Statistics Canada has released a study showing women only accounted for 19.4 per cent of corporate board directors in 2016.

This new study provides the first comprehensive estimates across all types of corporations. Previously, only the share of women on corporate boards in publicly traded corporations had been documented well.

The study found that 28.0 per cent of corporations had at least one woman on their board of directors and 15.2 per cent of corporations had more than one female member. Meanwhile, 56.8 per cent of corporate directors’ boards were entirely comprised of men.

Government business enterprises had the highest share (28.8 per cent) of women on corporate boards, followed by public corporations (20.5 per cent). And, private corporations had the lowest representation of women on boards at 17.4 per cent.

The study examined the presence of women on boards controlled by foreign entities, highlighting the differences by country of control. The share of women on boards was the highest in Canadian-controlled entities (21.3 per cent), followed by entities controlled in France (17.5 per cent) and the United Kingdom (17.1 per cent). On the opposite end of the spectrum, entities controlled in Japan had the lowest share of women on boards (9.6 per cent).

According to the study, corporate boards in service industries, which includes finance, were more likely to exhibit larger representations of women. Finance was the sector with the highest representation at 22.5 per cent, which was followed by utilities at 21.4 per cent and management of companies and enterprises at 20.1 per cent.