News / Edmonton

Alberta's government appointed boards not diverse

An analysis by Metro shows that there's work to be done.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci.

Metro File

Finance Minister Joe Ceci.

Alberta's publicly appointed boards, commissions and councils are largely male and largely white, according to a Metro analysis.

Metro looked at 30 of the province’s boards and commissions, focusing on agencies where the government appoints a large portion of board members.

While this list is not exhaustive, of the 282 board seats Metro analyzed, just 92 are filled by women, a ratio of just 33 per cent.

Of the 282 seats, only a small handful are filled by visible minorities as well.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci told Metro this is why the government has set up a website where people can put their name forward for appointments.

“We want board to reflect Alberta today, not the Alberta of the past,” he said. “We want average Albertan to care about their community frankly, who might not have thought this is an option to step up and serve.”

Among the boards were diversity appears to be lacking is the Safety Codes Council, which has nine members and no women. The Alberta Transportation Safety Board has 25 members and six women.

Ceci said bringing more diversity is not just about better representation.

“The decisions are better. They are more in tune with what the broad societal needs are,” he said.

Lana Cuthbertson, chair of Equal Voice, a group that encourages women to run for elected office, said they’ve also been concerned about getting women onto boards.

She said Ceci’s move is a step in the right direction, but the government will also have to seek out qualified women and encourage them to get involved.

“It definitely can’t hurt to try and open up the process a little bit,” she said. “I’d be curious to see what there next steps might be.”

*This article originally contained an error.

The New Home Warranty Program does have 12 members and only one woman, but is not government appointed.

The New Home Buyer Protection Board is a government appointed board, which has 38 seats and eight women on the board.