Numbers of women on Canadian boards increases

Women have increased their numbers on Canadian company boards according to a review of the corporate governance disclosure of 660 companies as it relates to women in leadership roles.

The review which covered company reporting made between December 31, 2016 and March 31, 2017 was completed by Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities. This is their annual third study following the implementation of rules under national legislation which requires companies to disclose certain information regarding women on boards and in executive officer positions.

Women Canadian boards increases

Canada: Numbers of women on boards rises

The survey found that the total percentage of board seats occupied by women on Canadian boards has increased 3% to 14%  from 11% in the first year. Of the issuers with a market capitalisation over $10 billion, 24% of board seats are held by women, compared with 21% in the first year.

In the issuer sample, 61% of issuers had at least one woman on their boards, compared to 49% in the first year, reflecting a 12% rise. The percentage of issuers with at least one woman in an executive officer position increased to 62% from 60% in the first year.

The review also found a significant increase in the percentage of issuers that have adopted a policy relating to the representation of women on their board. Of the issuers sampled, 35% have adopted a policy, representing a 20% increase over three years. Those issuers that have adopted such a policy had a higher percentage of women on their boards compared to issuers without such a policy, the survey found.

Compliance with the disclosure requirement is also high the review found – with 97% of issuers disclosing the number or percentage of women on their boards and 94% of issuers disclosed the number or percentage of women in executive officer positions.

Louis Morisset, chair of the  Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and president and chief of the Autorité des marchés financiers said:  Canadian Securities Administrators said: “Completing and publishing our third review fulfills our commitment to report on the representation of women on boards and in executive officer positions, following the implementation of disclosure requirements that aim to increase transparency for investors. This continues to be an area of focus for the CSA.”

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