Below are key takeaways from ISS’ recently released 2020 Canada Proxy Season Review. The full report is available to institutional subscribers by logging into ISS Link then selecting the Governance Exchange and its Report Center tab and to corporate subscribers by logging into Governance Analytics then selecting the Governance Exchange and the Report Center tab.
- COVID-19 impacts: Regulators extended deadlines for filings, and most companies held virtual-only or hybrid shareholder meetings. As economic activity waned due to the pandemic, the volume of M&A transactions fell well below the historical average, and there was only one proxy contest.
- While median CEO pay increased, support for say-on-pay resolutions remained strong: Median CEO pay increased by six percent year-over-year. Although there was a slight decline in the volume of say-on-pay resolutions on ballot this proxy season, average support levels increased from 91 percent to 93 percent year-over-year.
- Shareholder proposals declined overall: Shareholders of Canadian companies filed fewer shareholder proposals than in 2019, with notable declines in proposals relating to board and compensation matters. There was, however, an increase in shareholder proposals related to gender diversity.
- Proposed regulatory changes: The Ontario Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce, established by the Ontario government to review and modernize Ontario’s capital markets, released its recommendations for comment.
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