FirstService Corp. | Freedom of Association at FirstService Corp.

Status
Filed
Previous AGM date
Resolution details
Company ticker
FSV
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Decent work
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Shareholder
Company sector
Real Estate
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
Resolved: Shareholders urge the Board of Directors of FirstService, Inc. (“FirstService” or “Company”) to adopt, oversee and publicly disclose a Human Rights Policy that adheres to the internationally recognized United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (“UNGPs”) and recognizes the International Labour Organization’s (“ILO”) core labour standards on freedom of association and collective bargaining (the “Policy”). The Policy should:
· Apply to the Company’s direct operations and subsidiaries globally;
· Include a commitment to non-interference, as well as good faith and timely collective bargaining, when employees exercise their rights to form or join a trade union;
· Describe the ongoing due diligence process the company will use to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for any violations of the Policy or these rights, including how it will remedy any misaligned practices.
Supporting statement
Supporting Statement: As North America's largest manager of private residential communities, FirstService relies on its large workforce across Canada and the U.S. to provide services for its clients. However, the Company’s labour-related policies and practices, including media reports of alleged efforts to stifle legally protected union activity,[1] may threaten its future growth and long-term value creation. These risks are magnified because FirstService has no publicly available human rights policy.

Companies that fail to respect labour and human rights are exposed to material reputational, legal, and operational risks that can harm their financial performance and long-term sustainability. Investors are appropriately sensitive to these risks. In recent years, shareholders have submitted proposals challenging a range of unfair employment practices. Between 2019 and 2022, such proposals received an average over 40% of votes cast.

Investors increasingly expect companies to demonstrate respect for human rights by adopting policies that demonstrate their commitment to internationally recognized human rights standards that apply wherever they operate.[2] Freedom of association and collective bargaining are human rights that are considered “enabling rights,” which are essential prerequisites for many other basic labour rights, such as fair wages, non-discrimination, and freedom from child labour. FirstService should adopt a Policy with a stated commitment to human rights, including specific commitments to the widely recognized and adopted UNGP framework and ILO core labour standards.[3]

FirstService has come under scrutiny for its reported use of non-compete agreements, a concern to investors, since the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has said that noncompete restrictions harm workers. Moreover, investors remain concerned about the Company’s approach to workers’ fundamental rights based on the issues raised in the 2023 media reports. [4]

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