MONTRÉAL, April 12, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - The Association of Québec Women in Finance (AQWF) celebrated its 13th Annual Les Talentueuses Awards Ceremony last night, which recognizes the achievements of professional women working in the financial sector across the province. This year's edition was chaired by Ms. Dana Ades-Landy, President of the Board, and co-hosted by Mitsou Gélinas, a businesswoman and television and radio host, and Léa Clermont-Dion, an author, host and activist.
"This year, we've highlighted the theme United Today for Building Tomorrow," explained Dana Ada-Landy, President of the Board of the AQWF. "It's now time to call on the support of women and men of all walks of life, so that together, we can help expand the roles of women in the finance sector. We've discussed this issue long enough, it's time to take action!"
Shocking statistics were unveiled during this evening of celebration
Ms. Dana Ades-Landy opened the awards ceremony by reporting on the poor outcome of the Comply or Explain policy, a measure put in place four years ago by the federal government. This initiative required listed companies to disclose information relative to policies introduced in order to increase female representation within their senior management and their board of directors (BOD). According to data published in October 2016 in the McMillan LLP's Securities Bulletin1, two years later, the number of women serving on the BOD of public companies had only marginally increased.
In December 2017, the Montréal chapter of Business Professional Women (BPW) published a memorandum2 that found that in Canada:
- Only 834 women were on the BOD of listed companies, 12 less than in 2014
- 46 BODs included more than three women
- 31 BODs were comprised of 41% women representation
- 8 BODs had less than 11% women's representation, while in most BOD, women made up 15% to 25% of the board
"This is a serious situation. There are still companies with no women on their board today," observes Ms. Ades-Landy. "I don't need to tell you that we are deeply disappointed by how little progress we've made in terms of parity since the introduction of the Comply or Explain policy. This lack of progress prompted the AQWF to poll its members to assess their support of policies to increase diversity within BODs."
The poll results speak volumes
- 78% of participants are favourable to the establishment of quotas for women's representation
- 73% of participants would recommend quotas of 40% to 50% women's representation on BODs
- 81% of participants would give companies 3 to 5 years to comply
- 67% are favourable to penalties, including fines, in case of non-compliance
"It is appalling that women still don't have the board seats they deserve and these poll results show how outraged our members have become," states Ms. Ades-Landy. "It's time to make things happen. I had the chance to meet with four of the most influential people in the country, Maureen Jensen, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Securities Commission; Jean Charest, former Québec Premier, Monique Jérôme-Forget, former Finance Minister, and most recently Philippe Couillard, the current Premier. They were all open to push the issue of increasing women's representation within BODs by furthering the discussion and taking practical steps."
The AQWF wishes to keep conducting meetings with representatives of the federal, provincial and municipal governments. Moreover, the organization is willing to provide its voice and support to the initiatives presented by the various commissions and agencies of the country.
"I invite federal and provincial political stakeholders, including the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, who keeps reminding us of the importance of gender parity, to meet with us so we can share our findings and our goals," adds Ms. Ades-Landy. "We will keep providing companies with training, support and information, and promoting our network of women ready to serve on boards of directors, on committees, or even as CEO. We will seek the support of activist shareholder groups and large investors and we will commit to take advantage of every chance we have to advance our mission until it leads to a positive change. For this to happen, we need everyone to join in, we have to be united today for building tomorrow, because tomorrow is today!"
Winners of the 13th edition of the Talentueuses Award Ceremony
"Inspiration : Andrée-Corriveau" Award ("Coup de cœur" award presented by the AQWF's Board of Directors)
Andrée-Lise Méthot, Founder and Managing Partner of Cycle Capital Management
"Alter Ego" Award (award presented to a man for his commitment to promoting women's role in finance)
Me Jean-François Gagnon, Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Langlois lawyers, LLP
Me Sandra Abitan, Managing Partner of the Montréal office, Partner in the Insolvency and Restructuring group, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, LLP.
"Initiative" Award: for the advancement of women in finance
Program: Faire la différence – Une approche centrée femmes, National Bank Financial
"Étoile Montante" Award
Me Marie Élaine Farley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chambre de la sécurité financière
"Relève Desjardins" Award
Marilynn Ethier, Université du Québec à Montréal
Koralie Levac-Séguin, Université Laval
"Relève RBC" Award
Claudianne Delorme, HEC Montréal
The Association of Québec Women in Finance would like to thank the following partners:
Senior Partners: Desjardins, RBC Royal Bank
President's Circle: National Bank of Canada, Scotia Bank, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Desjardins, RBC Royal Bank
Elite: Aon, Canadian Bankers Association, Ordre des CPA du Québec, Manuvie Financial
Premium: CIBC Bank
Alliance: Air Canada, André R. Dorais, Bugatti Group, TD Bank Group
VIP Cocktail: Lavery Lawyers
Standard Cocktail: Langlois Lawyers
Outreach: Finance Montréal
Media Partners: La Presse +, Massy Forget Langlois Public Relations
About the Association of Québec Women in Finance
Founded in May 2002, the Association of Québec Women in Finance (AQFW) is comprised of over 700 Québec women in finance. In addition to creating a mentorship program to support women in finance, the AQWF offers its members professional development and networking activities, as well as interventions with young people at the academic level. Each year, the AQWF organizes several international business activities, thereby providing women in finance with preferred access to a major network of financial organizations spanning several countries.
In 2014, the AQWF joined forces with a group of about ten other organizations to create "Ensemble vers la parité", a movement whose primary objective is to spread awareness among corporate leaders and businesspeople, both female and male, on the new reality of fostering diversity within organizational leadership. Through education and information, this movement seeks to support companies, along with their boards of directors, human resources and governance committees, in promoting diversity. It also aims to support their efforts toward achieving a greater presence, based on their objectives to have women on boards of directors and executive management teams within companies across Québec and the rest of Canada.
Photos available upon request.
SOURCE Association des femmes en finance du Québec
For further information: For more information, to schedule an interview or to receive a complete list of the AQWF's ambassadors, please contact: Jeanne Le Cours-Hébert, Massy Forget Langlois Public Relations, T: 514-842-2455, ext. 33, C: 514-815-1300, [email protected]