New data shows Alberta companies lag on board gender diversity

By March 7, 2018Press Release

A new research brief released today by the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) reveals that progress on board gender diversity in Alberta companies is inhibited by outdated regulatory limits.

Toronto, ON, March 7, 2018 – New research from the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) found that publicly-listed companies incorporated under the Alberta Business Corporations Act (ABCA) continue to lag on board and executive gender diversity compared to companies incorporated elsewhere in Canada.

SHARE found that the percentage of Alberta-incorporated companies on the TSX Composite Index with all male boards (25%) was almost triple the rate (9.2%) of the remaining companies on the TSX Composite Index last year. While the average percentage of board seats held by women at Alberta companies did improve slightly between 2016 and 2017, the gap between Alberta companies and the rest of the TSX Composite Index grew larger when it comes to board seats held by women. SHARE also found that the average percentage of executive positions held by women at Alberta-incorporated companies actually declined between 2016 and 2017, while the rest of the TSX Composite companies reported improvements.

Shareholders of companies registered in the rest of Canada and in the US have been filing shareholder proposals calling on their companies to address the gender leadership gap. Last year SHARE, on behalf of shareholders, filed four proposals at TSX companies with no women on their Boards of Directors. Three have since appointed women to their Boards. In the US thirty-five proposals on board race and gender diversity were filed in 2017, nine went to vote.

In Alberta, however, regulatory impediments effectively prevent most shareholders from filing resolutions with Alberta-incorporated companies for vote at the company’s annual meeting. No gender diversity proposals have ever been filed or voted with Alberta-incorporated companies.

“Shareholders and securities regulators are concerned about the slow progress nationally for board and executive gender equality,” says Delaney Greig, Engagement Analyst with SHARE. “With the impediments to filing shareholder proposals at Alberta companies, our ability to push for progress is hampered where it is needed most.”

This year SHARE is continuing to engage with and file proposals at companies with few or no women on their Boards seeking change. It has also reached out to the Alberta Government about the barrier to change created by the ABCA regulations.

“Stephanie McLean, Alberta Minister of Status of Women, is also the Minister responsible for the ABCA, and therefore holds the power to change this situation” Greig added. “A simple amendment to the ABCA regulations would allow shareholders to engage with the Alberta-incorporated companies they own about gender diversity in the same way they can everywhere else in North America.”

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Notes for Editors

Interviews available with Delaney Greig, Engagement Analyst, SHARE

Contact: Delaney Greig, 416-306-6463 or [email protected]

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 with more than $22 billion in assets under management.

www.share.ca / @share_ca

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