SOURCE: Canadian Board Diversity Council

Canadian Board Diversity Council

February 29, 2016 07:00 ET

Canadian Board Diversity Council's Made-in-Canada Approach to Increasing Diversity at the Board Level Is Working, but the Pace of Change Remains Slow

Help Change the Face of Corporate Canada and Apply for Diversity 50 Today

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - February 29, 2016) - Be part of the solution and help change the face of Canada's boardrooms. That is the message from the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) as it accepts applications for Diversity 50, the country's premier database of diverse, qualified candidates for board of director positions for Canada's largest 500 organizations.

When the Council launched Diversity 50 in 2012, the goal was clear: to bring together and turn the spotlight on qualified candidates who are typically overlooked or unknown to recruiters and Nominating and Governance Committees. To that end, each year the Council adds 50 board-ready candidates to the Diversity 50 database. "CBDC understands the importance of diversity in the boardrooms. It holds significant value to our partner and member organizations who are engaged and want to be a part of the solution," said Sherri Stevens, CEO, CBDC.

Diversity 50 is a cohort of diverse, qualified board-ready candidates ready for corporate board director appointments. Reinforcing the success of the Council's approach to increasing diversity across Canada's corporate boards, the program has seen 25 appointments made to FP500 and Fortune 500 boards.

Deloitte Managing Partner and Chief Executive Frank Vettese continues to be a strong supporter of the initiative. "We believe that the level of board diversity must be higher than that found in the companies or organizations they serve," said Vettese. "The requirement to set an example and provide a visible commitment to diversity is both a business imperative and a societal responsibility. The adage 'actions speak louder than words' should serve as a rallying cry for all business leaders."

"CIBC is pleased to support CBDC and its work to increase diversity on Canada's corporate boards," said Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer, CIBC. "As a senior executive, board director, and a past Diversity 50 candidate, I believe in valuing the differences among us. Increasing boardroom diversity makes businesses and communities stronger. Simply put, diverse and inclusive teams produce better results and that's why the efforts of CBDC are so important." 

According to the 2015 Annual Report Card 19.5% of board positions in Canada are held by women. While that represents the largest one-year increase (2.4%) since 2001, the pace of change isn't fast enough. In the UK, for example, there are no all-male FTSE100 boards and only 15 all-male FTSE250 boards. In contrast, there were 109 all-male boards on the FP500 when the Council released the Annual Report Card on November 19th, 2015. "After four years we are encouraged by the placement of the Diversity 50 candidates to corporate boards and CBDC looks forward to selecting a further 50 exceptional individuals in 2016. There is a wealth of experience and diverse talent from across Canada that is not yet reflected on the boards of Canada's largest organizations." said Pamela Jeffery, Founder, CBDC.

Since 2014, there has been a significant increase in the number of directors who self-report to be a visible minority, nearly tripling since last year to 7.3 per cent in 2015. The number of Aboriginal board members increased from 0.8% in 2014 to 1.3 per cent in 2015. "Aboriginal peoples offer essential new perspectives and ideas that go a long way towards bringing them away from the margins, providing them meaningful participation in the boardrooms across Canada," said JP Gladu, President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. JP is a Diversity 50 Candidate from 2014 and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors at Ontario Power Generation Inc. in November, 2015.

To select the Diversity 50 2016, the Council will collaborate with Deloitte Managing Partner and Chief Executive Frank Vettese, Co-Presenting Partner of Diversity 50; Coast Capital Savings President and CEO Don Coulter; Sun Life Financial Canada President Kevin Dougherty; TELUS President & CEO Darren Entwistle; Postmedia Network President and CEO Paul Godfrey; IAMGOLD President and CEO Steve Letwin; FedEx Express Canada President Lisa Lisson; Hydro-Québec President and CEO Éric Martel; Norton Rose Fulbright Global Vice Chair and Chairman-Canada Norman Steinberg; and, Suncor Energy President and CEO Steve Williams.

About CBDC

The Council is the leading Canadian organization advancing diversity on Canada's boards. Founded in 2009, the Council has since grown to 58 Founding and Corporate Member organizations that are committed to greater diversity in the Canadian workplace.

Diversity 50 is an initiative of CBDC, supporting its mandate to increase representation of women, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities at the boardroom of Canada's 500 largest organizations. Diversity 50 is a resource for directors and search firms. It is a list of diverse men and women from across Canada with strong competencies that align with the requirements of many Canadian boards.

From February 29th to May 18th potential candidates are invited to apply by completing the application online at www.boarddiversity.ca/diversity-50. The Council will reveal the Diversity 50 2016 candidates in the fall of 2016.

CBDC Corporate and Founding Members have exclusive access to the full database of board-ready candidates, including highly searchable, in-depth information about each, as well as contact details. The Diversity 50 database allows members to search specific fields such as industry experience, functional area of expertise and gender, among others.

For more information about Diversity 50, CBDC or to become a Corporate Member, please contact the Council.

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