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Canadian Board Gender Diversity: Another Record Year for Women

2020 was another year of record progress for women on the boards of Canada’s largest companies. Women comprised virtually half of the pool of incoming non-executive directors (“NXDs”) in 2020, for the second consecutive year. This helped push the total share of CSSBI 100 directorships held by women to 31% in 2020 (another high mark), and 35% higher than in 2015. Gender diversity targets, employed by 51% of CSSBI 100 boards in 2020, have played a part in increasing and sustaining the number of women on many boards. Additionally, the number of women serving in board leadership roles also hit a record high in 2020.

2020 Snapshot


CSSBI 100 boards were close to being fully gender balanced in 2020


CSSBI 100 boards with a minimum gender diversity target for their boards in 2020


CSSBI 100 boards with gender diversity targets either achieved or surpassed them as of September 2020

Appointments of women as a percentage of total incoming non-executive directors

Total share of board directorships held by women also reach a record high

Board gender diversity by industry in 2020: average percentage of total board directorships held by women

Total number of women serving in board leadership roles

Board chairs, vice-chairs and lead directors17810
Audit committee chairs302013
Governance and nominating committee chairs351412
Human resources and compensation committee chairs291610
Environment, health and safety committee chairs1355
Other committee chair roles1970

The Canada Spencer Stuart Board Index (“CSSBI”), currently in its 25th year, provides insights into the board practice practices of a representative index of 100 of Canada’s largest publicly traded companies with annual revenues exceeding $CAD 1 billion (the “CSSBI 100”). Click here to access the full report.