On April 9, 2009, a Private Members Bill tabled by Ontario MPP Laurel Broten asked the OSC to review corporate reporting standards on environmental, social and corporate governance matters. The Bill, which received all-party approval, required that the OSC report its findings by January 1, 2010 along with ‘recommendations for next steps to enhance disclosure’.
The OSC’s Report, released in December 2009, notes that the mandate it developed for its consultation included environmental and corporate governance disclosure but, due primarily to time constraints, excluded any consideration of corporate social reporting.
As to recommendations from the OSC, there are two on corporate governance. First, that it conduct a review of issuer compliance with existing corporate governance disclosure requirements and second, that it continue to work with staff at the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) to provide issuers with ‘an overview of the corporate governance disclosure requirements and practical guidance on how to apply those requirements’.
The Report also includes two recommendations on corporate disclosure of environmental matters. They are: that the OSC provide additional guidance on compliance, ‘both in general terms and possibly on an industry-specific basis’, and that training sessions be provided to relevant OSC staff regarding environmental disclosure.
In its Report, the OSC notes that a review of social disclosure has been undertaken by the Hennick Centre for Business and Law at York University. This review, like the OSC’s, included a consultation paper and roundtable discussion. A final report is due out in the near future.
SHARE participated in each of these processes. In the context of the OSC consultation, we recommended that issuers be provided with more detailed parameters for environmental and social disclosure, such as those incorproated in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and applicable supplements. We indicated that such disclosure would provide investors with the comprehensive and comparable information they need to assess the environmental and social impacts of the businesses in which they invest. SHARE also recommended that corporate governance disclosure requirements be updated to take the current informational requirements of shareholders into account.