As we previously predicted in a 2014 article, The Rise of Policy Activists?, policy activism in
Canada is gaining speed. In this year's upcoming proxy season,
a hot topic for policy activists is the potential transition to a
global low-carbon economy.
Canada is currently working towards a national
climate change plan and one of the tools being considered is a national carbon tax. If implemented, energy
companies would be required to pay a national tax on greenhouse gas
One of Suncor's shareholders, NEI Investments,
filed a shareholder proposal last month demanding that
Suncor address its long-term survival plans. In particular, it
demands that Suncor "provide ongoing reporting on how it is
assessing, and ensuring, long-term corporate resilience in a future
NEI Investments' proposal will be put to a
shareholder vote at Suncor's annual general meeting on April
28, 2016. While shareholder proposals are technically non-binding
even if they receive a majority of votes, this proposal has
Suncor's support and Suncor has even recommended that
shareholders vote in favour of the proposal.
South of the border, shareholders of Exxon –
the world's largest publicly traded oil company –
recently brought a similar proposal requiring Exxon to account
annually for the risks of climate change legislation. Exxon
objected, arguing that the proposal was vague and that Exxon
already published carbon-related information for shareholders on
its website. The US Securities and Exchange Commission, however,
found that Exxon's public disclosures do not appear to
"compare favorably with the guidelines of the proposal"
and ordered the shareholder resolution to be put
to a vote at Exxon's annual meeting this May.
While the specifics of Canada's climate policy
remain to be seen, it is clear that a climate change plan is on the
agenda for Canada and other countries around the world. Policy
activism will continue to rise as investors become increasingly
conscious of the risks of climate change.
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Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions or GST.
While most are well aware that the sale of a business is generally a complex process, even sophisticated business owners are surprised by just how much cost and effort is required to complete the sale.
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