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Removing Barriers Preventing Women from Attaining Top Leadership Positions

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Removing Barriers Preventing Women from Attaining Top Leadership Positions

Ministry of Finance

Building on the government's long-standing support for broader gender diversity, Ontario is working to eliminate barriers women face in attaining top positions in businesses and provincial agencies and boards. With input from the new Women in Business Steering Committee co-chaired by Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, and Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, the province will develop a plan to implement the recommendations in Gender Diversity on Boards in Canada: Recommendations for Accelerating Progress, a report prepared by Catalyst, a non-profit research and advocacy group.

 The recommendations for governments include:

  • Setting a target that, by 2019, women make up at least 40 per cent of all appointments to every provincial board and agency
  • Implementing a government public awareness campaign to promote understanding and action, including by businesses
  • Tracking progress by ensuring annual reviews are conducted and published
  • Considering more stringent government legislation or regulation if sufficient progress is not being made, particularly towards the recommended 30 per cent target for boards of directors of businesses

The recommendations for businesses include:

  • Setting targets by the end of 2017 -- and achieving them within three to five years -- of having 30 per cent women directors on company boards that have at least one woman director and the addition of one woman director for company boards that have none
  • Writing a policy that specifies how the company plans to increase the representation of women on its board
  • Updating company recruitment policies so that, for example, candidates interviewed for a board opening include at least 50 per cent women, including women from diverse communities
  • Addressing gender equity at all company levels by regularly reviewing recruitment, promotion and talent development for bias and rectifying wage gaps

The Steering Committee members are:

  • Gail Cook-Bennett, Chair of the board, Institute of Corporate Directors in Canada
  • Victor Dodig, President & CEO, CIBC
  • Catharine Farrow, CEO, TMAC Resources Inc.
  • Maureen Jensen, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Securities Commission
  • Maureen Kempston Darkes, Chair, Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, Enbridge
  • Richard Leblanc, Associate Professor of Law, Governance & Ethics, York University
  • Rima Ramchandani, Partner & Co-Head of Capital Markets Practice, Torys LLP
  • Constance Sugiyama, Corporate Director and President of ConMark Strategy Inc.
  • Barbara Stymiest, Board Chair, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
  • Kathleen Taylor, Chair of the Board, RBC
  • Bernadette Wightman, President, Cisco Canada


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