British Columbia Investment Management Corp. is calling for the Ontario Securities Commission to require Canadian corporations to reserve at least 30% of the positions for directors and senior management for women.
Bryan Thomson, senior vice president, public equity investments, of Victoria-based BCIMC, which oversees C$110 billion (US$99.9 billion) in pension and other assets, wrote in a comment letter, filed with the OSC on April 16, “BCIMC feels … that targets must be established if we are to make progress” on improving representation of women on corporate boards.
“It is our preference that a diversity policy for senior management be mandatory similar to our position on board diversity with a minimum target of 30%.”
The BCIMC's proposed requirement takes a step further an OSC proposal to require disclosure of women representation on boards and in executive office positions. The OSC proposal would require companies to disclose either their targets for women representation on boards and top management, or their reason for not having any target. In addition, the OSC proposal would require companies to disclose the number of women on their boards and in senior management.
“If we can make progress on increasing diversity among the most senior level of executives, it will also have a positive direct impact on the potential pool of candidates for (corporate) board service,” Mr. Thomson wrote.
A “voluntary approach has so far failed to lead to real improvements on gender diversity so delaying action would not be … recommended” by BCIMC.
BCIMC opposes any phase-in approach to requirements.