Category Archives: Handbook

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The price of admission

Despite the ebb and flow of GDP, Canada admits roughly the same number of immigrants each year. Would the country and new arrivals alike be better served if we tied admission rates to the state of the economy?
By Ian McGugan
December 16th, 2013

This year, as it does every year, Canada will import enough people to fill a mid-sized city. And this year, as it does every year, the federal government will assure us that the annual flood of immigrants helps build a … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Handbook

Who’s got your back?

Corporate Canada is becoming an increasingly risky place. Directors and boards may not be keeping up with issues surrounding liability and insurance—threatening their companies and themselves
By Cooper Langford
December 16th, 2013

There are two news stories from recent months that are—or at least should be—top of mind in governance circles these days. The first is the railway disaster at Lac-Mégantic, Que., in which a 72-car train derailed and exploded killing 47 … Continue reading

Posted in Handbook, Top Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

CEO hiring: a process, not an event

The hard work involved in landing a new chief executive doesn’t end with the hire. Boards must then give the new CEO his or her best shot at success
By Susan Mohammad
December 15th, 2013

Contract signed? Check. Markets notified? Check. Handshakes all around? Check. Once the time-consuming and stressful search for a new CEO is over, many boards might be tempted to sit back and sigh with relief. Temptation is fine—as long as you … Continue reading

Posted in Handbook, Top Stories | Tagged , , , , ,

Less talk, more discussion, better decisions

Attention management: you’ve got a great group of directors, with highly relevant expertise and backgrounds. It’s time you turned to them more as a sounding board on critical issues
By Beverly Behan
December 13th, 2013

One of my favourite questions in conducting board interviews involves asking the directors, CEO and other company executives to tell me about the balance of presentation time versus discussion time in their board meetings. In other words, roughly how much … Continue reading

Posted in Handbook, The Boardroom | Tagged , , , ,

Risk rises to the top

A new survey of corporate secretaries sheds fresh light on Canada’s C-suites and boards
September 16th, 2013

They have an eye on the board, the ear of management and know where most of the bodies are buried—so it’s a bit surprising that corporate secretaries aren’t surveyed more often when it comes to corporate governance practices and priorities … Continue reading

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Chairing isn’t chairmanship

Anyone can run a meeting. It takes a certain kind of leadership to run a successful board
By Cooper Langford
September 16th, 2013

Here’s a simple question: What is the most important skill the chair brings to a board of directors? Answer: The ability to lead so that the decision-making process is both efficient and effective. While there’s no doubt today that individuals … Continue reading

Posted in Handbook | Tagged , , , ,

OSC hears it—and responds

It took some stakeholder activism, but now board diversity and shareholder democracy, including reform of the proxy voting system, are high on the Ontario Securities Commission’s priority list for this fiscal year
By Celia Milne
September 16th, 2013

Shareholder and stakeholder pressure may already be a way of life for listed companies. But over the summer, the Ontario Securities Commission got a taste of the same medicine when it came to setting its line-up of priority issues and … Continue reading

Posted in Departments, Handbook, Top Stories | Tagged , , , , , ,

Wanted: new brooms with new ideas

The next generation of central bankers are arriving on the scene just as their predecessors’ policies seem to have run their course. How much will they have to change to reignite economic recovery?
By Ian McGugan
September 16th, 2013

Mark Carney is gone and Ben Bernanke is going, but the Great Recession is still an unwelcome guest in many living rooms. So long as it lingers, the next generation of North American central bankers will have to ask some … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Handbook, Top Stories | Tagged , , , , , ,

Advice on the side

Here’s a trend that should spread: the appointment of special advisers to CEOs and special advisory committees to boards. No legal commitments, plenty of available insight
By Paul Brent
June 19th, 2013

Neil Tait’s company-mandated retirement from the Bank of Montreal in the spring of 2001 lasted less than one day. Tait, BMO’s senior vice-president of Asian banking and architect of its expansion into China, had decades’ worth of experience and knowledge … Continue reading

Posted in Handbook | Tagged , ,

It’s on: .goldrush meets .headache

Is your company ready for the great generic top-level Internet domain land rush?
June 19th, 2013

Internet marketers and trademark lawyers are alerting senior corporate managers and, by extension, savvy directors, about coming, potentially dramatic, changes to the world of generic top-level domains on the Internet. The changes, which are due to kick in late summer … Continue reading

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Is this all there is?

Some economists are calling low GDP growth the “new normal.” Before dismissing them, optimists should look carefully at what the numbers say about where we’ve been and where we’re going
By Ian McGugan
June 19th, 2013

We used to know what an economic recovery looked like. First would come a recession—usually short and sharp. Then a vigorous rebound would inevitably follow. GDP growth could be counted on to rocket past 5% a year as businesses and … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Handbook | Tagged , , , ,

Directors wanted: operational experience required

It’s a common lament at many boards: we can’t find new directors with CEO-level operational experience. It’s also mostly hogwash. A much bigger problem: tired, safe, word-of-mouth recruiting practices
By Robert Thompson
April 15th, 2013

It isn’t a lack of talent, but a myopic viewpoint that limits Canadian boards when it comes to adding new directors. That’s the take of corporate governance expert Beverly Behan. Her remarks come at a time when yet another report, … Continue reading

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Loonie’s letdown for real

Don’t let the last of the Canadian-dollar bulls dissuade you—the loonie’s value is falling and it’s not finished yet. But don’t worry. A lighter dollar doesn’t necessarily mean a lighter order book
By Ian McGugan
April 14th, 2013

The beaver is cute and the maple leaf packs a certain whole-earth appeal but, when it comes to national symbols, it’s the loonie that provides the highest-profile gauge of how our national economy is faring. Over the past decade the … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Handbook | Tagged , ,

Conflict goes up the chain

New SEC rules on conflict-mineral disclosure put scrutiny on sourcing
By Celia Milne
March 1st, 2013

Does your company use conflict minerals? Where do your suppliers source their ingredients? If you haven’t heard that question a lot yet, you soon will—now that management and boards in many sectors are tracking use of minerals that might fund … Continue reading

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Directors, it’s time for the talk

When it comes to emerging market operations, high-profile governance failures don’t just fire up the regulators. They give boards impetus to press their own CEOs: could it happen to us?
By Robert Thompson
February 25th, 2013

To Carol Hansell, the most fundamental issue facing the directors of Canadian energy, mining and resource companies isn’t happening in the boardroom, but in countries in Africa, South America and Asia. Hansell, a senior partner in capital markets and corporate … Continue reading

Posted in Handbook, Top Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
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