Resource economy partly to blame for poor gender diversity on boards: CIBC CEO

TORONTO -- The CEO of CIBC says Canada's resource-centric economy is partly to blame for the country falling behind others when it comes to increasing the number of women who sit on corporate boards.

See Full Article

"We've made progress, but I think we're lagging behind other countries, and that's probably the greatest concern that I have," Victor Dodig said Tuesday during a panel discussion about women in business at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

Ratings and research firm GMI Rating ranks Canada 15th out of 23 industrialized economies in terms of gender diversity on corporate boards, according to a report from the Canadian Board Diversity Council issued late last year. That's a steep decline from 2009, when Canada was in sixth place.

Dodig said one of the reasons why Canada has fallen behind is because the country's economy is "heavily tilted" towards the mining, energy and real estate sectors.

"We haven't attracted women to those industries, particularly mining and energy -- particularly in the engineering fields, the science fields -- like we have in some of the other sectors that represent the country," Dodig said.

Women occupy only 12.2 per cent of board seats at Canada's biggest mining, oil and gas companies, according to a report released late last year by the Canadian Board Diversity Council. That's compared to an average of 19.5 per cent across all industries.

Attracting top talent -- including female talent -- will become critical as Canada's economy continues to shift more towards the service sector, Dodig said.

"The service sector economy is highly, highly dependent on human capital input," Dodig said. "If we're going to be successful as a country, we need to make this happen."

Dodig was joined by two other panelists -- Alex Johnston, the former head of women's advocacy group Catalyst Canada, and Howard Wetston, the former chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission -- at the event, which was held on International Women's Day.

Johnston, the incoming vice-president of strategy and public affairs at CBC, said that while board diversity is important, it's only one piece of the puzzle.

"At the end of the day, the conversation is not about whether we get 25, 30 or 35 per cent of women on boards," Johnston said. "That's a proxy for how we're doing."

Several female business leaders present at Tuesday's event noted the importance of engaging men in conversations about gender diversity.

"This is not a women's issue, it is about getting the best talent, and that should be a priority for every leader," said Jennifer Reynolds, the president and CEO of advocacy group Women in Capital Markets.

Kristine Remedios, director of diversity and inclusion at KPMG Canada, said she would have liked to see more men in attendance.

"We don't just want women talking about women's issues, and that tends to be what happens at a lot of these events," Remedios said.

"If you look out in the audience, you tend to see a lot more women than you do men. I do think it's really important to engage men in those conversations, especially because if you look at CEOs, there is a high percentage of men who are in those decision-making positions and sit on those boards. They need to be educated and need to be involved in this conversation in order to be able to make any change happen."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Back to school: How mature students can fund continuing education

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- When Kear Porttris decided to pursue a university degree in 2010, he had to contend with responsibilities that don't cross the minds of many freshman straight out of high school, including paying his mortgage and feeding his daughter. Source
  • First round of NAFTA talks wrap in Washington

    Economic CBC News
    Canada, the United States and Mexico wrapped up their first round of talks Sunday to revamp the NAFTA trade pact, vowing to keep up a blistering pace of negotiations that some involved in the process said may be too fast to bridge deep differences. Source
  • Apple under pressure to dazzle as market slows

    Economic CTV News
    As Apple and Samsung gear up to launch new flagship smartphones, the market leaders are seeking a wow factor that can help them fend off challenges from rising Chinese-based manufacturers. Apple is under particular pressure to dazzle as the culture-changing California iPhone maker looks for a way to maintain its image as an innovation leader in a global market showing signs of slowing. Source
  • From panhandlers to street musicians, not everyone is ready for cashless society

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The sound of Anthony Lovison's singing echoes through the corridors of the Montreal subway, reaching commuters' ears long before they see the young brown-haired man and his guitar. Barely a minute into "Heaven's Door," a man walks up with a smile and throws 50 cents into Lovison's open guitar case -- the first customer of the day. Source
  • Eclipse eye safety and airline phone scams: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    Miss something this week? Here's the consumer news you need to know from CBC's Marketplace. Get this in your inbox every Friday. Sign up here. Protect your eyes during the eclipse Planning on watching the eclipse Monday? Regular sunglasses won't be enough to protect your eyes. Source
  • Canadian re-commerce company LXRandCo taking luxury vintage shopping into the future

    Economic CBC News
    You've probably heard of e-commerce. But what about re-commerce? It's the business of buying and selling used items. There's a Canadian company, LXRandCo, that's carving out a niche for itself in this category. It deals in the vintage luxury market, which is growing 14 per cent every year, according to the experts at Canaccord Genuity, a financial services company. Source
  • Canada open to completing NAFTA talks in short order

    Economic CBC News
    Canadian negotiators are open to working on a timeline proposed by the U.S. to complete NAFTA renegotiations before the end of the year, CBC News has learned. A government source, speaking on background, tells CBC News that Canada is willing to work quickly, but will not agree to a bad deal for the sake of meeting a deadline. Source
  • U.S. wants NAFTA talks to wrap up before year's end, but is it possible?

    Economic CBC News
    Canadian negotiators are open to working on a timeline proposed by the U.S. to complete NAFTA renegotiations before the end of the year, CBC News has learned. A government source, speaking on background, tells CBC News that Canada is willing to work quickly, but will not agree to a bad deal for the sake of meeting a deadline. Source
  • B.C. premier and jobs minister sued by fired LNG advocate claiming $5M

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's fired liquefied natural gas advocate is suing Premier John Horgan, the province's jobs minister and a New Democrat MP in a lawsuit claiming $5 million in damages. Gordon Wilson alleges in a statement of claim filed in B.C. Source
  • Millennials in Atlantic Canada most optimistic about owning homes

    Economic CTV News
    Do millennials think they can afford to buy a home? If they live in Atlantic Canada, the answer is a lot more likely to be yes. That’s according to a new online survey of 1,000 Canadians aged 25 to 30, conducted by Leger Marketing from real estate firm Royal LePage. Source