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Special Report

Corporate Governance - Part 2

Canadians are more than just a little interested in how companies they work for and invest in are being run.

'Everybody is in a state of self-examination'

Boardrooms are finally beginning to change after a year of focus on corporate governance, writes Janet McFarland

After more than a year of intense focus on corporate governance, Canada's boardrooms are showing signs of concrete change.

BC Gas sets governing standards

Company honoured for innovative risk management

As a conservative pipeline and utilities operator, BC Gas Inc. has long understood that its shareholders tend to be risk-averse types, seeking steady earnings growth and regular dividend payouts.

The board's toughest challenge - peer evaluation

The toughest job for a chairman is to evaluate the performance of individual directors.

Stock option plans can be effective tools in moderation

Institutional investors have been fighting hard for appropriate compensation tied to performance criteria, while actively promoting the need for proper accounting and governance rules to protect shareholders' interests

Independent directors are key to proper governance

Creating a structure to ensure that directors are fully independent of management is step one — and the most important step — on the journey to superb corporate governance.

My plan to improve corporate governance in Canada

At the corporate level, there are eight features of governance systems that can be enhanced to improve the quality of governance of Canadian corporations.

New tools required to appraise quality of directors

Good governance promotes strong, viable and competitive corporations

It's time for just one securities regulator for Canada

The one area where our capital markets have a significant deficiency is in the lack of one securities regulator for Canada.

Dual-class voting structure under microscope

A dual voting structure might suit a number of Canada's tightly controlled public companies, but many view it as unfair and favour a U.S.-style one-share, one-vote system.

Consultation process will determine rules

Canadian securities regulators are now examining this country's patchwork of rules to determine if stricter regulatory requirements would benefit the rest of corporate Canada.

Accountants, auditors adopt new rules

The traditionally accepted model of business philanthropy simply is not enough now to label a company as 'a good corporate citizen'

Social expectations of companies have increased dramatically over the past decade.

Independent directors key to effective board

Purdy Crawford, chairman of AT&T Canada Corp. and director of various other companies, advocates boards composed of people with diverse backgrounds and expertise, including "a fair number of women," and supplemented by director education.

Executive compensation under scrutiny

Markets are down and inflated executive compensation packages are heading with them, according to corporate governance trend-watchers.

Executives play pivotal role in determining good governance

Commitment to excellence, honesty and good communication with senior executives and — perhaps most important — an open and candid relationship with the board of directors are cited as key to good leadership.

Social expectations have increased for firms

The traditionally accepted model of business philanthropy simply is not enough now to label a company as 'a good corporate citizen'

Social expectations of companies have increased dramatically over the past decade.

Employee loyalty enhanced through programs

Employee loyalty is vital, but many Canadian firms are lagging in offering flexible, diverse benefits and in hiring new employees, says one consultant.

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