Osler’s seventh annual report on diversity disclosure practices covers disclosure by TSX-listed companies and Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) companies subject to diversity disclosure requirements. The report provides a detailed snapshot on the representation of women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities in leadership roles across corporate Canada.

The results of our 2021 Diversity Disclosure Practices – Diversity and leadership at Canadian public companies report indicates that there has been modest progress on the advancement of women and members of visible minorities on boards, but very few gains have been made for women at the executive officer level and there continues to be a distinct lack of directors who are Aboriginal peoples or persons with disabilities. Women now hold 23.4% of board seats among TSX-listed companies disclosing the number of women on their boards, an increase of almost 2 percentage points over last year. However, the proportion of women executive officers increased only slightly to 18.2% compared to 17% in each of 2019 and 2020, and only 10.7% of TSX-listed companies have targets for women executive officers, largely unchanged from last year.

Our review of diversity disclosure by CBCA companies reveals a marked absence of directors from other diversity groups. Only 6.8% of disclosing CBCA company directors are members of visible minorities and, among the more than 2,200 board positions of the 316 CBCA companies that provided full or partial disclosure, there were only 8 positions held by Aboriginal peoples, one more than last year. The number of director positions held by persons with disabilities also remained exceptionally rare, at only 9 positions (up from 6 last year).

Key highlights from the report include:

  • Women now hold 23.4% of board seats among all TSX-listed companies disclosing the number of women directors on their boards
  • At S&P/TSX 60 companies, women hold 33.2% of all board seats
  • At S&P/TSX Composite Index companies, women hold 31.5% of all board seats
  • 6.6% of the time, the chair of a TSX-listed company is a woman
  • 4.8% of the time, the CEO of a TSX-listed company is a woman
  • Members of visible minorities hold 6.8% of CBCA public company board seats
  • Aboriginal peoples hold 8 CBCA public company board positions
  • Persons with disabilities hold 9 CBCA public company board positions
  • 32.3% of TSX-listed companies have targets for women directors
  • 71.7% of S&P/TSX 60 companies have targets for women directors
  • 10.7% of TSX-listed companies have targets for women executive officers

Our 2021 Diversity Disclosure Practices report, conducted as in previous years by Osler’s Corporate Governance Group, is an extensive review and analysis of diversity disclosure by CBCA and TSX-listed companies, with summarized survey results for the full 2020 calendar year, and the period January 1, 2021, to July 31, 2021. The report also highlights best practices for improving diversity among boards and executive teams.

Research methodology

Data presented in our 2021 Diversity Disclosure Practices report were obtained by surveying public disclosure documents filed by all TSX-listed companies other than venture issuers, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds and structured notes. 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, including venture issuers, that are subject to that requirement. Generally speaking, a “distributing corporation” is a corporation with publicly traded securities. Research methodology is detailed in the report on page 86.