Research has shown that businesses and organizations that embrace diversity on their boards and management teams outperform their peers. Intuitively, a broader range of perspectives and talents results in better performance.
Yet, the reality is that women, racialized persons, people who identify as LGBTQ2 and people living with disabilities (including invisible and episodic disabilities), as well as First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, are under-represented in positions of economic influence and organizational leadership, including on corporate boards and in senior management.
As a result, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, launched the 50 – 30 Challenge to advance and recognize diversity, inclusion and economic prosperity. At the heart of the 50 – 30 Challenge are two goals for the board(s) and senior management of each organization: gender parity (50%) and significant representation (30%) of under-represented groups.
Minister Bains announced a $33-million investment in the Challenge, including for the development of tools and resources to help participating organizations advance diversity and inclusion in workplaces across Canada. Additionally, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) will leverage its programs to encourage companies that receive ISED funding to advance diversity and inclusion within their organizations.
“The existence of systemic discrimination is not up for debate, as we’ve witnessed with particular intensity through recent events,” said Minister Bains. “The status quo is neither sustainable nor beneficial for Canada. The 50 – 30 Challenge encourages companies and organizations of all sizes to embrace the full diversity and talent of their communities, and doing so will bring key insights and perspectives to their decision-making tables.” So far, more than 470 of every size and from every province and territory—have signed up for the challenge.