Young Businesswoman Addressing Boardroom Meeting

ISS Corporate Solutions, Inc. says for the first time ever women hold one-third of the board director positions across companies listed on the S&P/TSX composite.

The corporate governance company says that when it ended its analysis in January, women held 33.7% of board seats, up from 27.9% in January 2020.

By comparison, women held 32.3% of all U.S. S&P 500 directorships.

ISS says the number of female chief executives across S&P/TSX composite companies jumped from six in 2020 to nine in 2023, and the number of female non-employee chairs rose to 22 from 13 over the same period.

Racial and ethnic minorities now hold 14.1% of directorships across S&P/TSX composite companies, up from 8.3% in 2020.

ISS’s gender analysis is based on a look at 2,283 director positions while its peek at racial and ethnic diversity examined 575 directorships.

“Canadian companies have a slight edge over their U.S. peers when it comes to board gender diversity, but far further to go as it applies to the prevalence of under-represented minority groups,” said Marija Kramer, ISS head, in a statement.

“But directionally, our analysis shows racial and ethnic minorities making significant inroads in Canadian boardrooms and that trend may well accelerate as regulation and guidance spur companies to disclose more on individual director characteristics.”