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Toward meaningful change.

This magazine is set to arrive on your doorstep in October, shortly after the deadline for comment on the OSC's proposed new governance rules. Though I'm writing this editorial prior to that deadline, I'm willing to assume that not a lot has changed so far on the governance front. Change is generally a slow process, and this is unlikely to be an exception.

There's no question that changes have to be made: in boardrooms across the country, in the management structures and control structures of many companies. As we explain in one of our features on Bill 198 and the OSC's new rules, these new rules and legislation will go a long way in addressing the issues at hand.

But, of course, rules mean nothing without good governance, and good governance can only be pushed so far with rules. It's also important to have sound and principled directors, who not only understand the rules and can apply them effectively with financial savvy, but who also understand how to go beyond those rules to create a more effective governance structure throughout the organization.

To improve the available selection of truly effective directors, the new Directors College was created as a joint venture of The Conference Board of Canada and the Michael G. DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. It hopes to supply that solid governance expertise for the future. Read about the program in our feature "In the director's chair" in this issue.

Change also needs to come in Canada's regulatory bodies. As the Wise Persons Committee to Review the Structure of Securities Regulation in Canada noted, many Canadians want to see a national regulator, rather than the 13 disparate organizations we have spread across the country. The need for such a body was placed in sharp relief when the B.C. regulators stood, alone, in opposition to the OSC's proposed new rules when they were first released for comment earlier in the summer.

Whether we end up with a national regulator or not, we certainly need better enforcement practices. Managers and directors need to understand that if they break the rules, there are consequences. Thus far, this hasn't been demonstrated by the OSC and it must be if any meaningful change is going to happen.

Meaningful change is already happening in Canada's government reporting practices and airport security. CMA Michael McLaughlin has kept an eye on both issues as vice-president and CFO of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and the interim executive director of CCAF-FCVI. Find out how he is helping to institute change in both areas in this month's profile, "For the public good."
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Title Annotation:from the editor
Author:Colman, Robert
Publication:CMA Management
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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