TORONTO, Oct. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Jennifer Reynolds, President of Women in Capital Markets (WCM), today released a statement strongly supporting the Ontario Securities Commission's (OSC) consultation paper 58-401's "comply or explain" approach on disclosure requirements regarding women on boards and senior management. She and the WCM Board also recommend additional disclosure requirements and policies to address the lack of progress in increasing gender diversity in senior leadership positions.
"Addressing the underrepresentation of women on boards and in senior management in Canada is critical to the economic competitiveness of this country and to the quality and effectiveness of Canada's corporate governance and we are very supportive of the OSC's proposals. There has been a serious lack of progress in increasing gender diversity on boards and in senior management, so we welcome this more proactive approach," said Jennifer Reynolds, President, WCM.
In their response to the OSC, WCM submitted four additional disclosure recommendations for OSC consideration which they believe are necessary:
- Companies (Canadian non-venture issuers) should disclose measurable targets for gender diversity and the targets should be associated with specific timeframes. Furthermore, boards and management should be held accountable for the achievement of specific objectives with respect to gender diversity, just as they are for other strategic operational objectives.
- Progress on increasing the number of women on boards and in senior management needs to be monitored by the OSC on an annual basis and if significant improvements in the statistics are not made within three years other options should be considered.
- Companies need to address the low turnover rates on boards in order to make room for new directors. Disclosure on policies and practices with respect to tenure limits and board renewal are essential to increasing the representation of women on boards in a reasonable timeframe.
- Companies should disclose whether they have a policy for advancing the representation of women in senior leadership and board roles. If they do not have such a policy, those companies should disclosure why not and what risks or opportunity costs are associated with that decision.
"Canada lags behind other countries that have made significant progress in increasing the representation of women. We commend the OSC's proposals in the Consultation Paper and for initiating these important changes to Canadian corporate governance," said Jennifer Reynolds.
WCM is a non-profit organization which advocates for the increased representation and advancement of women into senior leadership roles in the Canadian capital markets industry. WCM's membership is over a 1000 members strong with women working in all segments of the capital markets and includes many of the most senior female executives in Canada's largest financial institutions. WCM.ca
SOURCE: Women in Capital Markets (WCM)
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WCM Response to OSC
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