Tracking the push for a ‘say on pay’ in Canada

By April 20, 2009News

‘Say on pay’ looks set to be the big story for the 2009 Canadian proxy season. This year, for the first time shareholders have given majority support to proposals asking that they have an annual say in how the companies they own compensate their senior executives. Other publicly-traded companies have also begun to voluntarily adopt a non-binding, advisory vote on executive compensation ahead of their annual meeting dates, as highlighted in the table below.

This is a quite an achievement, considering this issue was formally brought to Canadian companies just last year. (For the complete text and voting results of each proposal, please visit SHARE’sShareholder Resolution Database.)


Feb 26 National Bank MEDAC  Y  N
Feb 26 Royal Bank Meritas  Y  Y
Feb 26 CIBC Meritas/MEDAC  Y  Y
Mar 3 Bank of Montreal Meritas/MEDAC  Y  Y
Mar 3 Bank of Nova Scotia Meritas/MEDAC  Y  Y
Mar 10 Laurentian Bank MEDAC  Y  Y
Mar 10 TMX Group Meritas  Y  N
Mar 11 Sun Life Financial Meritas  Y  N
Mar 18 TD Meritas/MEDAC  Y  N
May 7 Potash Meritas  Y  N
May 7 Manulife MEDAC  Y
May 13 Power Corp MEDAC
June 3 Bombardier MEDAC

*current as of April 17, 2009


All companies that have adopted a ‘say on pay’ have indicated that they will move to implement a shareholder vote in 2010. Eyes now turn to the outcomes at the remaining Canadian companies facing a vote on executive compensation, and to potential regulatory action to ensure all shareholders have a ‘say on pay.’