Leading the way: Diversity standouts among Canadian public companies – Compliance Week

Leading the way: Diversity standouts among Canadian public companies – Compliance Week

As of Jan. 1, publicly listed, federally incorporated companies governed by the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) had to start providing in their annual meeting materials to shareholders enhanced disclosures about the company’s diversity policies and practices relating to its board of directors and senior management team. Specifically, companies must disclose, at a minimum, information on the representation of the following four “designated groups,” as defined under the Employment Equity Act: women, Aboriginal persons, members of “visible minorities,” and persons with disabilities. Companies also have the option to voluntarily disclose information about other groups they feel contribute to their diversity efforts—such as age, veteran status, and sexual orientation.

Osler’s diversity disclosure practice report reveals room for improvement. According to the findings, women hold 21.5 percent of all board seats among TSX-listed companies that disclosed the number of women directors on their boards, an increase of almost 3 percent compared to 2019.

Canada’s larger companies continue to lead the way, with women holding 31.5 percent of board positions among the S&P/TSX 60 companies and 28.3 percent of board positions among the 221 companies included in the S&P/TSX Composite Index. All-male boards continue to decline, representing 18.5 percent of the TSX-listed companies.

At the executive-officer level, however, the proportion of women executive officers “has remained largely unchanged since 2015, and under 10 percent of TSX-listed companies have targets for women executive officers,” the report stated.

A separate report conducted in March by Catalyst Canada, in collaboration with