Ontario Sets Gender Diversity Targets

Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced new gender diversity targets to ensure more women have the opportunity to reach top leadership positions at provincial agencies and other government organizations.

The Ontario government has set a target that, by 2019, women make up at least 40 per cent of all appointments to every provincial board and agency. Ontario is also encouraging businesses to set a target of appointing 30% women to their boards of directors  by the end of 2017. Once businesses set the target, they should aim to achieve it within three to five years.

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These actions build on the government’s long-standing support for broader gender diversity, and are informed by a report Ontario commissioned from Catalyst Canada. The new report, Gender Diversity on Boards in Canada: Recommendations for Accelerating Progress, provides advice on best practices in gender diversity on boards.

Ontario has accepted all 11 recommendations in the report, some of which are for businesses and some of which are for government, and is convening a steering committee to provide input on their implementation. The committee, co-chaired by Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, and Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, includes Maureen Jensen, Chair and CEO of the Ontario Securities Commission, and Victor Dodig, President and CEO of CIBC, among others.

Premier Wynne announced the targets and the committee at a special roundtable discussion at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.I encourage other businesses and corporations to follow our government’s example and become leaders in gender equality in the workplace,” Wynne said.  Wynne and members of the steering committee were joined by representatives from Catalyst Canada and UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Wynne could be preparing to take gender equity to the cabinet level. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin resigned his post yesterday saying in a statement posted on Facebook.  “My decision was focused by the Premier’s intention to achieve gender parity in her next cabinet.”  Speculation over a cabinet shuffle has recently ramped up.  Potential ministers include Halton M.P.P. Indira Naidoo-Harris, and Eleanor McMahon.  McMeekin will remain in the Legislature representing the riding of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale.