Are regulatory limits to shareholder democracy contributing to lag in Alberta-incorporated companies?

By April 20, 2017Press Release

Toronto, ON, April 20, 2017 A new report from the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) reveals that companies incorporated under the Alberta Business Corporations Act (ABCA) lag their peers on the issues of gender diversity, corporate governance, and disclosures of information related to climate change when compared to companies incorporated elsewhere in Canada.

While shareholders across the rest of the country and in the US have the opportunity to file shareholder proposals aimed at addressing such issues, Alberta-incorporated companies have received zero proposals from shareholders this year. Shareholder proposals are an important tool for shareholder democracy and can help improve overall company performance. However, shareholders of Alberta-incorporated companies face regulatory impediments specific to Alberta making it effectively impossible for shareholders to file resolutions to be voted at company’s annual meeting.

“The threshold for filing shareholder proposals under the ABCA is far more onerous than in any other province as well as under the federal Canadian Business Corporations Act (CBCA),” says Kevin Thomas, Director of Shareholder Engagement at SHARE. “A simple amendment to the regulations under the ABCA could align Alberta with the rest of North America and allow shareholders to engage more fully with the companies they own.”

The report, “Off the ballot: Why Alberta’s business laws need to catch up on shareholder democracy, compares 45 Alberta-incorporated companies on the TSX-Composite Index to the remaining 205 Canadian companies in order to determine their performance on board and executive gender diversity, corporate governance measures and disclosure of carbon emissions.

“While there are many reasons for each company’s individual performance, a dialogue between a company and its investors can help remedy problem areas,” adds Thomas. “Currently, shareholders of Alberta-incorporated companies are denied a valuable means of carrying out such dialogue.”

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Notes for Editors

Interviews available with Kevin Thomas, Director of Shareholder Engagement
Contact: Norah Murphy, 604.695.2026 or nmurphy@share.ca

 

About SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research & Education)

SHARE is a Canadian leader in responsible investment services, research and education for institutional investors. Since its creation as a non-profit organization in 2000, SHARE has provided proxy voting analysis, shareholder engagement, education, policy advocacy, and practical research on issues related to responsible investment. SHARE’s clients include pension funds, mutual funds, foundations, faith-based organizations and asset managers across Canada. www.share.ca / @share_ca

 

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For more information please contact: 

Norah Murphy, Communications Coordinator, SHARE
Telephone: (604) 695-2026
nmurphy@share.ca