Diversity in corporate Canada and the role of the securities regulator

Diversity in corporate Canada and the role of the securities regulator

ASC Roundtable on Diversity, in collaboration with the ICD Calgary & Edmonton Chapters

12/10/2021 10:30:00 AM

The Alberta Securities Commission hosted a virtual roundtable on Friday, December 10 from 10:30-11:45 a.m. MT about the importance of diversity on boards and in executive officer positions.

Diversity in the corporate environment is important. Today, investors are looking for more information on the role that diversity plays in corporate board rooms and senior management. This roundtable conversation explored the benefits and challenges associated with the pursuit of broader diversity in corporate Canada, evolving corporate governance practices, and what role the securities regulator should have in this evolution. The discussion is available on-demand, through the link below.


Panelists and Moderator

Judith Athaide 

Judith Athaide, P.Eng., ICD.D.

Judith Athaide is an accomplished corporate director, entrepreneur, professional engineer and certified corporate director. She brings 30 years of professional and governance experience to board discussions. A proponent of lifelong learning and continuous improvement, Judith has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), a Master of Business Administration in Finance, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. She has earned the Nuclear Governance Certificate from the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University and a Certificate in Artificial Intelligence from the MIT Sloan School of Business. She has been an assistant professor and an adjunct professor at a number of Canadian universities and is an instructor for the ICD Directors Education Program (DEP) program and an examiner for the ICD’s mock boardroom examinations.

Judith is currently serving on the boards of Computer Modelling Group, HSBC Bank Canada, New Brunswick Power (where she is the Board Lead on Enterprise Risk Management), and TriSummit Utilities (where she chairs the Healthy, Safety & Environment Committee). Her past board service includes PHX Energy Services (where she chaired both the Nomination & Governance Committee and the Human Resources & Compensation Committee), Fortis Alberta Inc. (where she chaired the Audit, Risk & Environment Committee) and Accenture Business Services.

Judith was born in Pakistan and, in addition to Canada, has lived in Bangladesh, India, and the U.S. This international experience has helped her better understand and value diversity of thought and experience. She is a sought after speaker on Purpose, Stakeholder Capitalism, Compensation, Energy, Entrepreneurship and Governance.

Bob Dhillon 

Bob Dhillon, MBA, D. Com, LLD, ICD.D.
Founder, President & CEO, Mainstreet Equity Corp.

Bob Dhillon is Founder, President & CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp based in Calgary, Alberta. Mainstreet is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:MEQ). Since going public on the TSX in 2000, MEQ has continued to grow its assets organically and its double-digit compounded annual growth rate continues today. Holdings currently consist of more than 15,440 apartments across Western Canada. Mainstreet is a strong and proud champion of affordable housing. As an immigrant himself, Mr. Dhillon is passionate about giving back to new Canadians. In 2019 and 2021, Mainstreet donated apartments to refugees from Syria and Afghanistan.

Mr. Dhillon is also the owner of National Payments, a Visa and MasterCard approved merchant-processing business for the financial services industry.

Mr. Dhillon sits on numerous boards, including the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Advisory Council for the Canada-India Business Council, the Alberta Economic Recovery Council and Invest Alberta Corporation. He has been Honorary Consul General of Belize for Canada since 1999. He published “Business and Retirement Guide to Belize (Second edition)” with Fred Langan in 2018.

Mr. Dhillon obtained his Master of Business Administration, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1998. He also holds an honorary Doctorate of Commerce from Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. In 2019, Mr. Dhillon was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada; he is also the namesake donor for the Dhillon School of Business at the University of Lethbridge. Most recently, in spring 2021, he was a significant contributor to the University of Calgary for the creation of their Sikh Studies program.

Mr. Dhillon is committed to the world community, inclusivity, and environmental, social and governance (ESG). 


Keith Martell, CPA, CA, CAFM
President & CEO, First Nations Bank of Canada and FNB Trust

Keith Martell is the President & Chief Executive Officer and a Director of First Nations Bank of Canada and of its wholly owned subsidiary FNB Trust.

He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1985 with a B.Comm. He worked with the chartered accounting firm KPMG for 10 years. From 1995 to 2000, he served the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) as the Executive Director of Finance and Fiscal Relations. He was instrumental in the creation of the First Nations Bank of Canada. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager.

Mr. Martell is a director of Nutrien Ltd., River Cree Enterprises GP Ltd. and a past director of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board of Canada, the North West Company and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. He is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) Trust Fund and a former trustee of the Primrose Lake Settlement Trust and the Flying Dust First Nation TLE Trust. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan. He was a recipient of the “Top 40 Under 40 in Canada” award in 2001 and received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan in 2016.

Originally from the Waterhen Lake First Nation in northwest Saskatchewan, Mr. Martell now resides in Saskatoon.

Sarah Raiss 

Sarah Raiss, F.ICD, ICD.D.

Sarah Raiss is on the boards of Loblaw (Chair of Pension, member Governance), Ritchie Bros (Chair of Compensation, member Governance), and Commercial Metals (Chair of Nominations/Governance, member Audit, Lead Director effective January 2022). She has served on 26 boards including as Chair of AESO, Vermilion Energy, Canadian Oil Sands, Shopper’s Drug Mart and Business Development Bank of Canada. She was President of the Calgary Petroleum Club in 2012.

Ms. Raiss was Executive Vice President of Corporate Services for TC Energy until 2011. From 2003 through 2006 she was named as Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 and recognized in the Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2015, she was named a D100 by the National Association of Corporate Directors as one of the 50 most influential corporate directors in governance and in 2020, was named an F.ICD, Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Samir Sabharwal General Counsel 

Samir Sabharwal, Moderator
General Counsel
Office of the General Counsel

Samir has been the General Counsel of the Alberta Securities Commission since June 2018 and leads the ASC’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC). The OGC provides advice and expertise to the Commission on a range of operational, transactional and policy matters. In addition, as a member of senior management, Samir assists in the formulation of the Commission’s strategic policy direction and provides advice on emerging issues, including domestic and international developments in the regulation of capital markets and corporate governance issues.

Prior to his appointment as the General Counsel, Samir was the Associate General Counsel for approximately nine years. He began working for the ASC as Litigation Counsel in the ASC’s Enforcement division, and subsequently worked in the Office of the General Counsel as Legal Counsel. Before joining the ASC in June 2005, Samir was Legal Counsel at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (now the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario), where he provided legal advice on issues related to the regulation of the financial services sector and acted as litigation counsel before tribunals, arbitrators and the courts. Samir was called to the Ontario bar in 2000, and the Alberta bar in 2004. He articled with and was an associate lawyer at Pinkofsky Lockyer in Toronto prior to moving to Calgary and joining the ASC.

Samir obtained a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Ontario in 1998.