Women on Boards

Best Practices

Since 2012, many Canadians have been engaged in a dialogue on how to best increase the participation of women at the highest levels of corporate and public life. Organizations from coast to coast have shared their best practices and have indicated their support for board gender diversity, and their efforts are demonstrating results.

Sample Cases of Best Practices

  • Adopt a board diversity policy which encourages a balanced representation of diverse groups including women.
  • Submit candidates to board members for election.
  • Ensure CEO and board chair commitment to increasing the representation of women on the board.
  • Maintain a roster of qualified women identified as potential board members to consider when vacancies arise.
  • Recruit board candidates from outside the business and social networks of existing board and company members to gain diversity of talent.
  • Adopt a policy that ensures women are members of sub-committees tasked to identify potential board members.

Testimonials

"Air Canada recognized the value of diversity on our board and in senior management positions and the leadership qualities that women bring to these roles. We are fully committed to furthering the representation of women on corporate boards and have pledged to increase the overall proportion of board seats held by women."

Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, VP – Human Resources, Air Canada, September 2014

"The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is committed to improving gender diversity on its Board of Directors. Currently CPPIB’s Board includes five women amongst its twelve directors. The Board continues to actively seek out qualified female candidates for vacancies on the Board."

Mark D. Wiseman, President and CEO, CPP Investment Board, May 2015

"As a financial co-operative, our members elect directors from among the membership. Ensuring talented, experienced and committed women are willing to contribute to the health and growth of their community by serving as a director has been a priority for our board. Today we have nine directors, six of whom are women. Our CEO is a woman as are the majority of senior executives."

Jan O’Brien, Chair – Board of Directors, Vancity credit union, September 2014

Eight Strategies for Gaining Ground

As part of its "Business Case for Women on Boards" report, commissioned by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women in (2013), the Conference Board of Canada itemized eight strategies currently being deployed by companies, in some combination, to increase the representation of women on their boards.

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