The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) recently released its annual list of priorities for its work over the 2017-18 fiscal year. Each year the securities regulator invites comments from market participants on the work it proposes to undertake and other areas of concern.
Toronto, ON, June 1, 2017 – Shareholders will once again push for corporate gender diversity at Restaurant Brands International (RBI) (TSX: QSR), the parent company of Tim Horton’s and Burger King. A shareholder proposal on the issue, the second in as many years, will go to a vote at the company’s annual meeting on June 5.
Filed by OceanRock Investments Inc. (Meritas Jantzi Social Index® Fund) with support from the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), the resolution asks Restaurant Brands to adopt and publish a policy and plan aimed at improving gender diversity at the board and executive level.
Last year, SHARE worked with OceanRock Investments Inc. to file a similar diversity proposal at RBI which received majority support from independent shareholders. Although the company has since added one woman to its board, she is the daughter of another director, the founder of the hedge fund that is RBI’s majority shareholder. This suggests that the new appointment does not fully address shareholders’ concerns about increasing diversity and independence on the board.
“The purpose of pushing for gender diversity on boards and amongst senior management is not just to address inequity – although that is one of our goals,” says Fred Pinto, CEO of OceanRock Investments Inc. “We also believe that a diversity of backgrounds and independent director viewpoints is a check against groupthink on boards and therefore makes for better companies. RBI’s actions to date don’t meet that test.”
So far this year, gender diversity proposals filed by SHARE clients have resulted in positive commitments from two Canadian companies. A shareholder resolution on board gender diversity at Canfor Corporation received 32% shareholder support leading the company to commit to developing a diversity policy by the end of the year. And on April 28th, 42% of shareholders at Constellation Software voted in favour of a board diversity proposal, prompting Constellation President Mark Leonard to vow to address the issue in a “meaningful way”.
“The results at Canfor and Constellation Software indicate that active shareholders are finally getting results on the issue of gender diversity in the boardroom,” says Delaney Greig, Engagement Analyst at SHARE. “However, progress is slow and there is much work to be done at the top echelons of Canadian companies and throughout the workforce to close the gender gap. This vote at Restaurant Brands International is a chance for shareholders to speak up and send a clear signal to the company that better diversity leads to better companies.”
SHARE is committed to pushing for progress by engaging companies on gender diversity issues on behalf of institutional investors. SHARE also understands that diversity goes beyond gender and is companies to include Indigenous heritage or identity as a board diversity criterion, in keeping with the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
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Notes for Editors
Interviews available with:
- Delaney Greig, Shareholder Engagement Analyst, SHARE
contact: 416-306-6463 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fred Pinto, CEO, OceanRock Investments Inc.
The Restaurant Brands International AGM will take place at 8:00am on Monday, June 5 at 226 Wyecroft Road, Oakville, Ontario.
About SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research & Education)
SHARE is a Canadian leader in responsible investment services, research and education for institutional investors. Since its creation as a non-profit organization in 2000, SHARE has provided proxy voting analysis, shareholder engagement, education, policy advocacy, and practical research on issues related to responsible investment. SHARE’s clients include pension funds, mutual funds, foundations, faith-based organizations and asset managers across Canada. www.share.ca / @share_ca
About OceanRock Investments Inc.
OceanRock Investments Inc. is one of Canada’s fastest-growing Investment management organizations, managing $1.4 billion on behalf of Canadian investors. OceanRock offers a comprehensive range of managed portfolio solutions and individual funds to meet the needs of individual and institutional investors. OceanRock is dedicated to offering disciplined, risk-controlled diversified investment solutions to Canadian individual and institutional investors and has a core commitment to Responsible Investing through its Meritas SRI Funds. OceanRock Investments Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qtrade Financial Group, which is a member of Desjardins Group, Canada’s largest and the world’s fifth largest cooperative financial group. OceanRock is a Sustaining Member of the Responsible Investment Association. https://www.qtrade.ca/funds.jsp