Of the 50 most influential Canadian business leaders ranked by Canadian Business magazine, only six are women.
That’s just one of the surprising things on this year’s list of the magazine's Power 50, which also ranks some of the country’s highest-profile influencers below some of the country’s most obscure operators.
For instance, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, for all his regulatory power, comes in at 15th place, and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz places 12th.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper does somewhat better, ranking seventh, but the magazine notes that, with his staff in disarray in the wake of the Senate expenses scandal, “even the most ardent of Ottawa watchers are hard-pressed to say who advises the PM on business issues.”
The women in the ranking were Toronto Board of Trade Chair Carol Wilding (49th), CBC News business correspondent Amanda Lang (41st), Alberta Premier Alison Redford (37th), The Bay Vice-Chair Bonnie Brooks (36th), Indigo Books CEO Heather Reisman (24th), and Julie Dickson, head of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (6th place).
And number one? That would be Mark Wiseman, the guy in charge of investing the money millions of Canadians put into the Canada Pension Plan with every paycheque.
Here are the top 30 most influential people in Canadian business, according to Canadian Business magazine. For the full top 50 list, go to Canadian Business magazine.
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The relative lack of women among Canada’s most powerful business is hardly a new phenomenon.
In an article she wrote for the Financial Post this spring, TD Bank economist Beata Caranci argued that the lack of women in Canada’s boardrooms is a sign of “market failure.”
“Almost three-quarter of the firms traded on the S&P/TSX Composite Index have no female directors, or just one representative,” Caranci wrote. “This startling fact suggests that the importance of gender diversity is not recognized widely enough in Canada’s boardrooms.”
But Caranci opposed mandatory quotas to bring more women into senior business positions. She praised Ontario’s move towards a “comply or explain” policy that would require companies to either increase the number of women in the boardroom or explain why they cannot.
“Directors of Canadian companies need to be appointed on the basis of merit,” Caranci wrote.