bcIMC Suggests Companies have Formal Policies on the Representation of Women on Boards and Senior Management

April 16, 2014

bcIMC Comments on the Proposed Amendments to 58-101F of National Instrument 58-101

Victoria, B.C. – The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) is encouraging the Ontario Securities Commission to require Canadian companies to establish and disclose formal policies and targets for the representation of women on a company’s board of directors and senior management.

“The voluntary approach has not produced the desired results in ensuring women have equal opportunities of participating in Canadian corporate governance,” said Doug Pearce, Chief Investment Officer / Chief Executive Officer, bcIMC. “By requiring a diversity policy and the setting of meaningful targets, bcIMC believes that corporate governance practices will be enhanced and help Canada move from being a global laggard on gender diversity.”

Research demonstrates that gender diversity has a measurable and positive effect on corporate performance. bcIMC has long advocated for companies to enhance gender diversity, having made submissions to regulators and engaged with companies, as well as through its proxy voting rights.

“We believe that these additional steps are necessary to achieve the desired diversity outcomes and that shareholders should also exercise their proxy voting rights to support these important principles,” added Bryan Thomson, Senior Vice President, Equity Investments.

bcIMC recently voted in favour of a shareholder proposal calling on the Bank of Nova Scotia to commit to adding an additional female director to its board of directors. “This proposal, if implemented, would move the Bank’s female board representation to more than 30 per cent, which is the minimum target we are advocating. We were disappointed with the low level of support this proposal received from other shareholders,” added Bryan Thomson.

As an investor of patient capital and with a long-term outlook, bcIMC considers strong corporate governance to be the over-arching framework for effective company management and the creation of enduring shareholder value. bcIMC’s submission to the Ontario Securities Commission on the proposed amendments to 58-101F1 of National Instrument 58-101 is available here.