Category Archives: Views

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Financing the recreational marijuana industry

Early retail investor euphoria is giving way to a broader set of capital sources as companies emerge in this new Canadian market. The next year will reveal a lot about the future of funding for these businesses
By Robert Olsen
With Andrew Luetchford
August 3rd, 2017

“ Responsibility is a heavy responsibility!” —Cheech Marin, “Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie” (1980) “ Our intent is to legalize, regulate and restrict. There needs to be reasonable restrictions on making sure that we keep it away from kids…. We … Continue reading

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The retirement conundrum

There are times when paying severance to a retiring senior executive is warranted. But as a standard practice it raises questions and scrutiny. The good news: boards have options to help avoid the problem
By Ken Hugessen
With Guillaume Poulin and Parvathi Subramanyam
August 3rd, 2017

Severance payments are typically provided to executives in the event of a termination without cause. However, some companies also make severance payments to senior executives upon what looks to be a retirement. These situations often raise questions regarding the rationale … Continue reading

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When the OSC comes knocking

No company wants one. Few ever expect them. But—as we highlight elsewhere in this issue—the rigour of Ontario Securities Commission investigations is rising. If you find yourself a target, will you know what to do?
By Poonam Puri
With Andrea Burke
August 3rd, 2017

In April, staff of the Ontario Securities Commission commenced headline-grabbing regulatory enforcement proceedings against Home Capital Group Inc. (TSX:HCG) and three of its current and former executives. OSC staff alleged that these parties failed to disclose a material change in … Continue reading

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Enterprise risk: where does a board’s role end?

Lack of management objectivity makes it incumbent on boards to go beyond their traditional oversight role in several key areas of enterprise risk management. The payoff: reduced exposure and better performance
By John Caldwell
August 3rd, 2017

Ordinarily, the delineation and segregation of responsibilities between management and the board is relatively straightforward. While boards ultimately carry the over- arching responsibility for the enterprise, management is tasked to manage the affairs of the business. In practice, this generally … Continue reading

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Passive investing meets active investor relations

What is the role of investor relations and shareholder engagement—from the IRO to the CEO—in an age of passive investing strategies?
By Chaya Cooperberg
August 3rd, 2017

At the annual Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) conference this past June, by the swollen, flooded shoreline of Kelowna, B.C., investor relations professionals gathered to discuss the most pressing issues facing equity capital markets today. A theme emerged. On panels … Continue reading

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After the AGM: a compensation committee reset?

With the heavy lifting over for another year, the next few months serve as an opportune time to review mandates and renew committee relationships
By Ken Hugessen
With Erin Poeta
May 19th, 2017

The annual general meeting represents a time of change for boards, as long-serving directors step down and new individuals join on. This time of renewal may also suggest a need for boards and committees to reflect on their mandates. For … Continue reading

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The eyes have it

Make no mistake. Institutional investors are watching—and taking aim—at companies with less-than-stellar governance practices. That, in turn, puts IR professionals in the line of fire
By Chaya Cooperberg
May 19th, 2017

If it wasn’t already clear, both passive and active institutional investors continue to demonstrate to public companies that they care about good governance. Over the past year, the world’s three largest asset managers—BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street—have bulked up their … Continue reading

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The EBITDA fallacy

Securities regulators in Canada and the U.S. are taking a harder line on non-GAAP disclosures and this columnist agrees, calling for an “old school” approach where profit and cash flow reflect reality
By John Caldwell
May 19th, 2017

The photo of the individual who concocted the concept of EBITDA should be prominently displayed on a wall of shame in every commercial centre worldwide. EBITDA, in case you’ve forgotten, is short for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. … Continue reading

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Directors with devices: driven to distraction?

Tablets, cellphones and laptops make us all more efficient—until those same tools, coupled with social media, become a distraction and an intrusion. Why it pays to be smart with smart tech
By Richard Leblanc
May 19th, 2017

You can be sure PwC partner Brian Cullinan learned his lesson after his distracted-tweeting gaff at the Academy Awards in February. But we should study it as a teachable moment for directors, too. Cullinan, you’ll recall, was in charge of … Continue reading

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SPACs: a slow climb toward legitimacy

Special Purpose Acquisition Corporations have struggled to gain solid traction in Canada, but recent successes point to their long-term potential as an alternative to traditional private equity financing
By Robert Olsen
With Andrew Luetchford
May 18th, 2017

One of the poorer acronyms in the corporate finance world is SPACs, or Special Purpose Acquisition Corporations, as they are properly called. SPACs have been around since the early ’90s, but only in their most recent form in Canada since … Continue reading

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Second opinions still the exception

Last fall’s Yukon court ruling on fairness opinions for M&A transactions created shockwaves. However, so far the impact on subsequent deals in the rest of Canada has been more subtle than severe
By Poonam Puri
With Patricia Olasker
May 18th, 2017

You’re in the middle of a significant M&A deal, negotiating with a buyer of your Canadian public company. And, just when you thought you had your banker’s success fees under control, out comes a Canadian court decision suggesting that you’d … Continue reading

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Spot prices: a spotty indicator, at best?

Amid all the enthusiasm about the mining sector’s bounce-back year in 2016, a large, dark cloud remains—all the action has been short-term. Long-term prices and the long-term outlook have barely moved at all
By Robert Olsen
With Kevin Becker
March 2nd, 2017

Ask most in the mining world and they would say 2016 was a pretty darned good year. News reports began by pointing to evidence of a market recovery or, if nothing else, an end to the doldrums of a market … Continue reading

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Mine safety: could your company be criminally liable?

Mining companies must aim for zero tolerance on worker health and safety violations or face criminal consequences, including corporate probation and jail time for management
By Poonam Puri
March 2nd, 2017

In November 2009, three miners descended nearly half a kilometre below ground to refurbish a mine shaft at Bachelor Lake gold mine in northwestern Quebec. What the miners didn’t know was that water had been filling the recesses of the … Continue reading

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The problem with independent directors

Director independence is essential to protect boards—and shareholders—from governance failure. Yet compromised independence is rampant. Here’s what we can do about it
By Richard Leblanc
December 19th, 2016

“The board chair is owned by the CEO,” the directors told me after the regulator called me in to assess their board. I wasn’t surprised. I have not assessed a board when there was not at least one director, and … Continue reading

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One-time awards: use sparingly

A well-designed compensation framework should negate the need for most one-time awards. Where exceptions arise, they must be handled with care
By Ken Hugessen
With Christine Vinette and Brian Lees
December 19th, 2016

One-time compensation awards can be a useful tool for boards to attract and retain key talent. While such awards have drawn considerable scrutiny of late, shareholders and proxy advisers are not always opposed to their use. This article explores how … Continue reading

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