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WATSON Webinar: Prepare to Transition – What the New Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations Act Means For Your Organization’s Governance

November 26, 2021

Posted in: WATSON Views, WATSON Webinars

Prepare to Transition – What the New Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations Act Means For Your Organization’s Governance

Did you hear? The new Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (the Act) came into force in late October 2021, reflecting an important move to modernize the corporate legislation for not-for-profits in Ontario.

Organizations incorporated under Ontario provincial legislation have three years to come into compliance (sigh of relief), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about the transition now. With such diversity in the sector, the new legislation will have varying impacts, and this can be an opportune time to evolve your organization’s governance structure and approach, or to make long needed changes in these key areas.

Join WATSON’s Natasha Himer in conversation with fellow governance expert Teresa Budd as they host a webinar shedding light on key changes and answering your questions.

In this session, you will:

  • Learn about key provisions in the new Act
  • Think about the transition from a governance perspective
  • Hear lessons learned from similar transitions in the BC and federal jurisdictions
  • Explore what your board should be thinking about now as your organization prepares for this transition

Date: November 30, 2021

Time: 9:00 – 9:50 am PST / 12:00 – 12:50pm EST

Cost: FREE

Register here:

Change comes with a lot of questions, and we want to get to them all. Send us yours in advance at




Good Governance is Not About Rules, Votes and Control

October 29, 2021

Posted in: WATSON Views

Have you, like me, been glued to the Rogers saga playing out in the media?

As a lawyer, mediator and governance advisor who has worked with hundreds of boards across sectors, including many controlled companies, it is sad to witness the dysfunction that has been laid bare for all to see.

The parties are headed to court next week to determine the legal board composition of Rogers Communications Inc. By the time this kind of action is taken, you know that something has gone sorely wrong in governance functioning.

This story reminds us that while legislation and regulatory schemes are an important part of the governance framework, good governance is more than compliance, and more than rules, votes and control.

Common vision, strong relationships, objective and rigorous decision-making processes – what have long been seen as the “soft side” of governance – are, in fact, fundamental to strong governance functioning.

Governance is about how people work together for the company to achieve success. It requires:

  • Alignment on vision and strategies, and on the values that underpin how things are done.
  • Healthy decision-making processes, particularly around potentially touchy subjects such as CEO evaluation.
  • Mature leadership, good communication, and pro-active team building to build consensus and cohesion among board members, and between the board, management and owners. Dynamics and culture rule.

This so-called soft side of governance is hard work and requires intentionality, not just from the chair, but from all members of the board and, in the case of a controlled company like Rogers, from the controlling ownership group.

Once the legal decisions are made, there will still be a lot for the Rogers board, owners and management to sort out for governance to become effective again.

I am confident there is a way forward despite this, assuming there is a presiding will to act in the best interests of the company (yes, I know it’s their duty).


WATSON Becomes a BC Benefit Company

October 28, 2021

Posted in: WATSON Views

WATSON is thrilled to be part of the first wave of BC companies to become a Benefit Company. This further reinforces WATSON focus to work with organizations who enhance Canadian society.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 26, 2021

Canada’s largest multidisciplinary governance and leadership firm doubles down on its focus on promoting social value and sustainable business for Canada.

Vancouver, British Columbia – Watson Advisors Inc. (WATSON)–Canada’s largest multidisciplinary governance and leadership firm–announced it has officially become a Benefit Company. Benefit Companies, like B Corps, help redefine the role of business in Canadian society by keeping
for-profit companies accountable to conduct their business in a responsible and sustainable way and promote one or more public benefits

“We’ve always been a values-based firm,” said WATSON CEO and Founder Elizabeth (Liz) Watson, QC. “We take our purpose statement, ‘to enhance the capability of our client organizations so that they can contribute positively to Canadian society and beyond,’ very seriously. Benefit Company status is our way of further formalizing our purpose and being accountable to deliver.”

WATSON has a history of supporting organizations who are committed to a more sustainable society in the areas of leadership and governance. Its client base ranges from not-for-profit organizations who serve society to public and private corporations who incorporate social conscience and environmental impact into their corporate mission. Internally, WATSON supports employees to bring their authentic selves to work, strives for a caring and equitable work environment, and matches employee contributions to charitable causes.

“We’re now more accountable for measuring our success through service to the community and not just profits.” Liz Watson added. “And we’re excited and proud to be part of the first wave of BC companies to become a Benefit Company.”

About WATSON –

Established in 2005, WATSON has helped hundreds of organizations establish or improve their approach to governance and leadership. We are Canada’s largest multidisciplinary governance and leadership firm (with offices in Vancouver and Toronto) and work with Canadian corporations from coast to coast. We work closely with the clients in six distinct areas: recruiting director and executive talent; establishing effective governance structures and practices; guiding boards in their role in CEO and human capital oversight; elevating board and director effectiveness; and providing approachable and practical governance education and peer learning.

About Benefit Company

In June 2020 BC Finance Minister Carole James announced that B.C. has introduced historic and collaborative legislation to become the first province in Canada allowing companies to create a corporate structure that includes giving back. A benefit company is a for-profit company that commits to conducting its business in a responsible and sustainable way. British Columbia is the first Canadian jurisdiction to implement legislation to establish benefit companies.


Client Contact:

Rachel O’Connor

Practice Lead | Leadership & Performance


Media Contact:

Suzie Cho

Practice Lead | Academy & Learning



October is Women’s History Month

October 26, 2021

Posted in: WATSON Views

The theme this year is Women Making History Now. As a woman-founded, woman-led firm, WATSON is proud to champion history-making women every day, and this month we’re taking the chance to reflect on the progress we’ve made, and set our sights on the triumphs that are still to come.

Looking Back

Women’s History Month is celebrated in October to commemorate Canadian women being granted the right to vote on October 18, 1929. Get inspired by seeing just how far women have come.

A Seat at the Table

According to Statistics Canada, Canadian women increase representation in the boardroom, particularly in the government, utilities, and finance sectors. Canada and France are leading the pack globally with the highest share of women on their boards.

There are still plenty of seats to fill. As of July 2021, women represent just 23.4% of all directors at TSX companies disclosing the number of women directors on their boards, per Osler’s Diversity Disclosure Practices report. And there’s progress to be made in the executive suite too; did you know that no Indigenous women have ever been CEO of a Fortune 500 company?

Here’s What We Can Do NOW

Continue our work to inform the perception of what makes a great leader and elevate more women into leadership positions. These links might help:

For WATSON, Women’s History Month is significant not only because of the number of women at our firm but also because it reminds us that our work matters. This month, join us to celebrate the achievements women have made as we continue to push towards gender equality in and out of the boardroom.



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