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The fact of the matter is that Canada appears to be behind some of the other jurisdictions both in terms of representation of women on boards and in senior management, and in terms of the regulatory response.” “The preferable approach for improving gender diversity on boards is ‘comply or explain’ rather than binding quotas. A preferable approach would be, for example, to have gender quotas for the recruitment process for board candidates.

Another is to professionalize the recruitment process.

We asked some of Canada’s business leaders which is the right way forward. A rule of 50% of board members being women in an industry when there’s no women to start with would be counterproductive.

When you look at the Norway experience, they tried the moral suasion step, and then they tried voluntary targets, and then they decided to go heavy with mandatory quotas.

The only way I could say I could support quotas is if we tried a bunch of other things and they don’t work.

The Ontario government and the Ontario Securities Commission have both endorsed “comply or explain” policies, which require boards to develop and disclose policies to improve their gender diversity, or else explain why they haven’t.

And a federal committee struck earlier this year is due to release recommendations later this fall.

Most Canadian business leaders agree that more women are needed on corporate boards—female representation has hovered at about 10% for years.

But there’s little agreement about how to boost the numbers. Celine Hervieux-Payette have called for hard quotas on representation, while critics have argued that women should be appointed solely on their own merit.

I should add, however, gender is only one dimension of diversity, and it’s important boards focus on multiple dimensions of diversity.” “I don’t think quotas move the needle in the right direction.

I’ve always said to women you never want to be the potted plant; you never want to be seen in the eyes of others as the person who is here so that we can say we’ve got one.

One could also get behind the numbers and look at why we haven’t identified more women.

In my view, part of that is because the search strategy may not have been appropriate …

That depends on what your company is trying to achieve.

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