Canadian exceptionalism: shareholder proposals, filer identities, and voting outcomes

Jun Yang, Eric Zengxiang Wang, Yunbi An

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study filer identities and voting outcomes of Canadian shareholder proposals and their impact on shareholders' wealth during the period from 2001 to 2008. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 762 Canadian shareholder proposals and related information on targeted firms were collected from the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) and the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR) databases. Statistical analyses are carried out on the features of shareholder proposals. Regression analyses are performed on voting outcomes, and an event study is conducted to test the impact of shareholder proposals on stock prices. Findings – The authors' analyses show that proposals submitted by institutions or coordinated shareholder groups receive stronger support than those submitted by individuals and religious groups. Targeted firms are more willing and more likely to reach agreements with institutional investors, which in turn prompts activists to withdraw their proposals. The voting behavior of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) has a significant impact on voting outcomes. The targeted firms' stock prices respond substantially to news on proposals submitted by institutional and coordinated investors and proposals on social and environmental issues. Originality/value – In addition to in-depth analyses (issues, filers, voting outcomes, and impacts on stock price) of Canadian shareholder proposals, this paper explores the voting behaviour and impact of a large institutional shareholder that has been passive in filing shareholder proposals. Special attention is paid to Canadian features of shareholder activism, and differences between Canadian and US shareholder proposals are highlighted and discussed. The paper thus extends shareholder activism studies from focusing on open shareholder activists to investigating passive institutional shareholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-484
Number of pages29
JournalManagerial Finance
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr. 2012


  • Canada
  • Corporate governance
  • Shareholder proposals
  • Shareholder voting
  • Shareholders


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