Frequently Asked Questions about Parity Certification

  1. Will our level of certification or not having qualified for certification be made public?

The level of certification is communicated to each organization in a strictly confidential manner. Only platinum level certified organizations are officially announced. For others, we only reveal that the organizations are certified but each company decides to assert its bronze, silver or gold level of certification. The name of organizations that do not qualify for certification are never disclosed.

  1. Why is the certification annual and requires yearly payments, even for those that have already been certified?

The objective is to ensure that organizations maintain parity or make continuous progress towards parity. The only way to make sure that the certification remains valid is to conduct an audit and/or a reassessment on an annual basis. Within a year, there can be changes among employees, executives or directors which affect the organization’s results. Women in Governance provides information and resources on the best practices to support the implementation of these elements in order to facilitate the journey towards parity. After the inaugural year of the certification, additional research has been conducted, as well as feedbacks from certified pioneer companies, allowing a much more thorough and robust assessment of the certification. Therefore, no changes in the certification questionnaire are planned and re-certification will be simplified and at a lower cost.

  1. How much time is necessary to fill in the questionnaire?

The time required to complete the questionnaire depends on each company. It will be faster when access to information is centralized and the required documents can be easily gathered. This answer will therefore be different for each company.

  1. How to evaluate what is required to achieve the different level of Certification?

Our innovative certification assesses three dimensions:

  • Strategy: Governance and Vision

To be certified on this dimension, a company must demonstrate that through their policies and practices that their strategic direction and key decision-making is inclusive of a progressively equitable representation of women to men. Furthermore, the company must demonstrate their commitment to achieving parity by setting clear objective towards parity. Finally, they must also demonstrate the intention to sustain parity through policies and practices that are building a pipeline of female talent.

  • Action: Collective Enablers

To be certified on this dimension, a company must demonstrate that the policies, practices and actions are geared to facilitating the progress towards equitable representation of women at all levels of the company, until parity is achieved and sustained.

  • Result: Equity

To be certified on this dimension, a company must demonstrate that the outcome of its strategy and actions in the area of gender equality and parity results in progression towards equity or parity in the distribution of women to men in the hierarchy of the company, promotion and hiring and that women in the same hierarchy are on average earning a salary equitable to men.

  1. Why a certification?
  • To assess the organization’s level of commitment towards parity;
  • To analyze objectives, practices, and results on all the organization’s level;
  • To be aware of the elements on which the organization has to work on to progress;
  • To compare the best practices in various sectors.
  1. What are the advantages of certification?

Our Parity Certification allows organizations to benefit from the many advantages that a better gender balance brings within their senior bodies, including a better brand image, a better positioning of the organization in the community, as well as a strengthened commitment of employees. At a purely practical level, this allows an organization to thoroughly audit its values, priorities, policies, programs and practices so that it can identify where it has opportunities for improvement and where it is on the right track.

  1. Will the questionnaire change throughout the years?

No, the questionnaire will remain untouched, unless a significant development in the gender parity area justifies adjustments.

  1. Do you ensure the protection of provided information?

Yes, the company which hosts the questionnaire platform, Women in Governance’s Parity Certification committee members and consultants which undertake the task of evaluating organizations’ applications all sign confidentiality agreements.

  1. What kind of questions can be found in the questionnaire?

The certification reviews the organization’s 25 various dimensions, from entry-level positions to decision making bodies, as well as the succession planning and the implementation of mechanisms necessary to allow women from all levels to advance their professional careers.

  1. For questions requiring supporting evidence, what kind of documents is needed?

Various documents such as memoranda, policies, programs descriptions, meeting minutes, containing data which examine parity in elements such as hiring rates, promotions, compensation, senior management composition, etc.

  1. What will the report contain?

This customized report allows to create a reference with all the certified organizations, and also to determine the gap between your level of certification and the next one. In addition, the report suggests some of the best practices that the organization may consider implementing to progress in the different levels of certification.

  1. Will we be compared to other organizations in terms of results, by industry for example?

In the circumstances where we have a critical mass in a sector, we will provide a comparative analysis by sector. At the minimum, the comparison will be made in relation to the cohort as a whole.

  1. After doing the certification, will you offer us advice for our next actions towards achieving parity?

Yes, our recommendations will be listed in the report; companies which do not qualify for the certification’s bronze level are still requested to fill in the questionnaire to obtain this report and follow the steps to qualify the following year. The companies which filled in the questionnaire are also asked to participate in a forum where we will share the best practices and discuss about hurdles to overcome in order to move towards parity.

  1. If our organization does not have 400 employees, what are our avenues?

We are considering to launch a Parity Certification specifically designed for SMEs in 2019. Therefore, we invite you to register as soon as the certification is launched!

  1. If we do not achieve the bronze certification, why participate in the certification?

This way you will get a report containing recommended actions to take in order to improve your status to help you achieve certification the following year. All participants get this report that allows them to create a reference with the entire certification community and also to determine the gap between your current level and the minimum certification level (bronze). You will also have the opportunity to participate in a forum where we share the best practices and discuss about hurdles to overcome in order to move towards parity. Therefore, you will be supported in this process and will be able to act quickly and in a targeted way on your most significant areas of weaknesses.

  1. Is it possible to get some examples of questions that we will have to answer to?

Although the content of the questionnaire is proprietary, we encourage you to directly contact the Women in Governance team at [email protected], so they can answer your specific questions about the questionnaire.

  1. What differences, other than monetary, exist between the provincial and national certification?

The difference lies in recognition and outreach because a national certification reveals an organization with a well-executed strategy across Canada, and not only in a single province.