22 April 2021 – By Katherine Wheatley, Kevin Thomas, & Anthony Schein
Following productive dialogue with the company, we are pleased to announce that the board of directors of the TMX Group (which owns the Toronto Stock Exchange) has agreed to jointly support a resolution on reconciliation and Indigenous relations to TMX shareholders filed by SHARE on behalf of the Atkinson Foundation.
The Atkinson Foundation’s proposal asks the company to commit to develop internal programs and policies on equity, diversity, and inclusion including Indigenous employees; to review procurement from Indigenous-owned businesses and establish procurement objectives; and to engage with Indigenous organizations to identify standards of practice and frameworks for this work.
Although the company initially issued a proxy circular with an opposition statement from the company, subsequent discussions allowed us to agree on a revised proposal which has support from both the company and SHARE. It will go to a vote at the company’s annual meeting on May 12th.
This will be the first time an Indigenous reconciliation or diversity proposal has ever been jointly endorsed by the board of directors of a Canadian company, and it marks important progress for the Canadian financial sector.
Through the Reconciliation and Responsible Investment Initiative (RRII), a partnership with the National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association, SHARE has prioritized engagements with companies to take up Call to Action 92 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report, which is directed at the corporate sector in Canada.
Within the financial services sector, leading firms have set positive standards that merit broader emulation. For instance, Bank of Montreal and Scotiabank have each achieved “Gold” level certification under the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’s Progressive Aboriginal Relations Program (PAR).
In recent months, following dialogue with SHARE, both Great-West Life and Sun Life Financial Inc. have made significant positive commitments: Both companies will provide additional disclosures on Indigenous relations, and Sun Life is now a PAR-Committed company. SHARE’s shareholder engagement team is engaging with other firms with similar requests.
TRC Call to Action 92 is directed at Canadian businesses. TMX Group’s willingness to report to shareholders on Indigenous relations in the future is a clear and positive answer that prioritizing and setting clear objectives related to reconciliation and Indigenous economic advancement is now best practice within the financial sector.
To investors: We urge you to join the call to action and vote YES at TMX Group.
To Canadian businesses: This is a good day to answer the call. Contact SHARE today to discuss how your company can implement these measures and take meaningful steps to advance reconciliation.
Katie Wheatley, Manager, Reconciliation and Responsible Investment Initiative
Sarah Pineda, Communications & Marketing Strategist
National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association, NATOA
firstname.lastname@example.org / 647-785-5579