May 24, 2022

Weekly EconMinute—Women’s Representation on Boards of Directors in Canada

In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about women’s representation on boards of directors in Canada.

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Statistics Canada recently released new data on the gender composition of corporate boards in Canada. As of 2019, the latest year for which data are available, women held 19% of all director positions.

Since it started tracking this data in 2016, the representation of women has continued to grow, albeit slowly. On average, the representation of women has increased by 2.5% annually since 2016. To put this into perspective, it would take nearly 40 years to reach parity at this rate.

Perhaps what’s most interesting is that certain types of businesses have seen much more progress than others. While private companies have seen the least improvement, government entities have seen the most. Specially, we find:

  • Government business entities have both the highest representation of women historically—36% of board representation as of 2019—and have seen the most growth (an increase of 8% points since 2016).
  • Publicly traded corporations have fewer women on their boards on average and have seen just half the amount of growth in representation (an increase of 4% points). 
  • Private enterprises, meanwhile, have the least representation of women with the smallest improvement since 2016 (an increase of just 2% points).

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