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Report: 2020 Diversity Disclosure Practices - Diversity and leadership at Canadian public companies

Author(s): Andrew MacDougall, John M. Valley, Jennifer Jeffrey

Oct 5, 2020

Now available: 2023 Diversity Disclosure Practices – Diversity and leadership at Canadian public companies

The diversity of boards and executive teams in corporate Canada is a key focus of regulators, institutional investors and the media alike. Over the past year, this diversity discussion has continued to show slow growth in the advancement of women in leadership positions, accompanied by an expanded focus into other facets of diversity. This year, new disclosure requirements under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) broadened the range of corporations required to provide disclosure regarding women in leadership positions and added new requirements for disclosure regarding visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities.   

Osler’s sixth annual comprehensive report, 2020 Diversity Disclosure Practices: Diversity and leadership at Canadian public companies [PDF], now covers disclosure by TSX-listed companies and CBCA corporations subject to disclosure requirements. As in previous years, the report provides detailed disclosure on TSX-listed companies to show year-over-year comparisons. However, the report also now includes new chapters summarizing the results of our review of CBCA company disclosure. We also highlight disclosed best practices to improve diversity and inclusion and samples of excellence in disclosure.

Report findings provide insight into the following areas: 

  • breakdown and percentages of women on boards for full-year 2019
  • breakdown and percentages of women executive officers for full-year 2019
  • diversity policies and targets for full-year 2019
  • 2020 mid-year results regarding the number and percentage of women directors and women in executive officer positions
  • 2020 results for CBCA corporations regarding gender and other diversity characteristics including Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities
  • examples of best practices for improving gender diversity among boards and executive teams

The content and methodology for this year’s report have been updated in response to amendments to the CBCA that were effective January 1, 2020.

As in past years, the data presented in this report was obtained by surveying public disclosure documents filed by all TSX-listed companies that are subject to National Instrument 58-101 Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices (NI 58-101), which requires disclosure respecting the representation of women on boards and in executive officer positions.

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. Unlike the Diversity Disclosure Requirements, the CBCA Requirement extends beyond TSX-listed issuers to include all “distributing corporations” governed by the CBCA, including venture issuers. This affords some insight into how public issuers that are not listed on Canada’s senior exchange are faring on diversity.


DOWNLOAD PDF: 2020 Diversity Disclosure Practices