Irene Introduces Bill C-407, An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (gender balanced representation)

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  Moved for leave to introduce Bill C-407, An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (gender balanced representation).

She said: Mr. Speaker, I would add my congratulations to all women on this International Women's Day.

Volunteerism is a wonderful thing in all of our communities but it does not promote the equality of women, which is the reason for my bill. It would require that federally regulated boards be made up of at least 40% women.

The reality is there is a growing body of research that shows that gender-diverse corporate boards are more effective, perform better, access the widest talent pool, are more responsive to the market and lead to better decision-making.

Because women are active participants in the democratic governing of the country, both as voters and as politicians, they should have balanced representation in the management of crown corporations.

According to a report from the United Nations on the status of women, there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth.

The reality is that, despite our best efforts in regard to federal organizations, only 32.43% of those boards have women as active members despite the fact that women make up 47% of the workforce.

We have been criticized quite significantly by the United Nations in terms of CIDA because we have not promoted the equality of women. Many industrialized countries have enacted legislation to achieve gender parity. Countries such as Switzerland, Norway and Spain have passed a law requiring that women's representation on boards reach 40% within the next six years.

We have a lot of catching up to do and this bill aims to help Canada to move in a positive direction.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)