Board diversity challenges ongoing for Canadian companies

December 10, 2020

The Globe and Mail has released the findings from its annual Board Games survey which ranks diversity on Canada’s corporate boards against a meticulous set of governance criteria.

While the results show that progress has been made for female representation on boards and in the Canadian C-Suite, the overall pace of change has been slow.

This year, the conversation in Canada around corporate diversity evolved beyond gender, with  federally incorporated public companies now required to make certain annual disclosures regarding the representation of women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and people with disabilities on the board and in senior management.

In the U.S., Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS), which is one of the biggest proxy advisory firms, announced that from 2022 it will begin to recommend withholding votes from nominating-committee chairs of organizations where the board “has no apparent racially or ethnically diverse members.”

Although, no such policy has been announced in Canada yet, Rima Ramchandani told The Globe that it won’t be long until similar guidelines are introduced in Canada. 

“I think that, given the interconnectedness of the Canadian and U. S. markets and the institutional investor community, frankly, it’s just a matter of time that some of those guidelines that we’re seeing in the States creep up to Canada,” she said.

READ: To find out more about the ISS guidelines, read our bulletin “ISS releases new diversity proxy guidelines: S&P/TSX Composite Index companies expected to adopt a 30% target for women on boards”.

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