Sustainable development encompasses the concept of sustainability, which is only possible in a continuous improvement context, which also requires open communications and transparency. Therefore, over the years, the Fonds has developed and regularly updated management policies, standards, guidelines and procedures to strengthen and consolidate its governance.
The United Nations Global Compact
The Fonds de solidarité FTQ adhered, in 2009, to the United Nations Global Compact. The goal of this initiative is to bring companies together to advance ten universal principles. These principles are grouped into four major areas: human rights, labour standards, anti-corruption and environment. See the GRI Index for more details.
Transparency and competence go hand in hand with sound governance. To that end, in addition to the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, the Financial Assets Management Committee, the Audit Committee, the Valuation Committee and the Ethics Committee charters that were already in place, the Fonds adopted during the last financial year new charters for its Investment Special Boards.
The four Special Boards (and the governing bodies of the Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ, for investments in real estate projects) are responsible for authorizing development capital investments of less than $5 million and for recommending to the Board of Directors investments of $5 million or more (except for the mining portfolio, for which the limit is $1 million). The members of these Special Boards come from civil society, and the majority of them must not be related to either the Fonds or the FTQ.
This approach allows us to choose investments in a context where the complementary skills of our professionals and individuals external to the Fonds are taken into account.
The Board of Directors, which comprises 17 members, relies on the Management Committee of the Fonds, which is made up of six members, to directly and competently manage the Fonds’ day-to-day operations.
The Fonds management is responsible for designing and maintaining internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. It must periodically evaluate their design and effectiveness.
The Autorité des marchés financiers
Pursuant to the Incorporation Act of the Fonds, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) inspects the internal affairs and activities of the Fonds to verify, among other things, compliance with this Act; in addition, it carries out other functions in regards to the Fonds, which is a reporting issuer as defined in the Securities Act.
In addition to being subject to the AMF’s inspection, the Fonds decided to apply Canadian Securities Regulation 52-109 respecting certification of financial disclosures in its six-month period and annual reports. The Fonds is not required to comply with these strict principles; it chose to do so on a voluntary basis, with a view to complying with governance best practices.
It is with this in mind that the Fonds implemented several years ago a financial compliance framework called Confor. This framework covers the controls that provide reasonable assurance that the financial information prepared and reported by the Fonds is reliable and that its financial statements are prepared in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles.
Twice rather than once
The Fonds de solidarité FTQ undergoes a complete financial statement audit process twice a year, as provided for in its Incorporation Act. This process is under the responsibility of two external audit firms: Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton and Deloitte.