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Diversity of charity and non-profit boards of directors: Overview of the Canadian non-profit sector

November 17, 202117 November 2021

Equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization

Statistics Canada

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This Statistics Canada article is based on responses from 6,170 board members and 2,665 other representatives of not-for-profit organizations. Because of the non-random nature of the sample, Statistics Canada cautions that “no inferences about the overall makeup of charity and non-profit organization boards of directors should be made based on these results”. That being said, the survey provides “a good glimpse into the composition of the boards” of charities and other not-for-profit organizations, including “arts and culture” organizations (17% of respondents).

Regarding written policies related to the diversity of the organization’s board of directors, 40% of respondents indicated that their organization does not have such a policy, while 30% do. Another 23% of respondents did not know. Among respondents whose organizations have their main activity in the arts and culture, one-half (51%) do not have a written policy on the diversity of their boards of directors, compared with 29% that do. The remaining 20% of arts and culture respondents did not know.

The survey data show that, among all types of organizations, those with a written diversity policy have higher proportions of many diverse groups on their boards: “persons with a disability; First Nations, Métis or Inuit; visible minorities; immigrants; and LGBTQ2+ individuals”.

A comparison of the demographic composition of arts and culture boards with and without a written diversity policy is not available. However, the detailed data do allow for a comparison between the boards of arts and culture organizations and the averages for all types of organizations. The data show that arts and culture boards have slightly below-average representation of many diverse groups: “persons with a disability; First Nations, Métis or Inuit; visible minorities; and immigrants”. Arts and culture boards have an average representation of women and an above-average representation of LGBTQ2+ individuals.

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