Promoting gender pay gap reporting

VCIM Shareholder Advocacy Prompts Big Banks to Report on Gender Pay Gap

Impact starts in our own neighborhood. Since 2018, we’ve used shareholder advocacy to help push other major financial institutions in Canada to transparently report on gender pay gaps. This has been a persistent problem in Canada and elsewhere. Statistics Canada estimates that women earn 87 cents for every dollar earned by men, and this gap widens for women who are indigenous, living with disabilities, visible minorities, or newcomers.


Financial institutions have been far from immune to this problem. When the United Kingdom, in 2017, made it compulsory for all companies with over 250 employees to report publicly on the gender pay gap, the financial industry was found to have one of the highest gender pay gap rates in the country.

This year, following shareholder proposals by VCIM, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Sun Life Financial (Sun Life), and Manulife Financial (Manulife) agreed to establish gender pay gap reporting across their Canadian operations as part of their 2019/2020 sustainability reporting. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) went even further to include its US and UK operations, which account for most of RBC’s global workforce, in its gender pay gap reporting. This puts these banks in line with the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) and Toronto Dominion Bank (TD), which began reporting their gender pay gap in 2018/2019 following earlier shareholder advocacy by VCIM.


“Transparent reporting lowers the gap, increases promotion of women to more senior positions, and decreases operational costs” says Shelly Dhawan, Head of ESG at VCIM. “Through understanding the value of transparency, VCIM worked collaboratively with these financial institutions, sharing the reporting framework that our parent company, Vancity, has been following for more than 10 years. Working together, we were able to move the needle on this issue of entrenched inequity in compensation.”

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