Oct 5, 2020
Osler’s sixth annual report on diversity disclosure practices covers disclosure by TSX-listed companies and Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) companies subject to diversity disclosure requirements. The report provides an updated snapshot on the representation of women, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities in leadership roles in corporate Canada.
The results of our 2020 Diversity Disclosure Practices - Diversity and leadership at Canadian public companies report reveal continued, slow growth in the advancement of women on boards, but no progress made for women at the executive officer level, few visible minority directors and a noticeable lack of directors who are Aboriginal peoples or persons with disabilities. Women now hold over 21.5% of board seats among TSX-listed companies disclosing the number of women on their boards, an increase of almost 3% compared to 2019 and reversing a gradual decline in the year-over-year rate of increase in proportion of board seats held by women. However, no progress has been made at the executive officer level and only 9.8% of TSX-listed companies have targets for women executive officers. This year, we also noticed a significant increase in companies disclosing that their board diversity policy also considers other diversity characteristics, including ethnicity/race.
Our review of diversity disclosure by CBCA companies shows results on the representation of women that are comparable to those reported for TSX-listed issuers, however, there is a marked absence of directors from other diversity groups. Only 5.5% of disclosing CBCA company directors are visible minorities and among the 2,023 board positions of the 270 CBCA companies which provided full or partial disclosure on their practices before July 31, 2020, there were only seven positions held by Aboriginal peoples and only six positions held by persons with disabilities.
Other key highlights from the report:
Women now hold 21.5% of all board seats among all TSX-listed companies disclosing the number of women directors on their boards
At S&P/TSX 60 companies, women hold 31.5% of all board seats
64.7% of disclosing TSX-listed companies have written board diversity policies
47.6% of disclosing TSX-listed companies have more than one woman director
Targets for women directors have been adopted by 58.5% of disclosing S&P/TSX 60 companies, but by only 28.8% of disclosing TSX-listed companies overall
5% of disclosing TSX-listed companies have a woman as the board chair
At 26 companies (4.4% of disclosing TSX-listed companies) the CEO is a woman
The percentage of CBCA public company board seats held by visible minorities is 5.5% based on 217 CBCA companies disclosing the number of visible minority directors
Out of the 270 CBCA public companies providing disclosure, the number of board positions held by Aboriginal peoples is seven and the number of board positions held by persons with disabilities is six
Of 230 CBCA public companies providing disclosure, almost none disclosed having targets for designated groups (other than women): visible minorities – 1; Aboriginal peoples – 1; persons with disabilities – 0; and for all designated groups (other than women) collectively – 2
Our 2020 Diversity Disclosure Practices report, conducted as in previous years by Osler’s Corporate Governance Group, is an extensive review and analysis of diversity disclosure by CBCA and TSX-listed companies, with summarized survey results for the full 2019 calendar year, and the period January 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020. The report also highlights best practices for improving diversity among boards and executive teams.
Data presented in our 2020 Diversity Disclosure Practices report were obtained by surveying public disclosure documents filed by all TSX-listed companies other than TSX Venture Exchange companies, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds and structured notes. The data presented in this report in response to the CBCA Requirement was obtained by surveying public disclosure documents filed on SEDAR by “distributing corporations” governed by the CBCA, including venture issuers companies, that are subject to that requirement. Generally speaking, a “distributing corporation” is a corporation with publicly-traded securities. Research methodology is detailed in the report on page 14.
Interested in learning more about the research findings and gender diversity in corporate Canada? Read the full report, 2020 Diversity Disclosure Practices - Diversity and leadership at Canadian public companies, or contact Andrew MacDougall or John Valley in Osler’s Corporate Governance Group.