Dec 20, 2019
Diversity disclosure requirements are changing
On January 1, 2020, new diversity disclosure requirements under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) take effect. These new rules require federally-incorporated, public companies to provide shareholders with information on diversity policies and practices regarding the make up of their board of directors and senior management, including the proportion of women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.
These requirements follow the “comply or explain” approach - where companies without a written board policy to identify and include members of each group on the board must explain why they have not done so.
Our Board Diversity Policy Template
In light of these new requirements, the ICD and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP have updated our complimentary Board Diversity Policy Template. This revised template continues to help organizations address gender diversity by adopting a written policy respecting the representation of women on the board. In addition, the policy can be customized to address the CBCA disclosure requirements with respect to the representation on the board of Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities, as well as other diversity characteristics. Organizations may choose to set goals for chosen diversity characteristics.
When considering its future diversity, your board may wish to reflect on the key stakeholder interests (including employees, partners, prospective customers, communities) which affect or are impacted by the organization and its activities and whether it would assist the organization’s relationships or engagement efforts with such stakeholders if they were reflected in the membership of the board. Doing so will better position your board to determine the diversity of background, experience and culture it feels will be necessary to meet the company’s purpose and accomplish its strategy.
We encourage users to view this template as a starting point, and leverage it to tailor policies that align with their organization’s business objectives and the competency and behavioural requirements they have identified for their board.