International Research and Practice
Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Val Singh, Ronald J. Burke, Diana Bilimoria and Morten Huse
Chapter 2: Women on Corporate Boards of Directors: The Canadian Perspective
Ronald J. Burke and Richard Leblanc INTRODUCTION Interest in women serving on corporate boards of directors and eﬀorts to increase their numbers has been present for almost 30 years (Schwartz, 1980). Canadian research and writing in this area starts with Mitchell (1984). While relatively little Canadian academic research has been carried out during this period (see Burke, 1993; 1994a; 1997a; 1997b; 1997c, for later contributions), interest in boards of directors and corporate governance more generally has peaked in the past ﬁve years. This increase has been brought about, in part, by glaring failures in corporate governance (dramatically illustrated by the Chicago trial of Lord Black and the failures at Enron, Anderson and World.Com), the need for more and more talented board members, heightened demands being placed on board members, and suggestions that corporate boards need to become more diverse; that is, more reﬂective of stockholders, employees and consumers (Burke, 2003). NOTES ON CANADIAN CORPORATIONS Canadian corporations are required to register, either federally or provincially, and are bound by the Business Corporations Act at the provincial level or the Canadian Business Corporations Act at the federal level. Public companies are required to have at least three directors, and it is recommended they have a balance of related (inside) and unrelated (outside) directors. Privately held corporations are required to have one or three directors depending on the jurisdiction in which the company is incorporated. Most Canadian companies have more outside than inside directors. Board sizes range from one to 19...
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