diversity line


Diversity is directly linked to enterprise success. Research has clearly shown that groups with greater diversity out perform heterogeneous ones. As a champion of diversity, ITAC works with industry partners to spearhead initiatives that support “tech savvy and tech positive” learning and career choices for girls and women at strategic points within their development.

The challenge

  • The ICT sector has struggled to attract young women.
  • Engineering and computer science have remained largely male fields of study at universities in Canada.
  • Many young women in high school believe ICT companies would not be places at which they would want to work.
  • The top 10 Canadian information and communications technology companies (ICT) have an average of 16.5 per cent female representation.
  • The ICT sector has typically trailed behind other sectors, such as financial services, in terms of board gender diversity in Canada.
  • There are few women board members to serve as role models.
  • ICT companies tend to be smaller and newer entities, which presents particular challenges.

Our Commitment

  • Engage the ITAC Board of Directors and their organizations to actively assist in driving visible and meaningful action around workplace diversity.
  • Survey, monitor and share the diversity performance of those organizations within our constituency.
  • Support governmental and stakeholder which target workplace diversity as a priority.
  • Actively participate in federal/provincial/territorial forums
  • Showcase successful female business leaders; and share their learnings, advice and guidance with our members.
  • Provide a forum for members to share best practices for making female leaders successful.
  • Leverage the strengths of ITAC Talent and associated stakeholders to ensure the best programs targeting young women receive the greatest support.

ITAC’s action plan, through its Diversity Advisory Committee, is implemented through four streams: Board Management, Women in Leadership, Female Entrepreneurship and Influencing the Pipeline

Women on Boards

Women on Boards of Directors of Canadian companies

The imbalance of women serving on Board’s of Director’s of Canada’s corporations continues to persist despite significant evidence that diverse boards are better boards, diverse boards deliver superior financial returns, and most of the country’s securities regulators have instituted “comply or explain” regulations to begin to redress this disparity.

In 2013 ITAC’s Diversity Advisory Council commissioned a white paper titled Gender Diversity of Boards of Directors of Canadian ICT Companies[1], to understand the situation within the technology industry and to identify any obstacles to appointing women to boards. The author, Karen Wensley, discovered that only 16% of Canadian ICT boards had women directors and this low participation rate was due to qualified women not generally being part of their network, nor did they know where to reach out to find them. By 2015, women held less than 10% of ICT board positions, and 55% of publically traded Canadian ICT companies had no women at all.

ITAC strives to address issues and opportunities that drive Canadian ICT company competitiveness. The Diversity Advisory Council was established based on the foundational belief that “Workplace Diversity is a proven solution for increased prosperity and competitiveness, therefore, the mandate of this committee will be to develop and recommend measures and initiatives to raise awareness and increase diversity for our ITAC members, partners and stakeholders.”


Women on Boards Registry Booklet – May 23, 2018

Nominating Committee Notice – Internet Society Canada

In order to facilitate ICT companies in addressing this imbalance, ITAC’s Women on Boards committee, led by Mary Whittle,  has established a registry of technology experienced women who are qualified and interested in Board of Director’s appointment. Candidates were invited to participate in “Board Discovery Days” where thought-leaders and educators from Rotman/Institute of Corporate Directors and Degroote/Director’s College shared the qualifications, requirements and roles of Boards of Director’s in providing excellence in governance. Following these sessions interested women were invited to submit their resume to be included on the list.

A registry of 33 women from the technology industry who are qualified and interested in serving on corporate boards has been created and will be updated on a periodic basis.  This list is available to all ITAC members as well as organizations and government offices who play a role in redressing the gender imbalance in Canada’s boardrooms.

“Given the faster pace at which business and organizations are evolving, and the impact of competition from nontraditional sources, creating a diverse board becomes even more important today. We know more diverse board members challenge each other with different points of view which bring new and important perspectives to the organization. This richer discussion and engagement amongst board members often results in better decisions which affect their company’s results rather than boards with a narrower, more homogeneous membership. Broader debate gives fuller consideration to an issue and consistently results in better, well-thought-out decisions and learning for the rest of the board. This is particularly important around key board topics such as Strategy and the value that better decisions produce in a competitive market”.Tim Hewat, Partner, Amrop Knightsbridge


  • Publicly support organizations promoting diversity options.
  • Analyse ITAC and TSX Technology companies diversity compliance status
  • Create a diversity registry of board-ready women.
  • Organize training / recruitment events
  • Undertake or commission original diversity research

Women in Leadership

women in business

  • Showcase successful female business leaders and share their learnings, advice and guidance with our members.
  • Provide a forum for members to share best practices for making female leaders successful.

Women Entrepreneurs

women entrepreneurs

  • Offer speaker series for women entrepreneurs
  • Networking opportunities for SME women entrepreneurs to learn from senior sector leaders.


Influencing the Pipeline

influncing the pipeline

  • Find industry role models and mentors to support ITAC Talent’s CareerMash and BTM programs
  • Partner with Girls Raising
  • Survey members about best-practices for engaging young women
  • Work with educators and industry through ITAC Talent to promote tech savvy careers.


The Business Case for Women on Boards, Conference Board of Canada, 2013
Gender Diversity of Boards of Directors of Canadian ICT Companies’ , ITAC Whitepaper, 2014

In the News

Engineering Your Way to the Top
Connections Plus, March 23 Page 14

More gender diversity needed in Canadian IT boardrooms: report

Why ICT Should be Yours Second Career
Women Gain on Corporate Boards but Visible Minority Representation Dips
Rate of women on boards inches up to 17% in 2013
OSC passes “comply or explain” regulations for diversity on TSX-listed stocks Women’s Phones Ringing as Canadian Boards Seek Directors


Girls Raising logoAs part of its efforts to boost female entrepreneurship, ITAC supports the initiatives of Girls Raising and international organization resource community created to assist ambitious female founders with starting, building, funding and growing their businesses. ITAC partners in Girls Raising events and committed to providing ongoing sponsorship. ITAC members interested in providing long-term support for joint Canadian efforts are being sought.


linkedinlogo Don’t forget to join the conversation on the ITAC Diversity Forum

Our Partners


women in communication