The Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and the Toronto Board of Trade hosted William H. Donaldson, former chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, for a keynote luncheon on April 12, 2006. Carol Stephenson, Dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, introduced Mr. Donaldson. His address, "The Challenge of Achieving Effective Corporate Governance in an Increasingly Competitive Global Environment," proved a timely contribution to a topic that continues to be front and center in both the Canadian and U.S. business communities.

Donaldson discussed the changes in U.S. business practices mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed in 2002. He also talked about the differences between the U.S. and Canadian regulatory frameworks and how they were positioned to face the new global challenges for security market regulation. Donaldson described what he thought were the future challenges for global investing in particular the inevitability of adapting to an international financial reporting system.

In answering questions that followed his speech, Donaldson commented that Canada does not necessarily have to adopt U.S. governance standards. "There is going to be a need to pick and choose the best governance methodology that fits as wide a group of people as possible on a worldwide basis," he said. But he added that Canada will face a challenge participating in the global debate through its fractured structure of thirteen provincial and territorial securities commissions. "I think that Canada needs to get its house in order in terms of a unified approach to some of the governances issue here and to have a unified front that it can present to international councils to be able to say 'this is what we think is right' and see how much influence it can bring."

For a full transcript of his speech, please click here.

The Toronto audience of nearly three hundred people included top business people, government securities regulatory officials, academics, and public policy makers. Media coverage included ROB-TV and business reporters from the Globe and Mail and the National Post.

This program coincided with the launch of our One Issue, Two Voices publication
on corporate governance.