The Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) is the leading Canadian organization advancing diversity on Canada’s boards. The Council is self-funded thanks to a growing number of member organizations following initial funding from the federal government. How do we define diversity? The Council’s definition expands the traditional board definition of industry experience, management experience, functional area of expertise, education, geography and age to also include women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and the LGBTQ community.
Our vision is for Canadian companies to become more globally competitive in part because more boards are comprised of directors who are the most qualified in a greatly-expanded talent pool. In other words, imagine if Canada’s boardrooms look like Canada! Our multicultural population provides a wealth of talent, connections and perspectives. Are quotas the answer? The Council does not support quotas at this time. Instead, we support a made-in-Canada approach. First, we advocate boards recruit beyond their own directors’ networks. Through a rigorous process to identify new directors who are not known by the current directors with the assistance of search professionals and the Council, boards can benefit from well-credentialed individuals who bring a wider range of skills, experiences and perspectives to corporate governance. This means better discussion, greater diligence in decision-making and ultimately, improved financial performance and shareholder value.
Second, our made-in-Canada approach means the Council conducts annual research to track progress. We deliver a hard copy of the Annual Report Card to each FP500 director. In this way, directors can contextualize the composition of their own boards. Third, we provide the tools that boards need in order to execute a board diversity strategy. Fourth, the Council created Get on Board, which provides a cost-effective orientation to board service. Fifth, we help our member organizations be successful in the execution of their own diversity strategies.
In November 2012, we began connecting this talent pool with boards by releasing a list of 50 board ready men and women from across Canada who were assessed through a process the Council designed and was vetted by 9 of Canada’s top CEOs. The Council made face-to-face introductions of these individuals, ‘Diversity 50’ to Council members’ boards and executive teams. Detailed information on each individual is accessible to non-member companies under Diversity 50.
Countless studies have shown the positive impact diversity can have on the bottom line of an organization when they have diverse leadership and a diverse board. We invite your board to mitigate the risk to your business of not having the diversity of thought and experience at the table to drive shareholder value by joining the Council to help make change happen now.
What is the mandate of the CBDC?