OSC steps up efforts for women in boardrooms

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

All listed companies in Canada, besides Alberta and British Columbia, will soon be required to disclose targets for the number of women they want in high-ranking positions on boards and executive positions when new amendments become effective December 31, 2014.

Proposed measures to promote gender diversity were first explored in a consultation paper by the Ontario Securities Commission in 2013 and have since been refined.

Companies won’t be pressured to impose such quotas, but they must at least disclose them, and report on their progress each year in either their annual information forms or in management information circulars.

Such efforts are designed to increase transparency regarding the representation of women in these prominent roles and get more women into boardrooms.

Public companies must also voluntarily explain why or why not they have followed such amendments in order to encourage active involvement.

Such measures to be disclosed include:

• whether or not the company has adopted director term limits or other board renewal mechanisms

• if the company has a written policy regarding female representation

• if the company or nominating committee thought about the level of representation of women in the selection process or when choosing a board director.

• if the company considers the representation of women in executive positions when appointing executive officers

• targets for representation of women and annual and cumulative progress in achieving them

• the number and proportion of women in these positions in the company and each of its major subsidiaries.