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.

The day a nation became transformed by its heroes.

Precisely 90 years ago today in a field in France, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps began their legendary assault on German forces in one of the pivotal clashes of the First World War -the battle of Vimy Ridge.

My grandfather and several great uncles were there in the thick of it. They were among the lucky ones who fought that day and eventually returned home to marry and raise a family. For thousands it was their last day. Generations are fortunate when they can produce valiant young men and women who willingly answer their country’s call.  But as for our leaders, we are often less blessed. For it is still the folly of those in charge, who command from the bunkers of grandiose ego and narrow thinking, that is the cause of the carnage that is also the legacy of too many generations.

My grandfather seldom talked about the “Great War” and never once sought any special praise or recognition for what he had done. It is said that the Germans holding the ridge could not believe how the Canadian troops just kept coming and coming. Little did those scruffy kids from Saint John and Timmins, Toronto and Montreal, Calgary and Moosejaw know that on that cold Easter Monday of April 9, 1917, as they climbed and took a hill among the ceaseless mud below and the thundering roars of death above, they also helped a country ascend into history as a nation in its own right. It would be one now that produced its own heroes, and fought under its own flag and set the stage with those values to produce an offspring that was to become known as the Greatest Generation. 

Canada’s brave young men and women continue this tradition of service in Afghanistan, where since 2001, 116 members of the military and one diplomat -and their heartbroken but boundlessly proud families- have made the ultimate sacrifice.  

Many dates live in the dusty books of history.  The valor of the Canadians who took a hill in France and transformed their nation on this date in 1917 lives in the hearts of Canadians forever. 

Originally posted April 9, 2007.  Updated April 9, 2009.