of Executive Committee members are women
In the current economic climate, social issues remain a source of concern around the world. More than ever before, we must foster greater social inclusiveness.
We are determined to ramp up collaboration with our stakeholders around a shared goal: to create more inclusive and equitable communities.
We are taking concrete action to provide an inclusive work environment in which our talents can flourish. We engage in dialogue on social issues with our portfolio companies and our external managers.
Our commitment is also reflected in our desire to invest in assets that employ tax best practices.
An ecosystem that promotes diversity in all its forms encourages the emergence of a higher-performing economy that is both fairer and more inclusive.
We are focused on our most valuable asset: our people. That’s why we strive to attract, develop and retain talent from diverse backgrounds in terms of gender, sexual orientation, culture, age and experience. We firmly believe that diversity enhances the quality of our decision making and optimizes our risk management. It also strengthens our teams’ commitment and opens our perspectives on business opportunities.
Provide an equitable and inclusive workplace in which our talent can flourish.
In a continuous improvement approach and based on prior-year results, we undertook various new DEI initiatives:
To foster a more inclusive culture, 122 people from various teams are members of CDPQ’s DEI Ambassadors Network. In 2022, this network organized a range of activities focusing on issues of inclusion and unconscious bias.
Professional development activities were also offered to all our teams:
people were mentored internally (of whom 51% were women and 21% members of ethnocultural minorities)
of our team leaders underwent inclusive leadership training
We are actively working to attract and retain new talent: 40% of our employees are under age 35 (Figure 8).
To foster gender and ethnocultural diversity at all levels of our organization, we set targets to be reached by 2025.
In addition, under the Act respecting the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, our Board of Directors must include at least 40% women and at least one member representing the diversity of Québec society. The Board’s share of women currently stands at 46%, while 38% of its members stated that they belong to one of the diversity groups representing the various components of Québec society.
of Executive Committee members are women
Ambition for 2025
of employees at CDPQ are women
Ambition for 2025
of investment positions at CDPQ are held by women
Ambition for 2025
of Québec employees identify as members of one of the following groups: visible minorities, ethnic minorities or Indigenous peoples
Ambition for 2025
We are convinced that DEI creates value for our portfolio companies, as well as for communities and the economy as a whole. We are also using our influence to advance these issues. We aim to boost the representation and inclusion of women and ethnocultural minorities at all levels in organizations.
Promote DEI and encourage our portfolio companies and external managers to do the same
Promoting greater Board diversity
Diversity of gender, as well as of background, experience and opinion, is a truly valuable resource that makes our organizations stronger.
Since 2020, we have actively encouraged our portfolio companies to appoint more women to their Boards and to consider diversity in all its forms when appointing new Board members.
In accordance with our Policy Governing the Exercise of Voting Rights of Public Companies, we ask our public companies to have women represent at least 30% of the Board.
Over the year, we continued our engagement activities in this regard by:
In 2022, 52% of our actively managed public companies included at least 30% women on their Boards of Directors—an increase of nearly 27% over two years (Chart 9).
Promoting diversity among our nominee directors
Because diversity strengthens governance and decision quality at our companies, we work to appoint people with diverse profiles to the Boards on which we sit. Our objective: have women represent 30% of our nominee directors by 2023.
In 2022, the level of women among our nominee directors was 29%.
CDPQ appointed 89 new nominee directors over the past year. They included 33 women, accounting for 37% of total appointments.
Raising awareness among our external managers
In addition to working closely with our portfolio companies, we entrust a portion of our asset management to external managers. This collaboration is governed by agreements and a rigorous selection process.
This year, our teams proactively identified external managers from diversity groups as potential candidates for investment mandates – see the Avante case study. We also confirm their priorities and analyze the evolution of their sustainable investment practices.
In 2022, we developed collaboration plans on ESG matters, in particular DEI issues, with various external managers. We also continued our discussions on DEI issues and agreed on diversity goals with several managers. They pledged to:
We regard it as our duty, as well as that of the companies in which we invest, to adhere to rigorous tax principles and to pay our fair share of taxes. This is a necessary condition for contributing to the funding of social programs tailored to the needs of our communities.
Ensure compliance with fair and rigorous tax principles in all our activities
We analyze each investment opportunity by paying special attention to a set of criteria, as set out in our International taxation commitment. It includes the following criteria:
We are one of the only investors in the world to have made such a commitment.
This commitment is also in line with the agreement reached by 136 countries and the G20, based on the recommendations issued by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2021.
In 2022, our teams issued 136 pre-investment notices based on these criteria to determine whether CDPQ should proceed with a transaction. Of those notices:
were unfavourable and we did not proceed with the investment due to inadequate tax practices
required an intervention from our tax team to influence these companies to adopt better tax practices, thus enabling us to approve the investment
Follow-up on the 2021 review of our actively managed investments being monitored
Following an exhaustive portfolio analysis in 2021, 13 companies with a tax rate of less than 15% were on our list to be monitored. In 2022, an in-depth review of those investments, which included calls with members of the companies’ management teams, was carried out to gain a better understanding of their tax strategies, risk profiles and viable long-term effective tax rates, while emphasizing the importance that CDPQ places on tax matters. Based on these discussions, we concluded that:
could be removed from our monitoring list either because they showed no indication of abusive tax planning or they had already been sold in the normal course of our investment strategy
should continue to be monitored due to its tax rate of less than 15%, which, even if justified, would require monitoring of its evolving tax situation
did not meet our criteria, so we therefore decided to proceed with an orderly divestment from one company and to engage in dialogue and continuous monitoring in the other two cases, which are illiquid assets
Annual review of our assets
Again in 2022, our teams carried out a wide-ranging tax analysis of virtually all our assets under active management. More than 1,800 investment files were reviewed to ensure compliance with a consolidated tax rate of at least 15%, regardless of the jurisdiction. Of all those files, 11 require a more extensive review. We will continue our analysis and monitoring of these companies in 2023 to ensure that tax best practices are applied.
As a member of the 30% Club, we took part for the first time, alongside Desjardins and Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), in an engagement activity with Constellation Software, a leading international provider of software and services for the public and private sectors. Our goal was to encourage the company to adopt a DEI policy and targets, to increase the share of women in senior management positions and to disclose data on ethnocultural representation.
The company, whose Board is already comprised of 33% women, confirmed its willingness to continue improving how it measures and discloses DEI data and to strengthen the integration of gender and ethnocultural diversity in its processes, on both its Board and Executive Committee. We shared various tools and resources with their teams to support their efforts.
We supported the growth of this private credit manager, which places DEI at the very heart of its mission. Founded by two women, Avante leverages a team of private equity experts, 80% of whom are women and ethnocultural minorities, to seize new investment opportunities.
Seeking to actively promote diversity and inclusion, the firm organizes numerous networking events and conferences with the goal of supporting the success of women from a variety of backgrounds. Avante also launched two major initiatives: an internship program, in partnership with other asset managers, which supports and encourages undergraduates from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in finance, as well as a network of female corporate directors and senior executives that provides private equity teams and corporate Boards with a diversified talent pool.
This sector offers significant growth prospects and a long-term opportunity. That is why we work closely with our sustainable mobility portfolio companies to develop initiatives that will generate multiple benefits for communities.
We support public transportation leaders, including Student Transportation of America, North America’s third-largest provider of school transportation services. For this sector, different approaches are discussed and then tailored to each company’s specific reality, whether that involves electric vehicle acquisition, fleet electrification or diesel-to-natural-gas transition if electrification is not possible.
CDPQ also continued its work on the REM, its automated, electric public transit initiative—Québec’s largest such project in 50 years. Designed to offer an innovative, environmentally responsible and people-focused solution, the REM also helps to drive economic growth. The REM’s South Shore branch is expected to be commissioned in spring 2023.