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Report: 2021 Diversity Disclosure Practices – Diversity and leadership at Canadian public companies

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

Oct 13, 2021

Throughout the past year, legislators, key stakeholders, institutional investors and the media have kept critical eyes trained on the diversity of boards and executive teams in corporate Canada. In 2021, the diversity discussion has seen some moderate progress in the advancement of women on boards, including filling more vacant or newly created board seats than ever before and taking on more leadership on those boards, along with a continued focus on other aspects of diversity. New requirements under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) which took effect last year broadened the range of corporations required to provide disclosure regarding women in leadership positions and introduced new requirements for disclosure regarding members of visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities. There has been modest growth in certain areas, but considerable work remains.

Osler’s seventh annual comprehensive report, 2021 Diversity Disclosure Practices: Diversity and leadership at Canadian public companies [PDF], examines disclosure by TSX-listed companies and CBCA corporations subject to disclosure requirements. As in previous years, the report provides detailed information on TSX-listed companies to show year-over-year comparisons as well as 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 2020
  • breakdown and percentages of women executive officers for full-year 2020
  • diversity policies and targets for full-year 2020
  • 2021 mid-year results regarding the number and percentage of women directors and women in executive officer positions
  • 2021 mid-year results for CBCA corporations regarding gender and other diversity characteristics including Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and persons with a disability
  • examples of best practices for improving gender diversity among boards and executive teams

The content and methodology for this year’s report have been prepared in response to amendments to the CBCA that went into effect on 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)(Diversity Disclosure Requirement), 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 provides a level of insight into how public issuers that are not listed on Canada’s senior exchange are faring on diversity.

Download PDF: 2021 Diversity Disclosure Practices