Securities regulators finalize amendments on board diversity

9 provincial regulators finalize rule amendments around disclosure of women on boards
||Last Updated: 10/15/2014

Securities regulators in nine Canadian jurisdictions announced Wednesday the final implementation of rule amendments around board diversity.

Securities regulatory authorities in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Northwest Territories announced the finalized amendments around the disclosure of women on boards and in senior management.

If all ministerial approvals are obtained, the amendments will come into effect on Dec. 31, 2014.

The amendments are designed to increase transparency for stakeholders and investors around board diversity and women in senior leadership positions. It will apply to all non-venture issuers reporting in the participating provincial jurisdictions.

“Today we have made important changes to our disclosure regime, which are expected to encourage greater representation by women on boards and in positions of senior management,” said Howard Wetston, CEO of the Ontario Securities Commission.

“We know from stakeholder and investor feedback in the participating jurisdictions that this issue is an important one, and we’ve taken steps in a coordinated fashion to broaden disclosure in this area.”

“The rule amendments represent a win for women in business, for Canadian businesses, and in particular for investors and other stakeholders who want increased transparency around leveraging the talent within the companies they invest in,” said Alex Johnston, Executive Director of Catalyst Canada.

“We commend the Ontario Securities Commission for its tremendous leadership in championing this initiative, and for putting a strong stake in the ground for other regulators to follow. Canadian businesses need to tap the full pool of smart, talented people to stay competitive and strengthen our country’s economic future.”

The finalized amendment will require non-venture issuers to provide annual disclosure on the following items:

• director term limits and other mechanisms of renewal of the board,

• policies regarding the representation of women on the board,

• the board’s or nominating committee’s consideration of the representation of women in the director identification and selection process,

• the issuer’s consideration of the representation of women in executive officer positions when making executive officer appointments,

• targets regarding the representation of women on the board and in executive officer positions, and

• the number of women on the board and in executive officer positions.

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