Proposed law would force insurers to include more women at board level

Published: April 25, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The insurance industry in Canada is reflecting on a gender difference where most executives are male, but the industry as a whole is predominantly female. In an effort to address the balance, a proposed law would introduce mandatory diversity rules for executive boards across Canadian corporations, including those in insurance.

On April 19, the House of Commons voted in favour of making changes proposed by the Senate in March, falling within Bill C-25. Amendments would be made to the Canada Business Corporations Act [CBCA]. Bill C-25 would mandate companies regulated by CBCA to “disclose to shareholders the composition of their boards and senior management,” federal innovation, Science and Economic Development minister Navdeep Bains explained.

While Bill C-25 would be on a federal level, the Government of Ontario has already announced its own plans to bring more gender equality to boardrooms. The government said it will start encouraging companies to have at least 30 per cent of its board members be female. After the announcement, the plan was backed by the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario.

Research by the Insurance Institute of Canada showed women dominate the overall insurance P&C insurance industry, with 62% of all people in insurance being female. However, at management level the number fell to 50 per cent, and execituve level positions for women were lower.

Bill C-25 would push corporations to “make public their diversity policies” and companies lacking a diversity policy “would have to explain why they do not have one,” Bains told the House of Commons in 2016.