Meritas Mutual Funds Successfully Brings 'Say on Pay' to Canada

    KITCHENER, ON, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - Meritas Mutual Funds, one of Canada's
leading providers of Socially Responsible Investments (SRI), is announcing
today that several of Canada's banks have indicated their intention to provide
investors with an advisory vote on executive compensation, an action which has
become known as "Say on Pay".
    Meritas Mutual Funds, in conjunction with SHARE, first brought the issue
of advisory votes on executive compensation to the Canadian investment
community in 2007 through dialogues with Canada's largest banks and followed
by shareholder proposals asking for a vote. "At the time, we asked that this
vote be advisory, so that it would not ultimately determine executive pay, but
would provide clear and consistent shareholder feedback on the decisions that
bank boards make about compensation", says Gary Hawton, CEO of Meritas Mutual
Funds, "Our view is that if the directors do not hear from the shareholders
they represent on executive pay, they will not be able to take these views
into account in their decisions."
    Evidence from jurisdictions that have mandated the advisory vote - the
U.K., Australia and New Zealand require that it be on the ballot - is that
boards in those jurisdictions are making ever greater efforts to align
compensation with performance, to provide clearer disclosure of pay to
shareholders and to be open with shareholders who ask questions about
    "We are pleased to have been at the forefront of this issue in Canada and
to have received such strong support from others in the investment community
through their votes in favour of the Meritas proposal," said Hawton. "The
moves today by these companies have provided their respective shareholders
with a greater opportunity for dialogue on executive pay," adds Hawton. "These
companies have also shown their continued leadership in governance issues by
providing an example for all of Canada's publicly traded companies and we
expect that this will lead to the advisory vote being afforded to all
investors in all Canadian companies in the near future."

    About Meritas Mutual Funds

    Meritas Mutual Funds is devoted solely to creating and marketing socially
responsible investments. For individual investors, these are available under
the brand name Meritas Mutual Funds through investment advisors across Canada.
Committed to all three aspects of socially responsible investing, Meritas uses
positive and negative screening guidelines, shareholder activism and community
development investments to help people align their investments with their
social, ethical and environmental concerns.

For further information:

For further information: Gary Hawton, Chief Executive Officer, Meritas
Mutual Funds, Tel: (519) 624-6767, E-mail:; Laura O'Neill,
Director of Law and Policy, SHARE, Tel: (604) 408-2456, E-mail:

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