Category Archives: Views

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Faster approvals no sure thing

The federal budget’s sweeping revisions to Canada’s environmental laws hinge largely on accelerating project assessments and approvals. But will First Nations’ rights trump Ottawa’s intent?
By Sandra Odendahl
June 17th, 2012

There was a time when environmentalists would be delighted to see the word “environment” mentioned even a few times in a federal budget. Well, they are a little less happy about seeing that word in this spring’s edition. Bill C-38, … Continue reading

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Putting investors on the couch

Hiring a third party to do an investor perception study isn’t everyday stuff. But it can be invaluable for IR strategy at critical times when management has to know exactly what shareholders think
By Chaya Cooperberg
June 17th, 2012

To many companies, commissioning an investor perception study can seem like a waste of money. Why pay a consultant to ask shareholders what we can ask them ourselves? After all, the reasoning may go, company management and investor relations teams … Continue reading

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Saying no to social media

Now here’s a contrarian view: for many companies, communicating with shareholders through social media may be a massive waste of time
By Michael Salter
March 15th, 2012

This is the new orthodoxy: social media is an irresistible force and it’s increasingly being used to communicate with existing or prospective shareholders. If your company’s investor relations officer (IRO) isn’t on board, she or he is a technophobe who … Continue reading

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Water: your next risk factor

Once just a concern for certain users, water management and water risks are fast becoming every company’s business. Canada is not immune—though our bounty could be a strategic edge
By Sandra Odendahl
March 15th, 2012

In recent years, it’s seemed like the only environmental issue getting any attention from the business community is climate change. However, a newer environmental risk is emerging in business conversations and in business publications—water. Every product and almost every service … Continue reading

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How to see it coming

The failure to understand and evaluate the interconnectivity and compounding effects of risks is a major flaw in the way many boards oversee enterprise risk
By John Caldwell
March 15th, 2012

While board members from time to time may lay awake thinking about a so-called “Black Swan” event that could cause catastrophic damage to the company for which they serve as directors, we would assert that far fewer directors share sleepless … Continue reading

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Hired today, gone tomorrow

Boards are spending more time than ever scrutinizing CEO compensation. Yet many fail to do the same when it comes to exit packages. Don’t be caught out: as with celebrity prenups, it pays to plan ahead
By Ken Hugessen
March 15th, 2012

Boards today spend a lot of time and energy on establishing appropriate compensation arrangements for the CEO—including base salary levels, incentive plan design, and performance measures and targets. Often though, not enough time is spent on provisions triggered on various … Continue reading

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Lead from the front

When it comes to moving targets in governance, few things are moving faster today than executive compensation. Here are 10 key areas to address to ensure your board stays ahead of the rules
By Richard Leblanc
March 15th, 2012

The governance of executive compensation by boards continues to be in the headlines. Regulation has emphasized the independence of compensation committees and consultants, similar to what Sarbanes-Oxley did for audit committees and auditors. However, given the occupy movements and wealth … Continue reading

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Cash out? Or double down?

Cheap debt has played a big part in pushing Canadian commercial real estate prices back to pre-recession 2007 levels. For a growing number of companies, the question is how to play the next round?
By Robert Olsen
March 15th, 2012

Credit is the lifeblood of commercial real estate. Real estate is a capital-intensive industry so debt, and lots of it, is typically required to support real estate transactions. Fortunately, the Canadian commercial real estate sector has benefited from a healthy … Continue reading

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Who’s doing your review?

There's no board governance review like an external review done by a qualified assessor—provided they take the right steps
By Richard Leblanc
December 19th, 2011

A few memories stand out from my engagements as an external board reviewer. One was the dominant CEO who kept interrupting me to tell me how effective he and “his” board were, despite the results of my assessment (the board … Continue reading

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Fight! For IR, it’s the ultimate test

Investor relations is never more important than in a hostile takeover bid or proxy contest. Having just lived through the experience, our columnist weighs in on the value of preparation and quick action
By Michael Salter
December 19th, 2011

The telephone call came from a New York City hedge fund manager, minutes after market close on a Wednesday in mid-August, 2011. He wanted to know our response to the hostile takeover bid for MOSAID Technologies Inc. that Wi-LAN Inc. … Continue reading

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Shades of grey in green

“Ethical oil” is just a slogan. But it’s hard to argue that we shouldn’t consider the widest possible range of environmental and social issues when making policy decisions
By Sandra Odendahl
December 19th, 2011

The countdown is on as I write. Unless things change, the European Union is set to vote in December on a directive that would discourage the use of oil from Canadian oilsands by classifying it as one of the highest … Continue reading

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The risk behind the reward

The CSA has amended its executive compensation disclosure guidelines. Issuers must now disclose details about compensation risk and compensation committee expertise; they might also want to rethink their disclosure overall
By Ken Hugessen
December 19th, 2011

Again this year, the Canadian Securities Administrators has issued amendments to executive compensation disclosure guidelines with compliance required for the 2012 proxy season. Following a more comprehensive set of changes in 2008, these latest amendments are more limited, with a … Continue reading

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Mining: A regular money magnet

In a lot of sectors these days, financing isn’t so easy to come by. But not mining. There, thanks to strategic investors and bullish pricing forecasts, the deals continue to flow
By Robert Olsen
December 19th, 2011

What could be worse for a cyclical sector such as mining than the headlines of the past few months? Sovereign debt crisis spreading to the U.S., negative earnings reports, continued global central bank cuts, depressed consumer confidence, China’s slowing demand … Continue reading

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Secrets of succession

Boards’ compensation duties don’t end at setting CEO pay—they also include putting in place the right people and plans for the CEO’s replacement
By Ken Hugessen
October 7th, 2011

Developing and executing a plan for internal CEO succession is one of the critical challenges boards face. The importance of effective succession planning is widely recognized by institutional shareholders and industry analysts; among others, the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance’s … Continue reading

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Facing up to the future

Are we expending too much time, money and goodwill on "easy" environmental initiatives like swapping light bulbs and using cloth bags, when it’s massive change we need?
By Sandra Odendahl
October 7th, 2011

Opinion polls are again showing that public concern for environmental issues is slipping in relation to economic concerns. At one level, given the fragile state of the economy, it’s understandable. People are always inclined to put short-term needs for food, … Continue reading

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