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 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver are another chapter in the unique history that Canada is writing on the world stage — sometimes in bold letters, sometimes in subtle poetic cadence.

The world’s top athletes pushed and soared, twisted and glided for 17 days and gave the world a spectacular performance.  But in the end, it was Canada’s team that set the record, claiming more gold medals than in any Winter Olympic Games in history. The host country pulled in 14 first place medals, compared with 10 for Germany and 9 for the United States.  To top it off, there was the Canada – U.S. final that saw two evenly matched emblematic titans of hockey go into sudden death with Canada claiming the gold there, too.  Joannie Rochette, the figure skater from Quebec, won the bronze and the hearts of millions everywhere for her amazing grace in the face of such a sorrowful loss.  She became the world’s adopted symbol of what the Olympic spirit means in terms of dedication and commitment. The opening and closing ceremonies showcased unsurpassed talent that revealed to the world the potential of a land blessed with natural beauty and endowed with an energetic and creative people.  And they came from every part of the globe to make Canada their home.

All this was a fitting and long overdue reminder to those who may have forgotten that Canada can compete with anyone and win.  Canada will never shine in the swagger competition.  Its voice is sometimes understated in either of its official languages.  Its institutions of democracy sometimes seem a little tepid compared with those of the U.S., and way too much power is concentrated in the hands of its prime minister.   One does not get many Barack Obamas rising in Canada’s political system.  Nor would a Sarah Palin ever get beyond a small town council chamber. But ask Canadians to build a railway through a mountain and span a continent with it, or charge them with taking a hill called Vimy Ridge in the battle torn fields of First World War France; tell them you want to create a health care system that is universal and serves all citizens equally, or enlist them in a war against terror in Afghanistan  — and you will see an uncompromising and unparalleled spirit that gets the job done like no one else.  One can never presume to know with precise certitude on what side of a struggle Providence sits.  But when you have a Canadian on your side, there’s never any doubt.  And success is always a lot closer because of it.

The Games got off to a shaky start, but, overall, their organization was a masterful display of management at its best.  Canada’s Olympic committee never lost sight — as many organizations often do — of its central mission.  In this case, that was the competition of the players and teams and the ease by which audiences could partake in the excitement.  Well done.

The Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver are another chapter in the unique history that Canada is writing on the world stage — sometimes in bold letters, sometimes in subtle poetic cadence.  It speaks a language of tolerance, understanding, respect for the individual and, above all, of how precious the gift of freedom is to be able to compete, excel, and, if not to prevail, at least to leave a better mark with a head held high.

That’s a gold medal performance that is Canada’s gift to the world.