of recommendation indicating the candidate’s capacity for scholarship as evidenced by teaching and research.”


“Canadians First”

As of October 17, 2001, Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC) has revised its policies and procedures regarding recruitment of foreign academics. This resulted in the abolishment of the “two-tier” system that had been in place since 1981. While a “Canadians first” policy remains, the ability to advertise and recruit simultaneously in both Canada and abroad is available in all disciplines to universities across the country.

See further details about the temporary foreign worker program. Also, see the U of T recruiting foreign academics tip sheet.

Keep a record of all attempts through written or personal communication or other means that you have made to find qualified Canadian or permanent residents to fill the position. Copies of advertisements as they appear on the U of T faculty job board, in journals, newsletters, and newspapers are required as evidence that the advertising was done and, in the event that a non-Canadian is hired, form part of the documentation required by ESDC/Service Canada.

You may also wish to develop some procedures with the search committee to ensure that all Canadian applications are considered. A spreadsheet anonymously listing each Canadian/permanent resident (e.g., applicant 1, applicant 2) and an explanation as to why the candidate did not meet the requirements of the position based on the job advertisement is required for the appointment dossier.

Advertising Academic Positions

All academic positions must be advertised in a manner that ensures that qualified Canadians and permanent residents have an opportunity to learn of the vacancy. ESDC does not stipulate the form or the medium to be used for this advertising but will require the University to justify that the medium is appropriate for that discipline. Advertising should run for a reasonable period of time, which would usually be of one-month duration. All advertisements must contain the following statement as required by Service Canada:

“All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.”

All full-time positions in the tenure and teaching stream, including contractually limited term appointments (CLTAs), must be posted on the U of T faculty job board. See the SuccessFactors Recruiting section for more information.

SuccessFactors Recruiting allows for applicants to apply for positions online and for search committees to assess CVs and collaborate in a virtual environment.

Minimum requirements for advertising are stipulated in the PPAA, section 1:5:i.

After review and approval at the Decanal and Provostial level, ASAs are then notified by email that their advertisement is ready to be posted. At the time of posting, the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life will forward advertisements to University Affairs for posting on their website. Allow at least one month between the date the advertisement is published in University Affairs and the deadline date for receipt of applications. The positions are also forwarded electronically to Inside Higher Ed, an online source for news, opinion, and career opportunities in academia.

The cost of a regular classified ad in University Affairs and Inside Higher Education is covered by the Provost’s Office. Advertisements on the U of T faculty job board must be posted for a minimum of one month and no longer than for one year. This ensures that advertisements do not become stale or neglected on the website.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the remaining requirements for advertising under the Policy are fulfilled and the ESDC minimum requirements are met. These include advertising in national and international disciplinary journals and contacting corresponding divisions and departments in Canadian universities. All other advertising costs are the responsibility of the department or division.

Employment Equity Statement

The University, under its Employment Equity Policy and through its commitment to the Federal Contractor’s Program, requires that advertisements carry specific wording to ensure that members of the designated groups are encouraged to apply. All University of Toronto advertisements must include the following statement:

“The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.”

Better practices in recruitment provides some additional tips on how to ensure that your ads are relevant to the broadest group of potential applicants and some examples of statements which focus on the diversity and opportunity.

Information to Include

Advertisements should be in narrative form and must include the following information:

  • Title/rank of position
  • Qualifications required
  • Nature of duties
  • Salary to be commensurate with qualifications and experience
  • Person to whom inquiries should be addressed
  • Effective date of appointment
  • Deadline for receipt of applications
  • All documentation on candidates must be in writing and include a curriculum vitae
  • Letters of reference or the names of three referees
  • U of T Employment Equity statement
  • ESDC statement

Forming a Proactive Outreach Plan is the responsibility of the search committee. Some ideas of how to create the widest and deepest pool possible are included in better practices in recruitment.

When indicating the rank of the position we recommend that open rank be avoided. Language should refer to the standards of excellence expected of a U of T faculty member — advertise for demonstrated excellence in teaching and research and describe a complete application; e.g., CV, three reference letters, sample publications, teaching dossier that includes course outlines, evaluations, and a statement of teaching philosophy, research plan, etc.

Shortlisting and Interviewing

Selection of the Short List

The search committee should recommend to the Unit Head a small number of candidates to be invited for interviews. Consensus about the short list is more likely if there has been a thorough prior discussion of the selection criteria among the members of the search committee.

Campus Visits by Shortlisted Candidates

The purpose of the interview visit is twofold: the candidate is being assessed by the search committee and members of the unit, and the candidate is assessing the unit and University as a potential place of employment. Thus, care should be taken in arranging the visit and ensuring a welcoming experience for all potential candidates. See details of recruitment supports and a sample itinerary.

The format used for candidate visits varies widely across the University, as dictated by differing expectations in various disciplines. The following list represents some aspects that should be considered. See a full list of effective practices in better practices in recruitment.

  • Have a designated administrative staff member who assists in the coordination of all visits within the unit and ensures that detailed itineraries are produced and distributed at least a few days in advance of the visit to all those involved.
  • In advance of the visit, each candidate should be asked if they require any accommodations during the visit and about any dietary requirements they may have.
    • If the candidate is a nursing mother, be sure to schedule breaks (of at least 20 minutes) every two to four hours and provide a private, clean space where she can breastfeed or express milk. Ensure the areas has adequate lighting, a chair, and an electrical outlet. It should be in in proximity to hand washing and (if requested) refrigeration facilities.
  • Early in the process, each prospective faculty member should be encouraged to consult the Faculty website and the Faculty Relocation Service website prior to their visit.
  • Ensure that the candidate is met at the airport.
  • The Toronto region, including Mississauga and Scarborough, are themselves good recruitment tools. Try to give candidates as wide an experience of it as possible — those who only experience the St. George campus will miss much of what makes the region interesting. Expose a candidate to measures of quality of life and cost of living during their visit (e.g., visit a supermarket or shopping centre). Demonstrate how safe the region is by taking candidates on walks through the neighbourhoods (weather permitting!) surrounding the campuses.
  • The Mississauga and Scarborough campuses also offer unique experiences for the candidate and if they are to have any teaching responsibilities here candidates should spend a significant portion of their interview on the appropriate campus being introduced to their culture and amenities.

The Faculty Relocation Service (FRS) will provide you with Welcome booklets to distribute; email at least one week in advance. Meetings with FRS can be arranged for candidates.

When constructing the visit, here are some additional factors to consider:

  • Diversity. Try to ensure that during the course of the visit, the candidate has opportunities to experience the diversity of the U of T community. This may include colleagues and/or graduate students from other departments. In addition, the various equity officers at the University are available for consultations. Be sensitive about social situations and choose venues that are open and welcoming to all.
  • Contacts. Candidates should have opportunities to meet with excellent students, key faculty in related research areas outside the department and a senior academic administrator (generally the Dean or Associate Dean).
  • Benefits. U of T’s benefit plans are very attractive and provide coverage for same-sex partners. Our maternity/parental/adoption leave policies should also be noted as beneficial. An appointment can be arranged with the divisional human resources office for a brief or more detailed introduction to the benefit and pension plans. The human resources staff can also highlight the value of health care coverage (OHIP and UHIP).
  • Library resources. The Association of Research Libraries has ranked our library among the top five university libraries in North America and the leading public university library. If it is appropriate for your discipline, you might consider including an appointment with the relevant resource librarian as part of the visit.
  • Recreation and athletic facilities. Most candidates are introduced to the Faculty Club at some point during their visit. The Faculty Relocation Service can arrange guest passes for the Athletic Centre and Hart House on the St. George campus upon request. Please contact the Wellness, Recreation, and Athletic Centre at UTM and the Athletic Centre at UTSC for access.

Ontario Human Rights Code: Protected Grounds

The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, record of offences, marital status, same-sex partnership status, family status, or disability. Unless there is a clear and direct link to an essential job requirement (which will be rare), asking questions that relate directly or indirectly to one of the prohibited grounds is generally inappropriate. While asking a candidate about, for example, general health is inappropriate, it is reasonable to make inquiries of all applicants about whether they can fulfil the regular duties of the job. If they voluntarily disclose a need for accommodation based upon a disability, such as a need for classes and an office in a fully accessible building, or a faith practice on specific days or during specific hours, the University’s willingness to arrange reasonable accommodation must be made clear.

Every search committee member must be provided with information on the obligations of the search committee under the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has produced a useful resource, Human Rights at Work with specific information about interviewing.

Experience in a Diverse Student Community

While it is necessary in the interview to avoid asking candidates questions about their age, gender, race, family status, cultural background, sexual orientation, etc., it may be useful to ask candidates about their experience teaching and advising the range of students that your department typically enrols. A useful way to approach a candidate’s ability to teach effectively in our diverse environment is to:

  • describe the value that the University places on the diversity of the student population.
  • describe what the demographics of a typical class might be in terms of gender, ethnicity, and other significant features.
  • ask a question about the candidate’s experiences and skills with similarly diverse classes;
  • ensure that the candidate has the opportunity to give an undergraduate lecture (rather than just a “job talk”) or to teach an undergraduate class.

If these questions are asked, it is critical to ask these questions of every candidate in a relatively similar way.

Best Practices for Virtual Faculty Interviews

View as PDF.

General Principles to Keep in Mind

  • Keep in mind that the best practice is to keep the interview process consistent for everyone. However:
    • VPFAL is aware that there are situations where an individual is unable to attend in person, for example due to illness or delays in obtaining necessary immigration documentation, which will cause unwarranted delays in the recruitment process. In these situations, units may consider moving forward with a process that includes a mixed (in-person and virtual) format.
    • If you must proceed with a mixed format, you will need to plan carefully to ensure that the candidate who is participating remotely has as comparable an interview as possible.
    • Please discuss with your Dean’s Office before proceeding with a mixed process. VPFAL is happy to consult, if needed.
  • Ensure that you continue to follow a rigorous recruitment strategy that attracts an excellent and diverse candidate pool.
  • Continue to accommodate accessibility needs.
  • Be flexible in the scheduling of interviews. Keep in mind that these are extraordinary circumstances and candidates may need flexibility in the interview process to manage childcare, illness, etc.
  • Replicate your regular interview format as much as possible/appropriate, including seminar talks/presentations and graduate student meet-and-greets if these are the norm in your unit.

Setting Up Online Interviews

  • Select a user-friendly platform like Microsoft Teams or Zoom for remote interviews. Consult Academic & Collaborative Technologies (ACT) for information on video-conferencing solutions supported by the University. (Note: Make sure you understand the difference between Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinars. Zoom Meetings are fully interactive — participants can hear one another, see one another, and screen-share. Zoom Meetings are suitable for any component of the interview where participants will be directly engaging with one another. Zoom Webinars allow you to broadcast to a large group of people, but those individuals will not be able to interact. Zoom Webinars may be suitable in a situation where a candidate is giving a presentation to many members of your unit who are not contributing in any way beyond viewing.)
  • Remember that candidates may be in a different time zone, so schedule interviews at a mutually suitable time and communicate the time zone clearly.
    • Consult the World Clock meeting planner to ensure time conversions are done correctly, with close attention to when clocks spring forward and fall back.
    • Consider including both the time and day in Toronto and the time and day in the candidate’s region on the interview schedule to limit confusion.
  • Enable passwords for meetings that are confidential.
  • Assign someone to “moderate” the interview day(s). This person will be responsible for virtually “bringing” the candidate to each meeting and for being available to the candidate by email and telephone to troubleshoot technical issues.
  • Enable the “mute all” function for the moderator. In situations where there is excessive background noise during the interview or presentation, the moderator can mute everyone, and then unmute the candidate only.
  • Set up different links for meetings that are happening on different days, even if the meetings are with the same people.
  • Always set up a separate meeting link for committee members to discuss the candidate. Resist the urge to ask members to “stay on the call” to discuss matters/debrief after the candidate has signed off; instead, ask members to log on to an entirely new link. Be mindful that the candidate could read the entire Teams meeting chat for any meeting they were originally invited to, even after they have signed off from the meeting.
  • When planning for sessions where a variety of faculty or students may be joining the candidate for short conversations at different times over the course of a longer period, consider using a moderator to manage attendance.

Preparing Your Candidate

  • Offer to set up a technical practice session with the candidate before their interview. This gives the candidate an opportunity to practice signing into the meeting and to test their presentation.
  • Offer to pay for a local hotel with a reputation for reliable Wi-Fi (or any additional Wi-Fi charges) for the night before each interview day and for the full duration of each interview day. This is to help ensure that your candidate can interview in a quiet place, free from distractions.
  • Offer to pay for childcare and/or eldercare for dependents during the interview, and the night before, if relevant.
  • Understand that your candidate may have questions about relocating to Toronto. The University of Toronto’s Faculty Relocation Service (more information below) can provide assistance.
    • Consultations are free and confidential. You should consider arranging a consultation for your candidate as a part of the remote interview process.

Preparing Your Committee

  • Follow your normal best practice to ensure a well-structured and fair interview process.
  • Encourage committee members to try to connect into the virtual interview from a quiet place, free from distractions.
  • Ensure committee members have received copies of the interview questions in advance and have been briefed on the structure of the interview.
  • In the list of interview questions, clearly note the order of the questions and the name of the person who will ask each question. In the absence of visual cues, it is important to be explicit about this.


  • Run through all the technologies used for the interview process and resolve any technical difficulties. Do not use your first candidate as the test case.
  • Ensure that all participants in the interview process including the candidate have access by phone and email to someone who can help with technical difficulties.
  • Have a plan (and communicate the plan) for what to do if a call is dropped.
  • If you experience unresolvable technical difficulties, consider rescheduling the call.

Negotiation Stage

  • Understand that your candidate may feel a degree of uncertainty and apprehension about making decisions regarding a relocation without first visiting Toronto. The University of Toronto’s Faculty Relocation Service assists recently appointed faculty with most aspects of relocating to Toronto. Consultations are free and confidential. You should consider arranging a consultation for your prospective new hire as a part of the remote interview process. The Faculty Relocation Service will help ensure the candidate’s transition to life in the Greater Toronto Area as part of the University of Toronto is as comfortable as possible.
  • Consider setting up an informal conversation for the successful candidate with members of the committee and colleagues to give the candidate a chance to ask more questions about the unit, the University of Toronto, and Toronto.

We would like to acknowledge Queen’s University for sharing their document titled “Best Practices for Conducting Faculty Interviews Remotely,” from which a number of these suggestions were adapted.

Making an Offer of Employment

Appointment checklists:

All offers of employment must be approved by the Provost prior to being presented to the candidate. This requires a formal request in writing from the Dean to the Provost supported by full documentation. If there is urgency — for example, the candidate has a competing offer — please call ahead to advise the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life (416.978.2632). Note that in multi-department Faculties, the dossiers must first go to the Dean’s Office.

Appointment File Submission Guidelines

Appointment files must include the following documents and are submitted by email to (via the Dean’s Office) as a single PDF in the following order with the LOO and Canadian applicant spreadsheet (if applicable) attached separately:

  1. Compilation of statistics.
  2. Memo from Dean confirming approval and key details of appointment (required for all multi-departmental faculty searches; only required for single-departmental faculty searches if designate served on committee on Dean’s behalf).
  3. Search Report, please contact your Dean’s Office for search report template.
  4. Candidate CV.
  5. Candidate letters of reference (at least three).
  6. If the candidate is not a member of the underrepresented gender, the CV, and letters of reference of the most qualified candidate of the under-represented gender.
  7. Copies of all advertisements as they appeared in the relevant publication with the name and date of the publication and any other correspondence advertising the position.
  8. If the candidate is a non-Canadian, the CVs and letters of reference of the top three rated Canadians.
  9. CVs and letters of reference for all other shortlisted candidates.

If the candidate is a non-Canadian, please complete and include the Canadian applicants spreadsheet provided by VPFAL (request the template by emailing as an Excel spreadsheet, including each Canadian/permanent resident who applied for the position and an explanation as to why each candidate did not meet the requirements of the position based on the job advertisement.

Note the draft letter of offer should be submitted separately as a Word file and should be based on the appropriate template. Please download a new template each time you prepare a letter as the templates are occasionally updated.

Please do not include any additional materials (i.e., cover letters or teaching/research materials) in the submitted file.

For your convenience, a Step-by-Step Appointment File Guide (Word) is available. Please attach the completed guide to the front of the appointment file.

Please indicate in the subject line of the email that the submission is an appointment file. For Deans’ Offices: if you require an urgent response for an appointment file, please call the VPFAL Office (SDFs) at 416.978.2632 to discuss the timeline.

Letters of Offer

Letters of offer are structured in two parts: a cover letter that you may modify to suit your division or department, and an attachment which outlines the terms and conditions of employment. The signed-back letter of offer and attachment forms the contract of employment between the University and the candidate. All letters of offer must contain:

  • Dates of the probationary period and tenure/review
  • Salary
  • Benefits
  • Vacation entitlement
  • UTFA membership dues
  • Other deductions
  • Travel and moving expenses (if applicable)
  • Research support
  • Teaching load (as per the unit workload policy)
  • For non-Canadians: offer subject to Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and its regulations
  • Policies and procedures governing appointment
  • Sign-back date

Any special arrangements involving the date of tenure/promotion consideration, the availability of resources for research and expected service contributions, or the timing of or credit for leaves must also be included in the letter of offer.

For variable start dates and early tenure review provisions, please contact your Dean’s Office (in an MDF) or VPFAL at (in an SDF).

If the individual is to be cross-appointed with salary, the letter must be co-signed by the heads of both budgetary areas sharing the appointment. The Graduate Chair must also co-sign if they are not the Budgetary Chair. See further guidelines on budgetary and non-budgetary cross-appointments.

Any revisions to a letter of offer require Provostial approval.

Completing an Offer

As soon as a candidate accepts an approved offer and sends back the signed letter of offer, you must send a copy of the signed letter and a completed completion of offer for academic appointments form to the Provost’s Office. The completion of offer for academic appointments form must be completed whether the appointment is accepted or declined.

Hiring a Non-Canadian

Service Canada Documentation for Non-Canadians

If a non-Canadian is offered and accepts a position at the University of Toronto, the foreign academic recruitment summary must be completed and sent to the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life along with the completion of offer for academic appointments. It is essential that these forms be submitted as soon as the offer to the foreign candidate has been accepted. Only after receiving them will the Office of the Vice-Provost apply to Service Canada for a “Labour Market Opinion” (LMO) of the University’s offer of employment to the individual. A positive LMO is issued for up to five years. This allows sufficient time after arriving in Canada to obtain permanent resident status in Canada. The new recruit should begin the process of applying for permanent residency as soon as possible after taking up the position at the University of Toronto.

The Provost’s Office has engaged the services of Rekai LLP, a law firm specializing in immigration matters. When a positive labour market opinion is received from Service Canada, the Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life advises the new faculty member of this via email and the file is forwarded to the lawyer. Rekai LLP will then contact the new faculty member directly to begin the process of applying for permanent resident status. The University will be responsible for all of Rekai LLP’s routine legal fees (except as noted below) and for the Government of Canada’s filing fees.

The candidate will be responsible for all other incidental expenses related to immigration law requirements. This includes, but is not limited to, such incidental matters as the cost of medical examinations, photos, documents, police clearance certificates as well as the expenses to be incurred by Rekai LLP on the candidate’s behalf for couriers, translations, photocopying, telecopying, and long distance. Should employment with the University cease for any reason, the candidate becomes responsible for all fees if they decide to continue with their Application for Permanent Residence (APR) in Canada. Please note that the University of Toronto will not cover legal fees related to non-routine matters such as overcoming any issue of medical or criminal inadmissibility for the candidate or any accompanying family member(s).

Non-Canadian spouses/partners and dependants of Canadian candidates are subject to immigration regulations. There may, however, be alternative means that will enable these non-Canadians to work in Canada. For further information, please contact

Spouse/Partner Employment

The issue of spouse/partner employment is a critical one for many candidates for faculty positions. The successful relocation of a spouse/partner may be an essential factor in the retention of a newly hired faculty member. To support recruitment efforts, the University has developed employment assistance services for spouses and partners seeking positions inside and outside of academia. Eligibility is restricted to the spouses and partners of newly appointed permanent faculty members (with contracts of three years or more in duration) relocating from beyond the Greater Toronto Area. “Spouse” or “partner” is self-defined, subject to any limitations imposed by immigration. It should be noted that while efforts will be made to assist the spouse or partner in finding a position, there is no guarantee of employment, and services are not unlimited. If you have any questions concerning this policy or require assistance beyond the resources of your division for an academic or non-academic partner, please contact

For Spouses/Partners Seeking a University Academic Appointment

An academic spouse/partner assistance program is normally only available to the spouse/partners of new faculty who are relocating from outside the Greater Toronto Area and have an initial contract of three years or more. Spousal appointments should be used as a tool for the recruitment of highly desirable candidates who have competing offers from peer institutions and who possess the qualifications and experience expected of University of Toronto faculty members. Funding for these appointments is normally a three-way split among the unit hiring the candidate, the unit employing the spouse/partner, and the Provost. The Provost will only commit to a maximum of 33% of the salary for a three-year period. All appointments must conform to the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments and other relevant University policies and require the agreement of the receiving unit.

Chairs/Deans should take an active role in mentoring the spouse/partner to ensure that they move on to a permanent academic appointment either at the University of Toronto or another educational institution within the GTA. Any extension of contracts beyond the initial three-year appointment should be contingent on an ongoing relationship between the faculty member and their spouse/partner and evidence that the spouse/partner has made significant efforts to find a continuing appointment.

  1. At the earliest possible stage, check the U of T faculty job board to determine whether positions are available that might be appropriate for the spouse/partner.
  2. If no such positions exist, the University will consider arranging temporary work to assist with a period of transition until longer term possibilities become available. This would normally consist of a contractually limited term appointment (CLTA) at appropriate academic rank for a maximum initial period of three years.
  3. In multi-departmental divisions, the Chair of the department making the primary hire should send a request for a spousal/partner appointment, with a copy of the relevant CV, to the Dean. If the spouse/partner’s area of expertise is within the Faculty, the Dean attempts to resolve the matter within the division. If not, the Dean may contact other divisions with academic units that may be appropriate. In identifying these other areas, bear in mind that certain disciplines are distributed across the campuses and divisions. If you require assistance, contact the Director, Faculty & Academic Life as listed above.
  4. In a single-department division, the Dean attempts to find a temporary appointment in the division, if appropriate, or contacts other divisions with academic units that may be appropriate.
  5. If appropriate academic work can be identified then references should be sought to verify the CV provided. Ideally this should consist of three letters of reference, but in cases where this is not possible, references should minimally be obtained by telephone or email. Letters or other records of reference should be included (with the CV) in the information submitted to the Provost’s Office.
  6. The Dean of the division recruiting the original spouse/partner should contact the Office of the Vice Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, to discuss any potential spousal/partner arrangement before any commitment is made.
  7. A package including the spouse/partner’s CV, letters of reference and the draft letter of offer should be sent to the Office of the Vice Provost, Faculty & Academic Life for formal approval.
  8. Academic appointments for spouses or partners of new faculty can only be offered at the time of hire. Any commitments to future spousal appointments (e.g., after a PhD or postdoctoral position is completed) must be included in the letter of offer to the new faculty member.
  9. If there is no suitable academic work within the University of Toronto, there may be opportunities at other universities and colleges in the GTA or within reasonable commuting distance. Links to appropriate websites for other academic institutions are available at
  10. During the period of employment, steps should be taken by the incumbent and the Chair/Dean to assist the incumbent in securing continuing employment. The Chair/Dean should take an active role in the mentoring of the individual and assist them in finding a continuing appointment in the GTA or within reasonable commuting distance.
  11. Requests for extensions beyond the initial three-year period may be considered in unusual circumstances, but evidence should be given that the spouse/partner has been actively seeking a continuing appointment at the University of Toronto, within the GTA or at an institution within reasonable commuting distance. There may be no financial contribution from the Provost’s Office beyond the initial three years.
  12. Details regarding entitlement to the maternity/adoption/parental benefits are set out in PDAD&C #33, 2003-04. If, as in the case of spousal appointments, a faculty member’s appointment is for a defined term that ends before the paid (or “top-up”) portion of a maternity/adoption/parental leave would end, funding of the “top-up” ends on the last day of the appointment. The University is not obligated to extend a term contract to the end of the maternity/adoption/parental leave (paid or unpaid portions) and the candidate must receive appropriate notice that his/her contract is to terminate on its previously agreed-upon end date.
  13. In the event that a faculty member whose appointment is for a defined term takes a maternity/adoption/parental leave within the contracted period of employment, the University’s policies do not require extending the term of the contract to reflect the time taken on leave. It is permissible for the division to extend the contract until the end of a teaching term if required for academic planning purposes, but limited-term contracts should not be extended beyond the maximum number of years provided under the policy.

Special Opportunity Appointments: Tenured at Full Rank

When contemplating a tenure stream position for a spouse/partner, please review the section on Special Opportunity Appointments. While the PPAA permits the Provost to waive some or all of the procedures governing searches in exceptional circumstances, permission to proceed under the waiver is only granted where there is an opportunity for the new appointment to make a significant contribution to advancing our academic mission. Such requests would normally involve senior scholars of international standing and would typically be at the rank of Full Professor.

  1. Where the primary appointment has a spouse/partner who qualifies for a tenured Special Opportunity Appointment, this should be made known early in the process.
  2. All appointments must conform to the requirements outlined in the Academic Administrative Procedure Manual on Initial Appointments with Tenure.
  3. When both the primary appointment and the spouse/partner are being recruited to tenured positions, the dossiers should be forwarded to the President together so that review of the dossiers can be concurrent.
  4. There will be no central contribution toward the funding of a tenure stream position for a spouse/partner.

For Spouses/Partners Seeking Non-academic Employment

Dual Career Connection is a service offered through the Centre for Learning, Leadership & Culture. Beverly Kahn (Coordinator, Career Services) provides customized assistance with spouse/partner employment. Services may be initiated prior to the spouse/partner’s relocation to Toronto. The service is available for a period of one year and can be accessed for up to two years following arrival in Toronto.

Dual Career Connection offers individual career counselling and employment search coaching, resumé and interview strategies, networking assistance, and access to career development workshops and resources.

Please be aware that the spouse/partner retains responsibility for conducting their own search for employment. This is not a guarantee of employment but rather support during the employment search process.


  1. The Chair/Dean makes the initial contact with the coordinator to approve the use of the program and forwards the resumé of the spouse/partner to Upon receipt of the resumé, the coordinator contacts the spouse/partner to discuss his/her employment assistance needs and interests and provides information on the services available.
  2. The coordinator arranges an initial meeting with the spouse/partner where the appropriate level of assistance is determined, based on an initial needs assessment.
  3. The coordinator liaises with the spouse/partner throughout the period of employment assistance. While the program is customized to individual needs, in general, it includes two months of intensive career assistance with the option of an additional four months of periodic consultation and coaching.

For Spouses/Partners who are Physicians

Spouses/partners who are physicians have unique employment assistance needs. At the earliest possible point in the recruitment process, the Unit Head should contact the Temerty Faculty of Medicine Academic Human Resources Office at for further information and referral.

Better Practices in Recruitment

We recommend that you distribute this section to Search Committee Members. Download a PDF file on better practices in recruitment.

The information provided throughout this section should be used in conjunction with the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments. The better practices detailed below are developed from research on faculty recruitment and practices at peer universities across North America. They have been developed for use by search committees in recruiting new faculty members. It is our goal to continue to elaborate these as we monitor the practices of other comparable institutions and accumulate our own experience and better practices.

The Search Committee

Striking a search committee as soon as positions are approved, that is, in time to consider the overall search process, is the best practice. At this stage, a search committee should seek to inform itself of issues of diversity and excellence by:

  • Examining the distribution of the existing faculty, the profile of recent new hires and the representation of women and racialized persons / persons of colour in the pools of potential applicants.
  • Agreeing on ways that the search process will reflect commitments to inclusion, diversity, and excellence.
  • Articulating the purpose of the position (e.g., replacement in an area of scholarship that has become vacant due to the departure of a faculty member or development of a new area of scholarship or teaching).
  • Informing itself of new scholarship that may increase faculty diversity.
  • Establishing the criteria for developing the short list of candidates.
  • Establishing the range of material to be solicited through the advertisement.

Some committees have found it useful to designate different people to take responsibility for specific areas, e.g., developing the outreach plan, identifying developing areas of scholarship, assessing teaching excellence, etc. One recent committee conducted an international canvass of key department chairs in order to solicit comments on the “state of the field.”

The following are some ways to ensure that ads are relevant to the broadest group of potential applicants:

  • Use inclusive language.
  • Advertise for excellent scholarship in broad disciplines and specify areas that might be of particular interest to diverse faculty.
  • Identify a range of disciplines that may be relevant to an interdisciplinary or problem-focused area.
  • Ensure that people whose work is at the edge of their fields or who are working in emerging fields can see a fit with their work.
  • Refer to the resources available to accommodate and assist dual career couples, e.g., by stating that “The University is responsive to the needs of dual career couples.”

Candidates who can broaden and deepen the applicant pools will work in all fields. They may also be attracted by references to opportunities to:

  • Live and work in one of the most diverse regions in the world.
  • Work with groups and institutions that reflect the diversity of the Toronto region, e.g. hospitals, schools, agencies, organizations, and community groups as applicable.
  • Teach and conduct research with a diverse student population.
  • Work in collaborative or interdisciplinary programs such as Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, ethno-cultural, sexual diversities, gender, or women’s studies specializations or programs.

Recently, ads have included reference to:

  • Diversity of the student population.
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary study and programs.
  • Opportunities to work with a diverse and complex population.
  • Areas like gender history, critical race theory, ethno-specific studies along with either broad discipline areas or interdisciplinary areas.

Specific examples include statements such as:

  • “The University of Toronto offers opportunities for collaborative and interdisciplinary research and teaching, the excitement of working with a diverse student population and actively encourages innovative scholarship.”
  • “As the economic and intellectual hub of Canada, the Toronto region provides access to policy and decision makers at all levels. Opportunities are available to work with a wide range of public and private organizations, groups and institutions that reflect the region’s diversity. Seen as one of the most multicultural places in the world, Toronto is also the safest city of its size in North America.”

Creating a Proactive Recruitment Strategy

The goal of proactive outreach is to ensure that every potential candidate sees our faculty advertisements and feels welcome to apply. Achieving this goal broadens and deepens our pools and provides a basis for hiring decisions that are both excellent and diverse. See a summary document and checklist for best practices in proactive recruitment. Search committee members and all faculty should use their networks to identify potential candidates, organizations, and email lists that will reach the broadest possible pool of applicants. Networking and recruiting through personal and professional contacts is effective and appropriate when it is practised openly and limited to inviting people to apply.

When advertising your search, it is important to identify and make contacts with organizations and groups that may represent diversity to your faculty or program. It is good practice to:

  • Review databases of grant and award holders where there are likely to be pools of applicants.
  • Advertise in electronic resources that are likely to reach diverse applicants by virtue of their organizational focus, affiliation, or readership.
  • Contact professional associations to find out if there are committees or groups within academic associations representing interests that are specific to diverse groups.
  • Contact a broad range of professional associations (public interest organizations, consultants working in relevant areas, research organizations in the private and public sectors) that extends beyond academic associations.

Other important departmental activities to support a proactive outreach plan are to:

  • Encourage all members of the department to make recruitment part of their activities at professional meetings.
  • Contact prominent members of diverse communities in your field and ask them to identify candidates.
  • Keep a list of individuals or organizations that might stock your department’s “pipeline” of diverse future candidates.

Importantly, do not close the search process until you have attained a candidate pool of sufficient diversity.

Selection of the Shortlist

Shortlisting practices like the following support both diversity and excellence:

  • Systematically looking for excellent candidates who have flourished in less prestigious institutions or who have earned less recognition in other prestigious institutions despite their excellence.
  • Recognizing that interdisciplinary inquiry has produced some of the most significant new work; evaluating it may pose challenges to discipline-based scholars, e.g., a leading health economist may have published in non-economic journals.
  • Recognizing that diverse scholars, researchers, and students are directly affected by knowledge that is produced in research institutions and by that which is left out; their inclusion helps to transform our knowledge base, e.g., critical legal theory, women’s studies, Indigenous / Aboriginal Studies, etc.
  • Recognizing that knowledge and academic excellence is built by a range of scholarship that includes discovery, integration, application, and teaching; scholarship may be developed in a variety of settings and organizations, e.g., the scholarship of those who have worked in NGOs or community agencies can inform the entire range of knowledge in education, medicine, the social sciences, etc.
  • Recalling that research continues to show that gender can influence the perceptions of quality of a curriculum vitae.
  • Recognizing that there is a range of ways to describe valuable contributions to a discipline and that cultural differences reflected in a curriculum vitae or letters of reference may influence evaluators; e.g., letters may reflect cultural values that emphasize different aspects of scholarship like affiliation with excellent scholars rather than individual achievement.
  • Recognizing that scholars with non-standard career paths may have similar productivity and commitments and make similarly excellent contributions as those whose career paths have been less complex, e.g., a scholar with a complex medical or immigration history or family responsibilities, or a tie to a specific geographic and historic community.

The Candidate Visit

A summary of a number of practices at the University is provided in the information outlined above.  Further details and points to consider are provided here.

The campus visit by potential candidates (and their families/partners) can be a crucial aspect in their decision to join the faculty at the University of Toronto. Clearly the actual format for the candidates’ visit will vary depending on the needs of both the candidate and the department/search committee. Some recommendations of good practice from across North America might be useful in designing your candidate’s visit:

  • Appoint an administrative staff member to coordinate the visit and make all travel and accommodation arrangements. Have the staff member communicate directly with the candidate once the initial invitation has been made and ensure that all special needs or accommodations are respected.
  • If the candidate is a nursing mother, be sure to schedule breaks (of at least 20 minutes) every two to four hours and provide a private, clean space where she can breastfeed or express milk. Ensure the areas has adequate lighting, a chair, and an electrical outlet. It should be in proximity to hand washing and (if requested) refrigeration facilities.
  • Itineraries providing full details of travel, accommodation, scheduled meetings, presentations, and organized entertainment should be provided to candidates well in advance of their arrival at the University.
  • If the candidate is being recruited on the St. George or UTM campuses, set up a time for the candidate (and family/partner) to visit the Faculty Relocation Service by contacting For UTSC, contact the UTSC HR divisional office, and speak to Disha Kapoor (
  • If you have not already done so, send a copy of the Faculty Relocation Service’s Welcome Booklet.  These are available by emailing
  • Candidates should be encouraged to explore the websites for new faculty listed at Links are available here to the Family Care Office, Faculty Relocation Service, Faculty Housing, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, and many other services and resources designed for (potential) faculty members.
  • The University of Washington appoints an “ambassador” who acts as the host for the candidates throughout their campus visit. This “ambassador” should meet the candidate at the airport and introduce them to the city. They may also consider entertaining the candidate and other colleagues at their home. The “ambassador” or host may also be able to determine some of the issues that might be involved for individual candidates and suggest possible excursions that would answer questions (e.g., about the safety of the area, the region’s diversity, the resources available at the University library, the recreation/athletic facilities).
  • If the candidate you have invited represents gender, sexual, racial, or cultural diversity you may want to match them with an “ambassador” or “host” with a similar background. It is important that they have the opportunity to speak to someone who has encountered similar experiences without necessarily needing to discuss this with the Search Committee.
  • The University has a number of very attractive provisions within its benefit plans that are an important resource when trying to recruit candidates. Be sure that all candidates (regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race, or culture) are aware that the University provides coverage for same sex partners under its benefits plans (this also highlights the University’s proactive stance regarding equity and diversity), offers generous maternity, parental, and adoption leave, and excellent health insurance coverage.

When scheduling the candidate’s visit, you may wish to tailor it to their interests as well as making what can be a challenging and intense day for the candidate a little easier. You may consider:

  • Putting the candidates’ seminar or presentation early in the day so that this can be a topic of conversation during other meetings.
  • Scheduling in breaks so that the candidate has time for seeing the campus, preparing themselves for their meetings or presentations, and getting a sense of the local community.

Providing an opportunity for the candidate to meet a range of people helps to give them a sense of the social milieu in the department. Suggested meetings include:

  • Dean/Unit Head.
  • Vice/Associate Deans.
  • Individual faculty members.
  • Graduate students.
  • Relevant research groups.
  • Faculty/departmental HR specialist.
  • Family Care Office/Faculty Relocation Service.
  • Library resource person.

Suggested events include:

  • Campus tour.
  • Tour of Hart House, Athletic Centre, and Faculty Club on the St. George Campus.
  • Tour of the Blackwood Gallery, the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre & Library, or the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Centre at UTM.
  • Tour of the Dorothy McCarthy Gallery, the Athletic Centre, or one of the new buildings at UTSC.
  • Meal at the Faculty Club, one of the onsite or local restaurants.

If a candidate is travelling with their family or partner, you may also want to consider arranging the following events or meetings for them:

  • If the partner is an academic, you may want to have them meet with another academic partner of a faculty member who has been involved in spousal employment.
  • Inform prospective faculty that the services of Dual Career Connection are available to spouses and partners of new faculty to support a non-academic job search once an offer has been accepted.
  • Non-academic partners may also want to meet with a partner of a faculty member.
  • Meeting with the Faculty Relocation Service regarding the area’s amenities, cultural opportunities, schools, housing, job opportunities, and more.
  • Provide tickets or passes to an event on campus.

Assistance in setting up these meetings can be provided by the Family Care Office and Faculty Relocation Service (, 416.978.0951).

Promptly process and pay all expenses incurred by the candidate!