There is no substitute for a culture of integrity in organizations. Compliance alone with the law is not enough. History shows that those who make a practice of skating close to the edge always wind up going over the line. A higher bar of ethics performance is necessary. That bar needs to be set and monitored in the boardroom.  ~J. Richard Finlay writing in The Globe and Mail.

Sound governance is not some abstract ideal or utopian pipe dream. Nor does it occur by accident or through sudden outbreaks of altruism. It happens when leaders lead with integrity, when directors actually direct and when stakeholders demand the highest level of ethics and accountability.  ~ J. Richard Finlay in testimony before the Standing Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy, Senate of Canada.

The Finlay Centre for Corporate & Public Governance is the longest continuously cited voice on modern governance standards. Our work over the course of four decades helped to build the new paradigm of ethics and accountability by which many corporations and public institutions are judged today.

The Finlay Centre was founded by J. Richard Finlay, one of the world’s most prescient voices for sound boardroom practices, sanity in CEO pay and the ethical responsibilities of trusted leaders. He coined the term stakeholder capitalism in the 1980s.

We pioneered the attributes of environmental responsibility, social purposefulness and successful governance decades before the arrival of ESG. Today we are trying to rebuild the trust that many dubious ESG practices have shattered. 


We were the first to predict seismic boardroom flashpoints and downfalls and played key roles in regulatory milestones and reforms.

We’re working to advance the agenda of the new boardroom and public institution of today: diversity at the table; ethics that shine through a culture of integrity; the next chapter in stakeholder capitalism; and leadership that stands as an unrelenting champion for all stakeholders.

Our landmark work in creating what we called a culture of integrity and the ethical practices of trusted organizations has been praised, recognized and replicated around the world.


Our rich institutional memory, combined with a record of innovative thinking for tomorrow’s challenges, provide umatached resources to corporate and public sector players.

Trust is the asset that is unseen until it is shattered.  When crisis hits, we know a thing or two about how to rebuild trust— especially in turbulent times.

We’re still one of the world’s most recognized voices on CEO pay and the role of boards as compensation credibility gatekeepers. Somebody has to be.

Thank you, Martha. You raise an important voice — an ethical voice — on this subject.  I’ve been faulting Mayor Tory for his involvement with Rogers, especially at this time. He claims it’s fine — no conflict according to him.  Conflict of interest and appropriateness in the actions of public officials doesn’t work that way, Mr. Mayor.  It’s about perceptions, and you’re not the one who gets to decide about the appearance of conflict, especially when you’re making huge dollars from that relationship. If Mayor Tory were totally confident about the appropriateness of his role with Rogers, he would long ago have disclosed his compensation.  Hiding it leads others to be suspicious. The overriding issue is, and must always be, whether the appearance of such a relationship meets the test of public confidence and trust. Forty years studying, advising and commenting on ethics in the public arena, and around the boardroom table, persuades me this does not.

Rogers does a lot of business with the City of Toronto. Being the mayor of Toronto is already more than a full-time job.  There’s no room for a gig like this with a private company like Rogers, and certainly not one that is so highly remunerative. It’s just another wrinkle in a Shakespearean saga that has brought a storied company into disrepute. And now Toronto has to become tainted by it?

Martha’s should not be the only public voice on this subject.  The voice of ethical choices is a voice that is too often missing from Canadian boardrooms.