Osler News

The current and less glacial state of gender diversity disclosure in TSX-listed companies in 2017: Osler issues third annual report

Sep 18, 2017 2 MIN READ

Osler’s third annual report on the state of diversity disclosure practices by TSX-listed companies (other than closed-end and ETFs) reveals an increasing proportion of companies have made some strides to improve gender diversity in leadership roles. But there is still considerable distance to be covered before Canadian companies are at par with international firms that have led the way in prioritizing diversity in their executive suites and on their boards of directors.

A key catalyst for change is coming from institutional shareholders.

“While improving gender diversity has been a focus of legislators and regulators, institutional shareholders are more visibly expressing their support for greater gender diversity on the boards of companies in which they invest,” Osler partner Andrew MacDougall explains. “This report not only gauges the progress that has been made by TSX-listed companies on this front, but also offers insight into the multiple areas where improvement is needed.” 

Here are several positive highlights from the report:

  • A significant jump in the number of companies that disclose they have a written board diversity policy
  • A significant decline in companies without any women representatives on their board
  • In the S+P/TSX 60 companies, almost half have adopted a target for the representation of women on their boards.

The report was compiled by Osler’s Corporate Practice Group, which conducted an extensive review and analysis of diversity disclosure made by TSX-listed companies up to July 31, 2017. We compared those results to the same period over the last two years and examined disclosure for the full 2016 calendar year. The report also puts those results into context by highlighting developments over the past 12 months in the gender diversity landscape internationally, and provides examples of best practices and leadership by companies in this area.

The full 2017 Diversity Disclosure Practices Report: Women in leadership roles at TSX-listed companies is available for download.