Award Categories & Criteria

  1. Enterprise Risk Management
  2. ESG and Sustainability Governance
  3. Diversity and Inclusion 
  4. Strategic Planning, Oversight and Value Creation by the Board
  5. Overall Corporate Governance

Award Submission Criteria

For each category, you must submit a short executive summary which outlines achievements and addresses each specific criterion and questions as outlined in the submission brief, with a focus on how the organization has managed to succeed despite these challenging times. The summary must include how the company/program feels it is unique and successful in this area. This should include a narrative of not only what was accomplished but also “how” and “why.” The judging panel requires a clear and coherent explanation of what differentiates the submission from its peers. The executive summary is limited to a maximum of 750 words.

Although it is not required, if you wish to include supporting materials to support the submission, judges will need specific references to direct them easily to the specific sections/pages of your materials that support your submission. Be as specific as possible to make the material easily searchable, accessible, and relevant.

Drawing on concrete and specific examples over the last governance year with the impact of the pandemic, please address all the questions for each of the following categories for which you are making a submission. .

1. Overcoming Enterprise Risk Management

Enterprise risk management (ERM) is a management tool that encompasses the methods and processes used by organizations to manage risks related to the achievement of their objectives. By identifying and proactively addressing risks, companies can improve performance and protect and create value for shareholders. As such, an ERM program should not be premised on risk avoidance.

The board’s responsibility for risk oversight and management’s responsibility for enterprise risk management should be clearly delineated. The entire board is ultimately responsible for overseeing risk and would benefit from drawing on the board’s full resources. Boards should play an active and direct role in risk assessment - Risks associated should include any event or condition that could materially affect long-term performance or cause material destruction of asset or shareholder value. The process is unlikely to become broadly accepted or embedded in the board’s annual agenda without the support and sponsorship of the board’s chair and the chief executive.

The judging panel will look for a highly engaged level of functioning by the board e.g. deep dives and other due diligence into the company, its capital structure, the industry and markets to understand and address inherent risks and opportunities, with a lens on how it has dealt with recent challenges.

All applications should answer the following questions:

    • How is the Board demonstrating commitment to a dynamic and robust risk management environment?
    • How did the Board respond to challenges and implement contingency measures?
    • How did the Board ensure key crisis messages and implementation of mitigation strategies were communicated to the organization?
    • In each case, how did its governance professional support the Board in its activity?

      The information above is adapted from CPA Canada's  A Framework for Board Oversight of Enterprise Risk by John E Caldwell, CPA,CA.

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      2.  ESG and Sustainability Governance

      ESG and Sustainability Governance considers the board’s role in providing effective oversight of the organization’s social and environmental performance, impacts, and risks. This category considers the board’s responsibilities for the company’s ESG policies, and for ensuring ESG is effectively addressed in the corporate strategy. It includes ongoing efforts to ensure the board has the competency it needs to fulfill its ESG oversight responsibilities. As ESG Governance is expanding to Purpose Governance, it also considers the board’s role in oversight of the organization’s purpose, including the ways it benefits its stakeholders and the broader society.

      Submissions in this category will be evaluated on the board processes in place that instill and support an ESG culture within the board and across the organization and that demonstrate effective board ESG oversight. Submissions should aim to describe the core attributes of ESG Governance that are in place, especially in the time of COVID and other systemic challenges.

      All applications should answer the following questions:
      • What ESG and Sustainability governance practices does the board have in place?
      • How has the Board enhanced its understanding of social and environmental trends and improved its oversight of ESG risks going forward?
      • How did the Board respond to calls for racial and social justice and Indigenous reconciliation in the context of an ongoing pandemic?
      • What practices has the Board implemented in relation to its oversight of climate change risks and opportunities?

        3. Diversity and Inclusion

        Entrants will be evaluated on the diversity and inclusion of their board of directors, including consideration and disclosure of: a diversity policy; measurable diversity objectives and regular progress reporting; director term limits and turnover; diverse board and committee chairship; diversity incorporation within the board evaluation and director identification and selection processes; the objective application of a director competency and skills matrix; the verifiable existence of an organizational culture of inclusion; and other leading practices, such as the verifiable existence of a robust and implemented talent management strategy, director interviews, restrictions on the number of boards on which directors serve, and the recruiting of diverse candidates and first-time directors not previously known to the board.

        Overall diversity and inclusion at the board and senior management level will be given specific attention, as will strategies and timelines for increasing all forms of diversity within the organization. Judges will look for connections between diversity and changes in organizational outcomes.

        All applications should answer the following questions:

        • How did the Board address diversity and inclusion of diverse minorities within its own composition, that of senior management, and within the company as a whole?
        • What are the measurable objectives for gender and racial diversity on your Board of directors?
        • How does your Board renew? What is your Board’s approach to director term limits and/or age limits to encourage renewal?
        • How does your Board recruit independent directors to ensure the search is both broad and deep to uncover candidates who are unknown to incumbent directors and management and who are members of underrepresented groups (or of visible/ethnic minority?) 

          4. Strategic Planning, Oversight and Value Creation by the Board

          Entrants will be evaluated on the role of the board in value creation and strategic oversight, the board's setting standards for a value creation process and how the board leads management to develop an optimal value creation plan.
 The company’s strategy is often one of the key determinants of shareholder value; therefore,  the importance of effective board oversight in terms of strategy must be clear.

          Shareholders ultimately hold the board accountable for long-term value creation – strategy should form the basis for this. Management needs the board’s long-term perspective to offset daily pressures such as dynamic markets and quarterly earnings expectations to focus on the near term.

          An annual review and approval of strategy is both too little and too late for responsible oversight of this critical function. Boards should provide input and have visibility into the strategy, including planning, development, execution, monitoring and assessing strategic risk.

          Judges will assess the boards input on the planning process and will look for the demonstration of collaboration with, and guidance to, the executive team throughout the following four phases:

          • Preparation;
          • Strategy Formulation;
          • Execution and;
          • Monitoring.

          The judging panel will look for evidence of an engaged board and evidence of a business model that can consistently produce earnings and positive cash flow.

          All applications should answer the following questions:

          • How did the Board demonstrate leadership and oversight during the pandemic?
          • How did the organization adapt to COVID 19? Did it assess/alter its strategy? What was the role of the Board?
          • How is engagement with stakeholders integrated into the organization strategy and business practices?
          • How did the Board assess the organization’s performance during the pandemic?
          • Describe the organizational culture. How is organization culture established, reinforced and supported? How does the Board oversee the organization’s performance in this area?
          • Describe the influence the organizational and Board cultures had in navigating the pandemic and its impact across the organization.

            The information above is adapted from CPA Canada's A Framework for Board Oversight of Strategy by John E Caldwell, CPA,CA & Ken W Smith, Ph.D., MBA, ICD.D, C.M.C.

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            5. Best Overall Corporate Governance

            This category will honour organizations that demonstrate on ongoing commitment to overall excellence in corporate governance, which adds value for the organization and all of its stakeholders. Submissions in this category should describe the overall governance structure and systems and articulate their processes for continuous improvement.

            This is open to all sectors (public companies and non-publicly traded entities, including: crowns, co-operatives, private companies, credit unions, not-for-profit and charitable organizations, hybrid organizations).

            In all cases the applications should answer the following questions:

            • What steps are taken to have the right Board for your organization in times of crisis?
            • Provide specific examples of what your Board is most proud of accomplishing this past year?
            • Explain how the organization’s overall governance structure and processes benefited the organization during the world pandemic?
            • Provide examples of other stories you can share that show how your Board overcame challenges and showed resiliency during this time.


            For EGA inquiries, please contact:

            Letricia Fullerton
            Manager, Administration, Education & Special Projects
            416-921-5449 ext. 313

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