Shareholder proposals and shareholder votes to push for board diversity
Toronto, ON, March 7, 2017 – Progress on gender diversity in boardrooms and executive suites is slow across the country, and that’s a concern for Canadian investors. In recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8, the Shareholder Association for Research & Education (SHARE) announces efforts to tackle gender diversity and gender-related pay gaps across corporate Canada.
According to the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), only 12% of Canadian board seats are occupied by women, and women hold just 8% of executive positions at Canada’s 100 largest companies.
In order to address this persistent gap, SHARE clients have filed shareholder proposals asking Canadian companies that do not have women on their boards of directors to develop a clear plan to change that picture. And, when voting shares on behalf of clients SHARE will vote against the entire Nominating Committee of the board of directors if a company’s board has zero women and does not disclose a clear policy aimed at increasing that number.
“The slow progress on gender equality is raising red flags for our clients,” says Delaney Greig, Engagement Analyst at SHARE. “Gender diversity is a critical attribute of a well-functioning board and a measure of sound corporate governance. Research shows that companies with policies that promote gender wage equality and the advancement of women into management attract more talented employees of both genders and consistently out-perform the overall market.”
Last year, SHARE worked with OceanRock Investments to file a diversity proposal at Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the parent company of Tim Horton’s. Although Restaurant Brands International has since added one woman to its board, this year OceanRock is asking for a comprehensive plan to address diversity across the entire company. SHARE has filed three other proposals at Canadian companies on behalf of its clients.
“At the end of the day, investors know that better diversity leads to better companies,” says Greig. “Equal gender opportunities and wages create conditions for strong financial returns and a strong economy as a whole.”
SHARE is committed to pushing for progress by engaging companies on gender diversity issues on behalf of institutional investors. We also understand that diversity goes beyond gender and are asking companies to include Indigenous heritage 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, Engagement Analyst
Contact: Norah Murphy, 604.695.2026 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.
SHARE is a signatory to the U.N. Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI).
www.share.ca / @share_ca
 CSA Multilateral Staff Notice 58-308, “Staff Review of Women on Boards and in Executive Officer Positions – Compliance with NI 58-101Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices”, Canadian Securities Administration (2016): http://www.osc.gov.on.ca/documents/en/Securities-Category5/sn_20160928_58-308_staff-review-women-on-boards.pdf.