On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, Blakes, along with SNC-Lavalin and the WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) Foundation, sponsored the first 30% Club event in Montréal, “Growing the Diversity Dividend: Diversity for Better Decision-Making in the Boardroom.” The event was designed as a platform for open discussion on the issues surrounding gender diversity in a corporate environment.

The panellists leading the discussions were Neil Bruce, President & CEO of SNC-Lavalin; Isabelle Courville, Chair of the Board of the Laurentian Bank; and Victor G. Dodig, President & CEO of CIBC and Chair of 30% Club Canada. Brock Gibson, Chair of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, delivered the closing remarks.

Thanks to social media, news of the event made its way to Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, who shared one of 30% Club’s tweets on her Twitter timeline. Also, as if on cue, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, was in New York the day after the event passionately speaking about the importance of getting women on boards.

The 30% Club is a global organization founded by 28 CEOs of leading companies and business organizations. Officials from many of Canada’s largest banks and accounting firms are among the blue-chip founding members, whose goal is to boost the proportion of women on boards of directors to 30 per cent. In Canada, they aspire to reach that target by 2020.

While the group is opposed to mandatory quotas, it believes the business community can promote diversity on a voluntary basis without regulatory intervention.

Blakes Chair is working with the founders on behalf of the Firm and will be taking a leading role with regard to law firms and in Calgary.