Companies Not Adding Women Should Be Delisted, Teachers’ Says

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Canada’s third-largest pension fund, said the country’s publicly listed companies should have a minimum of three female directors or face delisting.

“It’s been disappointing that there hasn’t been a lot of progress made in getting more women on boards of directors for Canadian public companies,” Wayne Kozun, Ontario Teachers’ senior vice president of public equities, said in a phone interview today. “We need to put in place some concrete proposals.”

The Toronto-based fund, which manages C$129.5 billion ($125.6 billion), submitted a response to the Ontario Securities Commission’s open comment period regarding disclosure of women on boards and in senior management positions at Canadian companies. The letter was made public on the pension fund’s website today.

Adding more women to boards would increase diversity of opinion and shareholder value and wouldn’t be an arbitrary quota to fill, Kozun said. Boards will make better decisions with greater gender diversity, he said.

Only 32 of 202 Canadian public companies with market values of more than C$1 billion, or 16 percent, have at least three female board members, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The list includes Royal Bank of Canada, which in August announced Kathleen Taylor as its chairwoman.

“We’ve been one of the institutional investors pushing the envelope for corporate governance,” Kozun said. Four out of the nine members on Ontario Teachers’ board are women, including Chairwoman Eileen Mercier.

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