Increasing the Number of Women on Corporate Boards: Comparing The “Comply or Explain” and Quota Approaches, Which Is the Most Practical and Effective for Canada?
This thesis investigates the practicality and effectiveness of comply or explain and quota approaches to improving the participation of women on corporate boards, drawing on the experience in Canada (focusing on Ontario) and Europe (focusing on Norway). Relevant institutional and contextual factors that have a bearing on gender diversity are explored, using the ecological model and sustainable governance framework. This research utilizes semistructured interviews with key participants from government, the private sector and civil society. The thesis finds that due to particular characteristics of the Canadian comply or explain law (with disclosure being the starting point for involvement of non-state actors in implementation), as well as distinctive characteristics of the Canadian institutional context (where increased participation has been achieved through a combination of state and non-state action without use of quotas), the comply or explain approach appears to be the most practical and effective in Canada’s distinctive institutional context at this time. The thesis also recommends changes to improve the effectiveness of the current Canadian comply or explain approach.