Burnaby Board of Trade successfully pushes gender diversity on national stage

The Burnaby Board of Trade’s motion calling for more women on corporate boards passed at the recent Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting.

The board announced recently that it was “pleased” about the policy passing at the conference in St. John, New Brunswick.

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“The BBoT has long demonstrated bold leadership in developing policy to increase gender diversity on Canada’s corporate boards,” reads a statement from the board.

“The predominance of research regarding this issue suggests that companies which have more female board directors perform better, with greater gender diversity on boards being linked to everything from better return on equity (and) higher stock prices to overall better financial returns.”

Despite the evidence in favour of more gender-balanced boards, BBoT said in its statement corporate Canada is not moving fast enough to diversify its boards.

“The Burnaby Board of Trade has long been advocating for gender diversity on corporate boards and we’re delighted that this policy has been adopted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce network,” said Paul Holden, CEO of the BBoT.

“The business case for having women on corporate boards is clear and their continued under-representation is likely costing us economically; it should be a priority to encourage and support more women to serve on boards.”

The BBoT’s own board of directors includes 10 women out of 19 directors, though its chair, vice chair and secretary-treasurer are all men. The chair of the BBoT’s board of governors, who also sits as a director, is a woman.

The policy adopted by the federal chamber calls for amendments to the Canada Business Act and Co-operative Capital Markets Regulatory System regulations to require board recruitment policies for publicly traded, non-venture companies.

Those policies would require those companies to consider gender diversity when filling all board vacancies, and “should demonstrate broad recruitment outreach that is conducted in good faith.”

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