Over the past few years there has been much discussion over the
need to improve diversity on boards of directors, in both the
for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. It is well established that
board diversity can contribute to innovation and better corporate
governance. Diversity enables boards to deliberate with greater
perspective, and significantly expands the available pool of
How diversity is defined, though, is changing. The Institute of
Corporate Directors recently defined diversity as including
"gender, ethnicity, age, business experience, functional
experience, personal skills, stakeholder perspectives and
geographic background", with all factors being important.
Traditionally, most directors are mature, experienced and, in
many cases, fill this role after retirement or near the later part
of their career. The perspective these directors bring to a
boardroom is vitally important. Still, age diversity on boards help
the corporation to benefit from the different perspectives of
different age groups. Age diversity of boards encourages board
development and learning, and can foster creativity and innovation,
and many studies have found positive relationships between the age
diversity of a board and corporate performance.
Age diversity does not mean adding youth to a board simply for
the sake of being diverse. Age diversity also does not mean having
a board comprised entirely of young directors. Diversity means
representation from across age groups. Some corporations may wish
to consider adding directors in younger age brackets, while others
may wish to add directors able to provide perspective based upon
decades of experience around boardrooms or in relevant fields.
The average age of all directors in the S&P/TSX 60 in 2014
was 63, with the majority falling between ages 60 and 69.
Approximately 20% of directors were above age 70. Only 6% were 49
or younger, noting that in 5% of cases age was not available.
An Example of a Diversity Policy
Corporations are starting to take note. As just one example,
Barrick Gold has stated that it believes that "a board made up
of highly qualified individuals from diverse backgrounds promotes
better corporate governance and performance and effective
decision-making", and that when identifying and considering
director candidates they will consider gender, age, ethnicity,
disability and the geographical background of the candidate.
Barrick's diversity policy is available online at
The Canadian population is diverse. While our corporate and
not-for-profit boardrooms will likely never perfectly reflect
Canada's demographics, director diversity, be it age diversity
or otherwise, can help position any corporation for success now and
for years to come. Does your corporation have a diversity policy
for its board? If not, perhaps it's worth considering.
Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions or GST.
Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan Act and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions.
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