Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Laws (LLM)

First Advisor

Mary G. Condon


This thesis provides an in-depth analysis of the underlying theories of the regulation of the underrepresentation of women on boards. In particular, it focuses on the Canadian board gender diversity policy found in National Instrument 58-101F1. The theories justifying regulation of this issue are typically categorized into business case rationales and normative rationales. Through an analysis of the regulatory journey of the Canadian policy, it is argued that while securities regulators claim that the policy contained in NI 58-101F1 was rooted in business case rationales, it in fact arose from normative concerns. Not only that, but because of the policy’s weakness, it does not achieve its stated objective which is to increase female participation on reporting issuer boards. It is further argued that neither the business case nor the normative case have been accepted by those on Canadian public boards. A deep analysis of these theories, their pitfalls, and the possibility to combine the two, reveals that it may be time to amend the Canadian diversity policy even if this means the acceptance by the regulator and the business community of one, both or neither of the business or normative cases. The final chapter presents a range of regulatory options which are more likely to enhance women’s participation on public boards than the current policy. Which of these options and what exact form regulation should take are questions this thesis leaves up to the securities regulators.


Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.

Included in

Law Commons