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Governance, Compliance and Risk

The Conference Board of Canada conducts a wide-range of services and research in support of organizations across Canada in the governance, compliance and risk (GCR) space. Our approach focuses on understanding the structural and regulatory context for GCR with a deep understanding of the human dimensions of effectiveness in this space. We know that the roots of effective governance, strong cultures of ethics and compliance and effective risk management reside with individual actions, expectations and behaviours.

Governance for us involves the actions, decisions and behaviours of the board, but also the interactions of the board with senior executives, stakeholders and shareholders. Our focus is on supporting boards of directors to navigate the increasingly complicated set of roles and responsibilities they have to help them focus on the areas where they will have the most impact and drive successful and long-term performance.

A key support for governance lies in the organizations approach to compliance. Compliance with internal and external laws, policies, procedures and regulations is the baseline expectation for successful organizations. Today organizational leaders know they must not only comply with the rules, they must instill within their organization a culture of integrity and support this culture through the creation of avenues of disclosure and discussion so that questions are raised before ethics breaches occur.

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) has risen in the past ten years to become one of the most pressing issuesfor corporations today. An organization’s ability to identify, measure, manage, monitor, review and report risks has become business crucial—being able to effectively and cost-efficiently develop ERM systems and process has become a challenge for ERM professionals. The Conference Board explores ways to better predict and manage risks by leveraging people, processes, and technology so that organizations may effectively operate and remain competitive in the Canadian market.

The Conference Board of Canada fosters thought leadership in the GCR space through our executive networks, research and advisory services, webinar series, director education through the Director’s College, and through various conferences and events.

Executive Networks

Our Executive Networks give members the opportunity to participate in facilitated, closed-door discussions with true peers from a cross-pollination of public and private sector organizations from across Canada. Members also benefit from The Conference Board of Canada’s unparalleled access to a broad range of expert speakers. We have three executive networks: the Strategic Risk Council (SRC), the Corporate Ethics Management Council (CEMC), and the Council for Excellence in Canadian Crown Corporations (CECCC), operating in the GCR space.

Upcoming Executive Network Meetings

  • Council for Excellence in Canadian Crown Corporations
    October 15–16, 2015 in Toronto ON
  • Corporate Ethics Management Council
    November 3–4, 2015 in Toronto ON
  • Strategic Risk Council
    November 4–5, 2015 in Ottawa ON

Advisory Services and Research

The Conference Board of Canada offers a wide range of research services with access to in-depth studies and independent reports on relevant topics. It also offers custom research services from small, short-term research projects to large-scale research investigations.The Conference Board uses its research expertise to conduct special studies on specific issues to assist leaders.

The Governance, Compliance and Risk team provides independent research and analysis on a wide range of emerging trends and governance issues. Results can be for exclusive use, or disseminated to a wide audience, according to the needs of the clients and funders. From board evaluations to risk management assessments,  we offer a practical and solutions-oriented approach to help executives understand key issues and identify solutions.

Our area of expertise include:

  • Benchmarking reports
  • Governance structure assessments
  • Board evaluation
  • Evaluation of public disclosures
  • Customized board development sessions


The Conference Board of Canada runs a governance webinar series which focuses on key issues boards of directors are contending with in the oversight of Canadian organizations. This is a monthly series which features different issues and key areas of development for boards and the senior executives that work with them. We have had considerable success in attracting excellent speakers who have been able to share their work and perspective with the Conference Board's national consumer base.

Upcoming Webinars:

  • Independent Directors in the Family Business: New Perspectives to Improve Corporate Governance
    Presented by Bill Sheffield, Gordon Pitts, and Margaret-Jean Mannix
    September 24, 2015 at 3:00 PM EDT
  • Corporate Governance 2.0: Getting Back to the Basics
    Presented by Guhan Subramanian
    October 2, 2015 at 1:00 PM EDT

Recent Webinar:

  • Cyber Security in the Boardroom: Increasing your Board’s Cyber Literacy
    Presented by John Adams and Darren Knight
    August 25, 2015

In addition, we also offer webinars to our executive network members as a value-add to their membership at no extra cost. These webinars cover topics that are affecting senior executives in enterprise risk management as well as ethics and compliance.

The Directors College 

The Directors College is a joint venture between The Conference Board of Canada and the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. The Directors College provides Canada's original—and only—university accredited directors’ education program in Canada. The experience with The Directors College is  unique. The programs recognize  both sides of directorship—the “technical and structural” (rules-based) side and the “cultural” (principle-based and behavioural) side. This raises the bar for professional standards and the dynamic relationship between corporate governance and corporate social responsibility. We recognize the importance of having prepared and insightful directors who have the courage to ask important questions and the ability to collaborate in the boardroom.

Chartered Director Program

The signature program is delivered in five modules with a variety of  engaging lectures, interactive working sessions, and case studies. The program is residential, maximizing your opportunities to network and learn among peers.

Audit Committee Certified Program

This specialized program enables you to perform effectively on board audit committees. The program is taught in two sequential parts.

HR and Compensation Committee Certified Program

This specialized program is an exceptional opportunity to learn how the board’s HR and compensation committee aligns HR processes, risk, and culture to an organization’s business strategy.

Conferences and Events

For almost fifty years, The Conference Board of Canada has provided senior decision makers from public and private-sector organizations with opportunities to share ideas on operations and strategies, learn about next and best practices, and explore practical business solutions to the challenges faced by Canadian business leaders. We have a long history of organizing events in the GCR space. A selection of upcoming conferences is presented below.

Upcoming Programs in Governance, Compliance and Risk

Stewardship Review

Image of the Stewardship Review Cover Download the latest Stewardship Review (PDF)

Contact Us

For more information on how you can participate in our Governance, Compliance and Risk initiatives, or to request a guest invitation to a network meeting, contact us at 

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