REVIEW OF CAMSR TERMS OF REFERENCE
The principal objectives of the recent review of the Board Committees’ terms of reference included simplifying and standardizing the language, formatting of all Committees’ terms, and clarifying each Committee’s mandate.
Following preliminary reviews of the terms of reference of the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR) in 2011 by CAMSR, the Nominating, Governance and Ethics (NGE) Committee and by a subcommittee of CAMSR in 2012, the revision process of the CAMSR terms of reference continued with a redrafting of the terms by the Secretary-General, the Committee Chair and the Senior Steward, and then with a review by CAMSR and the NGE Committee in 2013. An updated revised draft was presented to the Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee in September 2013 and to members of CAMSR on December 12, 2013.
In response to interest expressed by members of the University community, CAMSR, at its meeting of December 12, 2013, agreed to hold face to face consultations with members of the community in order to receive input and comment on possible revisions to the CAMSR terms. Three open meetings were held on March 13, 2014, and attended by members of CAMSR and approximately 40 members of the McGill community.
Additionally, from February 17 to March 17, CAMSR invited members of the McGill community to submit written input on revisions to the CAMSR terms of reference. A total of 13 responses were received and reviewed by CAMSR at its meeting of April 15.
Following a review of all verbal and written submissions, members of CAMSR agreed to propose a number of further changes to the terms of reference to broaden and clarify the Committee’s mandate with respect to advising on socially responsible investments. These changes were subsequently reviewed by the Nominating, Governance and Ethics (NGE) Committee and approved by the Board of Governors on May 22. The revised terms are available here.
In summary, the revisions:
a) add a provision for CAMSR to review policy issues concerning social responsibility, and make recommendations to the Board with respect to such policy matters;
b) enable CAMSR to undertake other activities including:
i. undertake studies of socially responsible investment policies and best practices;
ii. review information, data, analysis, reports and publications touching on issues of social responsibility.
iii. follow-up with a company concerning a matter which was the subject of the Committee’s review or study, including proposed changes in corporate practice;
iv. support shareholder resolutions recommending changes in a company’s management practice.
c) expand the definition of social injury to include grave, injurious impact, which the activities of a company is found to have on natural environment;
d) simplify and clarify the terms to reflect the actual sequence of steps taken when considering submissions of concern;
e) provide for the Committee’s ability to accept submissions of concern in either hard or electronic format which are capable of being authenticated against their respective constituency;
CAMSR is thankful for all of the input it received from members of the McGill community during this review process. CAMSR will meet in the 2014-15 governance year to deal with matters that fall within its mandate.
We look forward to having the Committee meet and assume its new role and responsibilities, which will allow it to play a more active part within the overall framework of the Board.