SNC Lavalin settles shareholder class actions in Ontario and Quebec for $110M

By Ross Marowits

THE CANADIAN PRESS

MONTREAL _ SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has moved further from its troubled past by settling two class action lawsuits worth a total of $110 million over allegations of misleading investors about its activities in Libya.

The company said it will contribute $88 million to the settlement of the cases in Ontario and Quebec. The rest will come from its insurance, said Michael Robb of Siskinds LLP, the lead lawyer of the claim. The agreement is subject to court approval.

The settlement amount is far from the $1.25 billion initially claimed by investors who bought SNC-Lavalin shares before they plunged in 2012 after the company announced an investigation into millions in undocumented payments and said its 2011 earnings would be less than expected.

“The reason $110 (million) is the number in the settlement is that having gone through litigating the case vigorously for six years and gone through a lot of evidence and procedure, that’s the amount the parties negotiated as a fair and reasonable compromise of this case,” Robb said in an interview from London, Ont.

The net amount to be distributed will be calculated after legal fees are deducted, which Robb said would be “significantly less than half” the total settlement.

The court will determine the appropriate amount and set up a distribution procedure at hearings expected to take place this fall in Ontario and Quebec.

The proceeds will be distributed to investors from anywhere in the world who provide proof that they purchased SNC-Lavalin shares between November 2009 and February 2012.

The lawsuits were among the consequences of alleged payments made by SNC-Lavalin to members, associates and agents of the regime of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to secure contracts for infrastructure projects in Libya.

The company said it has since initiated a series of significant changes and enhancements to reinforce its ethics and compliance procedures.

“The class action lawsuit settlement is another step in resolving our legacy issues and de-risking the future of SNC-Lavalin,” the Montreal-based firm said in a news release.

SNC-Lavalin also signed an administrative agreement under the federal government’s new Integrity Regime in 2015, reached an agreement with the Commissioner of Canada Elections and with the Ordre des ingenieurs du Quebec in 2016, and reached a settlement with Quebec’s Voluntary Reimbursement Program in 2017.

Industry analysts called the settlement a positive outcome for the company.

Yuri Lynk of Canaccord Genuity said the settlement amount is “manageable” given that the company had $647 million of cash on hand at the end of March.

“We believe, based on our conversations with investors, that the expectation for a settlement was between $150 million and $250 million,” he wrote in a report.

“This is the penultimate step towards putting the legacy issues behind the company and removes yet another overhang.”

Lynk said the final step will be the settling of outstanding federal charges against the company through a deferred prosecution agreement. He pegged that settlement will likely cost around $300 million.

Derek Spronck of RBC Capital Markets added that momentum is building for everything to come together for SNC this year.

“The class action lawsuits are being settled, the federal government is moving ahead with a DPA regime, the Champlain Bridge is tracking to targets, and the company has won several multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects.”

Premier Group appoints Mo Kaur to President and COO

Canadian based Managing Underwriting Agency, Premier Group (Premier Marine Insurance and Premier Canada Assurance Managers) announced today that Mo Kaur will assume the role of President and Chief Operating Officer.

Kaur succeeds Troy Moreira, who held the position since late 2001.  Moreira has decided to step away from the day to day leadership of Premier.  He will remain with the company as an executive advisor to Kaur assisting with the transition, and will also serve as a Director on the Premier Board.  “Premier has been a great success story” Moreira said “what started as a single-product Marine MGA has developed into a multi-class specialty underwriting agency with offices throughout Canada and the US.”  “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the helm of Premier and thankful for all the wonderful people I have had the opportunity to work with and meet in that time”.

Kaur has been a part of the Premier team for 6 years, serving as Senior Vice President for the past 5 years, contributing to all aspects of the organization.   Kaur brings 25 plus years of insurance experience to the role, beginning her career in London (UK) for Royal Insurance, and serving in various underwriting and management positions with insurers in the Western Canada marketplace.   On the academic front, Kaur has an honors degree in Mathematical Studies, University of London, UK and her ACII (Associateship Chartered Insurance Institute) London UK.

“Working with Troy has been one of the most dynamic and rewarding roles that I have undertaken in my career” said Kaur.  “I am honored and excited to be given the opportunity to continue to expand the Premier business with brokers across Canada and the US, and continuing to grow our long-standing relationships with our insurer partners in Canada and the London market.”

About Premier –

Founded in 1990, Premier is one of Canada’s largest MUA / Managing Underwriting Agencies, with a broad product offering spanning:  Professional Liability, Environmental, Construction, Specialty Commercial packages, Specialty Personal Lines, and the founding business of Marine Insurance.

Head-quartered in Vancouver, Premier has branch locations in Toronto Ont,  London Ont,  Laval Quebec,  San Diego CA, Seattle WA,  Annapolis, MD and a subsidiary company (Pacific Coast E&S) in Santa Rosa, CA.   Premier employs over 150 employees, and administers a portfolio of well over 130,000 policies each year.

Learn more at www.premiergroup.ca

The Co-operators Chief Client Officer announces retirement

The Co-operators announced the retirement of Executive Vice President and Chief Client Officer, Rick McCombie, effective the end of 2018.

McCombie joined Co‑operators General in 1976 and spent most of his career leading exceptional Client Engagement, Claims, Distribution and Service strategies across The Co‑operators group of companies. Rick’s achievements are illustrated in the record-breaking client growth, high Net Promoter scores, and the number of industry-leading JD Power client satisfaction awards.

“Under Rick’s guidance and pursuit to deliver a superior client experience, along with his tenacity and commitment to always place our clients in the centre of our decision making and planning, The Co-operators has thrived,” says Rob Wesseling, President and CEO. “He’s a true champion of our company values, community involvement and people, and is an active member in the community. Rick’s contributions and true co-operative spirit will be felt across the industry and within our organization for many years to come.”

Rick’s career highlights also include 10 years of profitable growth in the Southwestern Ontario Region while under his leadership. And, he led the Co‑op Auto Coalition in the early 1990s. He’s also an active member in the community, chaired both the London/Middlesex and Guelph/Wellington United Way chapters and currently sits on the United Way Board and Cabinet.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $41 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.  The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

Tips On The Right Way To Fire Employees In Ontario

Article by Andrew N. Vey

Dismissing an employee is not a pleasant experience. But whether you like it or not, this is one task that most businesses will encounter at some point. As President Trump reminded us again this week after reports surfaced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson learned of his firing by way of a twitter post, there is both a right way and a wrong way to conduct employee terminations.

Ontario courts have recognized that employees are particularly vulnerable at the time of dismissal. As such, it is vital that employers carefully plan for any termination of employment. While there is no fixed formula for this process, here are a few tips that employers should bear in mind when approaching their next employee termination:

  • Ensure confidentiality and privacy: No employee should be forced to endure their dismissal from employment in a public setting. As such, be sure to keep the details of an employee’s termination as private as possible. Other than those directly involved, no other workers should learn of the employee’s dismissal prior to the event or be provided with any more than minimal information (i.e. person X no longer works with the company) after the dismissal. Termination meetings should be conducted in a private and discrete location away from the ordinary course of business. In addition, holding a termination meeting later in the day may also help avoid any unnecessary embarrassment for the worker.
  • Be brief and to the point: In so much as possible, try to keep termination meetings short. Termination meetings are by their very nature charged affairs so the longer they go on, the more potential there is for stress and confrontation. It can be helpful to prepare a brief script in advance to make sure you remember the topics that need to be covered in an efficient manner.
  • Have a witness and make notes: It is helpful to have at least two members of management, or human resources, attend at any termination meeting. This proactive step can be useful in the event that there is a future dispute as to what occurred in the course of the dismissal meeting. Essentially, the second employer representative is there to act as a witness. Additionally, as soon as the termination meeting is concluded, both employer representatives should immediately draft, sign and date notes as to what transpired in the termination meeting.
  • Be ready for the inevitable question “why?”: In almost every termination meeting, the employee in question will want to know why they are losing their job. While most provincially-regulated employers in Ontario are not required to give a reason when dismissing an employee without cause, as a matter of best practice, it is generally advisable to provide an answer. Not knowing why they are out of work will not only frustrate the employee but may precipitate legal action which could otherwise have been avoided. In giving a reason for the dismissal, be truthful and succinct.
  • Prepare a termination letter: There can be a lot of details involved in the dismissal of an employee. Issues range from severance to benefits coverage to accrued vacation (just to name of few). Having a written termination letter will help to ensure that all this information is addressed clearly and concisely for the employee and avoid misunderstandings about the employer’s position. It is common that employees will not hear or remember events in a termination meeting past the words “we’re letting you go” so having a written record of the terms of the dismissal can be of vital importance to the employee.
  • Be sensitive: When ending a worker’s employment, try to be as supportive and considerate as possible. Listen to their feedback and watch the employee’s mood and reactions. If they seem particularly distraught, offer to call a family member or cab to help them get home. Likewise, you can offer to have their effects packed up and sent to them if they don’t want to collect things personally. Where possible, avoid escorting the worker out of the workplace under guard after the meeting (but do keep an eye on them to ensure nothing improper happens). Finally, if the worker is known to be aggressive or volatile, make arrangements in advance to have security available should they need to called into the meeting and consider the safety of other staff members in carrying out the termination.
  • Don’t force decisions in the meeting: If you are making the employee a settlement offer in exchange for a release of claims against the employer, avoid having the employee decide on the spot. Even if they offer to sign immediately, it is generally best practice to advise them to go away and think about things. Should they wish to accept the employer’s offer, timelines and methods for doing so should be laid out clearly in the termination letter.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. Each employee dismissal will come with its own unique circumstances and challenges. However, with sufficient planning, organization and sensitivity to the employee, it is possible to get through the dismissal process in respectful fashion, while avoiding the creation of problems that may later come back to haunt the employer.

Originally published on March 16, 2018 at First Reference Talks.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

Export Development Canada to pay $969M dividend to federal government

Export Development Canada is paying a $969-million dividend to the federal government this year.

The payment compares with a dividend of $786 million the agency paid last year and $500 million paid in 2016.

EDC generates revenue primarily from interest on loans, fees on its guarantee products, and premiums on its insurance products.

The crown corporation says it finished 2017 with $60 billion in assets and earned $1 billion for the year.

EDC’s full annual report will be released in the second quarter.

Insurance industry welcomes news of implementation date for FSRA

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) welcomes the announcement in March 28, 2018’s  Budget that the Ontario government has confirmed that the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) will be operational by April 2019.  The new regulator will bring more effective and coordinated regulation services to Ontario.

“We see FSRA as a proactive, innovative regulator that will lead to sustainable improvement in rates for Ontario’s almost 10 million drivers,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. “Ontario’s insurers support this new regulator and we look forward to working with FSRA.”

Additional proposed legislative changes will allow FSRA to make rules requiring insurers to provide claims and vehicle repair history information to persons to be prescribed in regulation, most likely used car dealers. IBC has long been advocating for a data access solution.

As part of the budget, the government also announced changes to the Insurance Act to give FSRA prudential oversight of certain insurance companies incorporated in Ontario.

Other key points in the budget include the following:

Ontario Fair Auto Insurance Plan

The government reaffirmed its commitment to transforming the auto insurance system. It also reiterated the measures contained in the Fair Auto Insurance Plan to bring rates down in a sustained way, ensure people who are injured in collisions receive the care they need, and reduce fraud and disputes.

Of note, the government has adopted the recommendation made by the industry on how to best manage the care of those who have suffered a catastrophic impairment as the result of a collision. Instead of making this the responsibility of the Ministry of Health as recommended in David Marshall’s report Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered, there will be funding through the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation to develop evidence-based programs of care for the most seriously injured.

Cannabis

Another key item in today’s budget is contained within Ontario’s framework covering the sale, distribution, purchase, possession and consumption of cannabis. The government is creating a dedicated team of nine Crown counsels and three administrative staff to support drug-impaired driving prosecutions and the new tools for field sobriety testing.

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