Most would agree that Canada is an excellent place to live and to work. Our cultural diversity plays an essential role in making Canada the country we enjoy today. Many Canadian businesses find a lot of benefits from having a diverse workforce. Welcoming a wide range of people into our economy usually leads to a stronger company culture and a better balance sheet at the end of the month.

Many experts, both in the public and private sector, firmly believe that the Canadian economy will increase its value by actively promoting the notion of inclusion in the workplace. Time and time again, businesses find that welcoming people of all genders, ages, faiths, sexual preferences, and cultural backgrounds lead to higher productivity and increased profits. More importantly, a diverse workplace is a fresh and innovative workplace.

The Canadian Government recently introduced Bill C-25 back in September of last year. The goal of the bill was to update Canada’s corporate framework laws to better reflect the modern workplace and make it easier for companies to harness innovation to grow and succeed.

There are many layers to the new bill, including the requirement that all publically traded Canadian businesses must declare their gender composition within any corporate and senior management positions. The numbers are clear; many women still face barriers when entering the workforce, especially when seeking higher-paying management positions.

A recent study found that women hold only 13 percent of all seats on Canadian corporate boards. Also, they hold one in five seats on boards of FP500 companies and those on the S&P/TSX 60 index. Currently, women occupy only 20.8 percent of board positions at large Canadian stock index companies.

Many grassroots organizations have been formed to tackle this issue head on. For instance, Agrium Inc. in Calgary recently piloted a Women’s Leadership Development program to prepare high potential female candidates for senior management positions, matching participants with a mentor as well as with a group of potential sponsors.

Another great example of gender diversity can be found at Canadian Securities Administrators, Canadian investment protection firm based in Montreal. Approximately half of their senior leadership are female and 36 percent of the firm’s board of directors are women as well. They also have processes in place that measure the firm’s ability to maintain a diverse workplace with an annual scorecard that records a break down with the gender information of all partners, associates and students within the firm.

“Lack of diversity in Canada’s corporate boardrooms and executive leadership teams comes at a cost to the competitiveness and productivity of our economy. Increasing the representation of women in leadership roles in our economy must be on the agenda of our government and Canada’s corporate leadership. Innovation is inherently tied to talent. It is the time we capitalize on the diversity of thought, ideas and solutions of our population and use 100 percent of the talent pool for leadership in this country.” – Jennifer Reynolds, President and CEO, Women in Capital Markets

Many companies and groups have found working with local and national groups can help encourage better diversity. These partnerships can provide long-term assistance to companies searching for a diverse selection of job candidates.

Bill C-25 also focuses on the future by encouraging younger girls to enter the science, technology, engineering and math sectors. Also, the bill outlines various ways to support women starting their own business.

“Diversity is Canada’s strength. In the boardroom, as in life, multiple perspectives lead to innovative thinking and better performance. Today on International Women’s Day, we honour the significant contributions of women from all walks of life and rededicate ourselves to the continued advancement of women in Canada and around the world. I am proud to serve a government that has done so much to support women’s progress as entrepreneurs, researchers and business leaders. I want my daughters to grow up seeing more women and other under-represented groups reaching the highest levels of achievement.” – The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Many critics have pointed to Canada’s record on gender equality as needing a lot of work. The World Economic Forum recently published a report that shows Canada is ranked 35 on the overall global index when it comes to economic opportunity for women. Canada scores well on many other world ranking lists, including educational attainment, but we clearly fall short when it comes to inclusion of women in the workforce.

As a leading provider of employment relocation services in Toronto and Canada, we’ve seen firsthand the benefits of having a diverse workplace. A diverse workplace opens the door to a greater range of backgrounds and perspectives at the boardroom table.  Bill C-25 and its push towards diversity will create a path of growth and innovation.

Is your organization looking for a more diverse work environment? With over 18 years of experience in global mobility, our team is equipped with the essential knowledge and understanding needed to provide advice on the unique challenges presented by overseas employee relocations. Speak to one of our employee relocation experts today to learn more.