Skip to main content

Waste Connections faced a shareholder proposal this spring from the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation calling on it to release a formal, written diversity policy, as well as plans and timelines for increasing the number of female board members and executives.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

The shareholders of Waste Connections Inc. demonstrated that one female director on a corporate board is, in their eyes, no longer enough.

The company, a member of the S&P/TSX 60, faced a shareholder proposal this spring from the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation calling on it to release a formal, written diversity policy, as well as plans and timelines for increasing the number of female board members and executives.

It passed with support from 64 per cent of the shareholders. Law firm Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP says it’s the first time in Canadian history that a shareholder proposal on gender diversity has passed. It was the only shareholder proposal of any kind to pass among the 62 in Canada studied by Davies in 2019.

Story continues below advertisement

Waste Connections came to its shareholders in the spring with one woman among its seven directors. Proxy-advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended a Yes vote, contrary to Waste Connections’ wishes, saying it lagged Canadian companies in female representation and the company disclosed neither a formal gender policy nor a target to fix that.

In an interview, chief financial officer Mary Anne Whitney said Waste Connections was looking for an additional board member at the time of the annual meeting and later added a woman, making two of its eight members female. “We had identified that diversity, specifically gender diversity, was one of the factors that should be considered. That was a priority for us.”

Ms. Whitney declined to comment on the status of a formal diversity policy for the company.

While the company’s administrative offices are based in Houston, the company is considered Canadian by S&P Dow Jones Indices, because its corporate home is in Ontario.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies