From the Regulators

Most provinces follow OSC’s proposed amendments to corporate governance rules

By James Langton |

The effort by securities regulators to encourage more gender diversity in corporate Canada is expanding further across the country — with a few exceptions. 

Over the past year, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has been exploring rule changes to push public companies to pay more attention to gender diversity in their executive hiring and recruiting for their boards. In January, the OSC published proposed amendments to its corporate governance rules, which would require senior issuers to ramp up disclosure about their approach to diversity. Today, most of the other provinces are embracing the initiative too.

Regulators in Québec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut published their own version of the OSC proposals for comment too. Notable omissions from the initiative are Alberta and B.C.

The proposed amendments would require all TSX-listed issuers and other non-venture issuers to make disclosure about the representation of women on their boards and in their executive officer positions using a "comply or explain" approach. "These amendments are intended to increase transparency for investors and other stakeholders," the regulators note, adding, "This transparency is intended to assist investors when making investment and voting decisions."

The proposals are out for comment until September 2. The OSC indicates that it is planning to publish final amendments in the fall, which, subject to approval from Ontario's finance minister, would take effect by the end of the year.