Visible Minorities Still Vastly Under-Represented in Corporate Toronto Leadership

Joe Friesen, The Globe and Mail, June 7, 2011

Corporate Toronto lags significantly behind the public sector in the diversity of its leadership, according to a major report released Tuesday.

Just 4.2 per cent of the members of corporate boards and executive teams in the Greater Toronto Area belong to visible minorities. That’s by far the smallest proportion of any of the six sectors surveyed, according to the report. Nearly 80 per cent of corporate boards and 75 per cent of corporate executive teams have no visible minority representation at all, the report found.

The corporate world compares unfavourably with the public sector, where more than twice as many leadership positions (8.8 per cent) are held by visible minorities. Government boards, agencies and commissions have the highest proportion of visible minority leadership at 22 per cent.

The research was conducted by the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University, led by professor Wendy Cukier and supported by the Maytree foundation. They examined 3,300 people in leadership positions across the public, corporate, voluntary, education and legal sectors, as well as the combined group of agencies, boards and commissions.

The report concludes that “subtle but positive” progress has been made over the three years since the first DiverseCity leadership report in 2009. Overall the proportion of visible minority leaders has increased by roughly 0.5 percentage points per year since the survey began, to 14.5 per cent in 2011.

The greatest change has been driven at the ballot box. The diversity of elected officials jumped to just less than 20 per cent in 2011, up from 16 per cent in 2009. City council is up 30 per cent.

In the education sector, more than two thirds of GTA school boards and more than 80 per cent of college and university boards of governors have at least 20 per cent visible minority representation.

Legal leaders do not reflect the community they serve, the report found. In the legal profession, which was surveyed for the first time in this year’s edition, just 6.8 per cent of those in leadership positions belong to visible minorities. It was higher in governing bodies, such as law societies or law schools, and lower at the partner level of law firms.

Lowest of all, though, is among Crown and deputy Crown attorneys, where there wasn’t a single visible minority among the 14 positions included in the survey.

Just 6.6 per cent of partners in large GTA law firms are visible minorities. Some firms are clearly more friendly to diversity than others, though, as the range goes from a low of 0.9 per cent to a high of 10.8 per cent.

The survey found that a large number of Justices of the Peace are visible minority, (more than 44 per cent) but Justices of the Peace need not be lawyers. Still, only 14.4 per cent of lawyers in the Toronto census metropolitan area are visible minorities, even though they make up nearly 50 per cent of the city’s population. Slightly more than 4 per cent of judges on the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Superior Court of Justice are visible minorities. The proportion is much higher at the Ontario Court of Justice level, where 10 of 63 judges surveyed, or 15.9 per cent, are visible minority.

“Some organizations and firms are working to promote greater diversity but more remains to be done,” the report said. “Ultimately, the generally low rates of visible minority representation among legal sector leaders suggest that the legal profession and its institutions need to continue to promote the advancement of visible minorities in leadership roles.”

The report states that setting targets, measuring results, making diversity a strategic priority and nurturing the talent of young people of diverse backgrounds will improve equity across all sectors.

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  • Anonymous

    The term “visible minority” is a misnomer. A Cree Indian is a visible minority. The black, brown and yellow third world arrivals are visibly alien people with no roots, history or heritage here.

  • Jon

    The phrase “VISIBLE minority” appears 16 times throughout this article. I can only infer that to mean black, Asian or female, but I know it means black.

    So I guess, contrary to Tim Wise and those of his ilk, Race IS NOT arbitrary.

  • GR

    This article is really just a re-iteration of the facts presented by the The Diversity Institute. I am curious to know as to how selectively the results published in this article were. For groups like the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University this is great fodder for continuing the advancement of their agenda, but there are a number of items being overlooked. Consider these three:

    1) It takes decades to climb the corporate ladder and most immigrants of visible minority groups have only been coming to Canada in the last 30 years; their children are the ones just beginning this process.

    2) Visible minorities consist of about 18% of Canada’s population, yet Government boards, agencies, and commissions employ them at a level of 22% – they are in fact overrepresented in these sectors.

    3) Many immigrants, especially those who immigrated here in past decades, don’t have the level of education necessary to gain entrance into the corporate workplace – the emphasis in Canada in recent years has been on finding skilled labourers, not people to fill white-collar positions, and skilled labourers generally don’t have university degrees.

    *There may be a correlation between the fact that visible minorities are so well represented in our public sector and that for a variety of reasons, dealing with government agencies in this country can be exceptionally frustrating.

  • Anonymous

    What these diversity now people don’t realize is that there isn’t a huge turnover rate in the corporate boardroom, like there is in government jobs like education. A corporate board and high ranking officers might have their positions for decades. Most of the men in charge in Toronto and elsewhere got their positions before Canada became a polyglot of squabbling nations.

  • Matt

    Why am I not surprised that this ‘research’ was conducted by Ryerson University professor Wendy Cukier? She’s the same person responsible for Canada’s useless, but abhorrently costly, federal long gun registry. Having sought to disarm law-abiding white Canadians and take away their means of defending themselves, she now turns her sights on the corporate world, seeking to dismantle what made it great.

    Well, since the federal Conservatives won a majority in the last election, they just might do away with the long gun registry as they promised, and hopefully that will distract Wendy’s attention away from the ‘Diversity Institute’.

  • Martin L. Kuhn Jr.

    Perhaps the Black corporate leaders in Toronto have used so much skin lightening cream that they are now “invisible minorities”. Liberals are usually weak in science, so there is a possibility that that explanation might fly in the great white north.

  • Istvan

    Canada is two-faced. There are no visible minorities on Canadian money. How about Ghandi on the Looney, Mugabe on the Tooney, Mao on the quarter, Pol Pot on the dime, Toussaint Louverture on the nickel and, I suppose, Liz on the penny I mean, what the heck, she is old and white but at least she is a woman.

  • ned

    I’d like to know what planet professor Cukier has been living on.

  • Seek

    Vdare.com’s Peter Brimelow, who lived in Canada for some two decades, came to this conclusion: Virtually every bad recent political idea began in Canada. An exaggeration perhaps, but he’s not far off the mark either.

    As a Yank, I say to the Canadians that your nation is doomed if you can’t reverse what you set in motion. Then again, if we Americans don’t act to halt Third World mass immigration, then we’re doomed as well. A cheering thought.

  • Bud

    White-hating racists still grossly over-represented in Canadian media. News at 11.

  • white is right, black is whack

    And someone please tell me when and why the white Canadians wanted nonwhite immigrants and why and when they said they wanted them to have and power or say in how their country is run?

  • Anonymous

    The article addresses the need for corporations to “promote diversity.” Corporate directors are elected by shareholders, not appointed. A successful candidate for director must promote himself.

  • diversity=adversity

    If race is not supposed to matter, then why are “they” still hiring people based on their “minority” status?

    A White business leader or employee is always less important (even when more valuable) than someone who is not White; and having a White with a job is somehow indicative of “bias”. Why is it so important to them that nonwhites have jobs at the expense of Whites? Why do “business leaders” have to be a certain color? ( the darker, the better ). Why is “diversity” so important to them? I can’t think of any other reason than they want all Whites to die out.

  • GR

    RE: ‘Seek’ – Peter Brimelow…

    Somehow his statement about every bad political idea emanating from Canada doesn’t surprise me; even as a Canadian I can accede to that. Pierre Trudeau, a former Prime Minister, literally invented the concept of Multiculturalism and entrenched it in our Charter of Rights! and the rest of the Western World drank the Kool-Aid alongside us in the years that came…Interestingly enough, in hindsight he considered Multiculturalism one of HIS biggest regrets from his time in political office…

  • Tom S.

    It never ceases to amaze me how White liberals report with such GLEE the ever increasing numbers of non-Whites taking jobs from Whites. I would love to be there the day a “visible minority” walks into THEIR office and says : “Kaweesha Jackson will be taking over your job now, and Jamaul Mohammed will “walk” you to your car!” Then, when they get to their car, being told that they had to give it to Kaweesha so she could get to her new job!