The securities regulators of Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan (the participating jurisdictions) have  jointly published CSA Multilateral Staff Notice 58-311 Report on Fifth Staff Review of Disclosure regarding Women on Boards and in Executive Officer Positions (The Staff Notice).

This is the fifth review by the participating jurisdictions of disclosure of women on boards and in executive officer roles of reporting issuers since 2015 when National Instrument 58-101 Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices was published. The Staff Notice summarizes the results of a review of issuers with year-ends between December 31, 2018, and March 31, 2019. The data was compiled from public documents filed on the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR) and includes the name, industry, and year-end of the 641 non-venture issuers who were included in the review sample.

Key findings include:

  • The total percentage of board seats held by women rose to 17% in 2019, up from 11% in 2015. This figure increased by 2% from 2018.
  • When board seats became available and were filled, 33% were filled by women, up 3% from 2018.
  • The number of issuers with at least one woman on their board increased to 73% in 2019, up from 66% in 2018, and rising from 49% in 2015. However, 170 issuers reported they had no women on their boards.
  • 50%  of issuers had adopted a policy on identifying and nominating women directors in 2019, up significantly from 42% in 2018.  This represents an over threefold increase since 2015.
  • Issuers that adopted targets for the representation of women on their boards increased significantly to 22% in 2019, up from 16% in 2018, and 7% in 2015.
  • The number of issuers with at least one woman in executive officer positions fell to 64% in 2019 from 66% in 2018, but still represented an overall increase from 60% in 2015.  Of all issuers, 4% reported having a female CEO, which remained unchanged over the previous year.  Meanwhile, the number of issuers with a female CFO rose to 16% in 2019, up from 15% in 2018.

CSA staff noted that the number of women on boards tended to vary with industry. For example, the manufacturing, retail, and utility sectors had the highest percentage of issuers with one or more women in executive officer positions, while the biotechnology, oil, and gas and mining sectors had the lowest percentage.

CSA Multilateral Staff Notice 58-311 is available for download from the websites of the participating jurisdictions.

For more information, please call Barbara Hendrickson at BAX Securities Law (416) 601 -1004.

This publication is not intended to constitute legal advice. No one should act on it or refrain from acting on it without consulting with a lawyer. BAX does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy or currency or completeness of the publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission of BAX Securities Law.