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Six per cent of firms have board chairwoman; CSA mulls role in corporate diversity

March 10, 2021   The Canadian Press

(CP) TORONTO – A report from the Canadian Securities Administrators says that women now sit in two out of 10 corporate board seats – but just six per cent are chairwomen of public Canadian companies surveyed.

The CSA, which is a council of the securities regulators of Canada’s provinces and territories, says the statistics for women on corporate boards have improved since 2015, when women held 11 per cent of corporate board seats.

The securities regulators also said that 79 per cent of the companies in their report had at least one woman on the board, up from 49 per cent in 2015.

But the report also noted that 21 per cent of companies had no women on their board, and only five per cent of the companies surveyed had a woman as chief executive.

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The report was reviewed by securities regulators in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan and looked at 610 companies between Dec. 31, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

After a three percentage point decline in the number of vacant board seats filled by women last year, the CSA says it will not only continue to monitor the companies’ progress, but will also consider its role in the broader diversity conversation.

The CSA says manufacturing, real estate, and retail industries companies were most likely to have women on their boards, while biotechnology, mining and oil and gas industries had the fewest companies with at least one woman on the board.