TSX 60 companies: more work to do for diversity

The Canadian Press has asked all companies that were on the TSX 60 Index as of January 1 to share their data on the number of visible minority women and employees as defined in the Income Tax Act. Employment Equity, who worked for them in 2017.
P f the companies that responded to the agency, some indicated that the proportion of women at their job was only eight percent, while several others have refused to disclose their figures.

In addition, many of the TSX 60 companies did not want to indicate how many of their employees were visible minorities – or simply do not compile statistics on them.

These listed companies are not required by law to disclose such information. However, some advocacy groups have long called for transparent business, at least so that data can measure progress, in the hope that it facilitates change.

One-quarter of the index’s 15 companies did not provide or publicly disclose data on gender representation in their ranks.

Nearly 60% of firms, or 35 companies, did not publicly disclose or provide visible minority data, while 14, or more than 23%, indicated that they simply did not of statistics on this subject.

Of the 42 firms in the index that shared specific data or gender percentages of their workforce, 34 indicated that less than 50% of their workforce was female – less than the national average.

In two cases, the percentage of female employees was less than 10%.

Canadian Women’s Foundation President Paulette Senior described the number of companies reluctant to share or observe the level of diversity as “surprising and disappointing”. According to her, the lack of disclosure suggests that many companies do not want to ensure that their workforce is a reflection of the company.

“Transparency is a very brave thing to do, and it takes courage to really want to know the truth because once you know it, you probably have to do something about it,” he said. underlined Ms. Senior.

Banks more egalitarian

Canadian Press’s analysis shows that banks – which mostly provide data specific to Canada and are at the top of the spectrum of representation – appear to have made the most concerted efforts for equality . On the other hand, mining, engineering and railways continue to struggle to attract and retain women.

Susan Lomas, geologist and founder of advocacy group Me Too Mining, believes that the lack of progress in her industry is due to her inflexible nature, which forces workers to spend weeks away in remote locations, and few time at home, which can be complicated for parents’ lives.

“Some women stay away from these sites, and some men too,” noted Ms. Lomas.

In the 2016 census, women made up 50.9% of the Canadian population, but 48% of the country’s labor force. This represents an increase from 45% in 1991.

But the gap between industries is wide.

Of the companies that provided information to Canadian Press, the company with the lowest female representation was the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) at 8.6%. According to Statistics Canada data for 2018, approximately 24.5% of all workers in the transportation and warehousing industry in Canada are women.

A spokesman for Canadian National said that by 2018, visible minorities, people with disabilities and Aboriginal people accounted for 17% of the carrier’s positions. The railway, headquartered in Montreal, added that five of the twelve members of its board were women. The company is a signatory to the Catalyst Agreement and a member of the 30% Club, both of which have a mandate to increase the representation of women on boards of directors.

Linda Hasenfratz, Chief Executive Officer of Canadian auto parts manufacturer Linamar, noted that some industries and roles were less attractive because of the physical nature of the job, and that it would be difficult to achieve parity in ranks of these industries.

Ms. Hasenfratz, one of the few women at the Toronto Stock Exchange, said women made up about 20% of the Guelph-based company, but that proportion was more important among management and higher levels.

However, she expects women’s representation in the workforce to increase overall as companies integrate automation and roles become less physically demanding.

“Businesses are going to evolve and that will naturally change as automation takes over some of the more physical tasks […] I think in 10 years it will be drastically different,” she said in an interview.

Among the companies that disclosed their diversity data, National Bank had the highest proportion of women, accounting for 60.7% of its Canadian workforce.

Imbalance among senior executives

With respect to the senior executives of Canadian companies, the imbalance remains significant.

An analysis conducted last year by The Canadian Press revealed that none of the TSX 60 companies were headed by women and that two-thirds of them had no women among their highest-paid executives in the past. this exercise.

Progress is even slower for other under-represented groups such as visible minorities.

Canada’s Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as “non-native, non-white or non-white people”.

At the 2016 census, more than one-fifth of Canadians were visible minorities, about 7.7 million people, or 22.3% of the country’s population. This is almost five times higher than in 1981, when visible minorities accounted for only 4.7% of the population.

However, the visible minority activity rate is 66.5%. Visible minority women had a participation rate of 61.9%, compared with 71.5% for men.

On the side of the senior executives of Canadian companies, the imbalance is marked in terms of diversity.

An analysis conducted last year by The Canadian Press revealed that none of the TSX 60 companies were headed by women and that two-thirds of them had no women among their highest-paid executives in the past. this exercise.

Progress is even slower for other under-represented groups such as visible minorities.

Canada’s Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as “non-native, non-white or non-white people”.

At the 2016 census, more than one-fifth of Canadians were visible minorities, about 7.7 million people, or 22.3% of the country’s population. This is almost five times higher than in 1981, when visible minorities accounted for only 4.7% of the population.

However, the visible minority activity rate is 66.5%. Visible minority women had a participation rate of 61.9%, compared with 71.5% for men.

Slow progress in diversity indicators suggests that a more interventionist government approach may be needed, said Ontario Independent Senator Ratna Omidvar.

She was one of six members of the Senate who supported an amendment to a bill that would have required Canadian public companies to set internal diversity goals for their boards and senior management.

The Senate voted against the amendment last March.

Ms. Omidvar felt that this failure stemmed from the broader business idea that if businesses were to flourish unregulated, but guided by advice, they would improve these parameters. “Tide would raise all boats”.

“Well, that’s not exactly what happened? […] So, I would say it does not work. “Canadian Press

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