How CIRI Started

Historic Overview

During the mid-to-late 1970s, CIRI was but a gleam in the eye of a small group of Canadian investor relations (IR) practitioners who had joined the Washington-based National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) to help their companies respond to increasing demands from the investment community by learning more about IR.

These corporate communicators met with increasing frequency, in Toronto and Montreal, to share ideas. Among participants were representatives from Bell Canada, Northern Telecom and Alcan. They soon realized the importance of formalizing their efforts and in 1979 established the first non-U.S. NIRI Chapter, NIRI Canada located in Toronto.

NIRI, now based in Virginia, had been formed in 1969 and by 1979 had about 950 members and 20 Chapters and was well on its way to developing an impressive educational program. Early on, NIRI was the driver and role model for developing the IR profession in Canada. But as NIRI Canada gained its footing, with a growing membership and its own evolving educational program tailored to address Canada’s unique securities market environment, that drive and leadership shifted to Canada.

Other Chapters were formed in Alberta (Calgary) in 1987, British Columbia (Vancouver) in 1989 and Quebec (Montreal) in 1991. Formation of the B.C. Chapter proved premature and it was inactive during much of the 1990s but reconstituted in 2001 thanks to efforts of seasoned local IROs, supported by CIRI.

The original NIRI Canada Chapter was renamed NIRI Eastern Canada when the Chapter in Calgary was formed and initially named NIRI Western Canada. A key milestone was the establishment in 1990 of an umbrella organization for all Canadian Chapters, to be called NIRI Canada. The new organization had a National Board of IR professionals and hired a full-time Executive Director, with plans over time to build NIRI Canada into a leading IR organization internationally.

In the next few years, it became clear that NIRI Canada needed to be a stand-alone organization to better serve the growing needs of its members and gain stature in the international investor relations community. This required restructuring of the affiliate relationship with NIRI, the achievement of sustainable funding and a new name to provide a distinctive Canadian brand. In 1992, the NIRI Canada Board proposed and the membership approved a new charter and a rebranding as CIRI.

In 1997, CIRI was officially incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. With a sound structure, leadership and funding in place, CIRI was positioned to become a leading IR organization.

Founders & Early Ambitions

CIRI is indebted to the pioneers who had the vision to establish the NIRI Canada Chapter and to lead in establishing other Chapters and ultimately launch a thriving, national organization. The high standards and ambitious objectives set by the early pioneers were critical to the organization’s successful professional evolution. Those who served as President of the NIRI Canada Chapter or the Canadian umbrella organization in the years leading up to the birth of CIRI in 1992 and its incorporation in 1997, and as Chair in the years since, are recognized below.

CIRI Board Chairs*

1979-1981  Frances Carmichael, NIRI Canada**          1981-1983  Dick Wertheim, NIRI Canada** 
1983-1985  Belle Mulligan, NIRI Canada**    1985-1987  Lorne French, NIRI Canada** 
1987-1989  Frances Carmichael, NIRI Canada**    1989-1991  Mary Brebner, NIRI Canada** 
1991-1992  Gary Lloyd, NIRI Canada**    1992-1994  David Mills 
1994-1996  Tracy Lutz    1996-1998 Bill Rowe
1998-2000  Peter McBride    2000-2002  Wilma Jacobs 
2002-2004  John Rogers    2004-2005  Bob Tait 
2005-2007  Tom Merinsky    2007-2009  Sharon Mathers 
2009-2011  David Carey    2011-2012  Colleen Vancha 
2012-2014  George Kesteven    2014-2016  Meghan Brown 
2016-2018  Brian Ector    2018-2020  Denis Jasmin 
2020-2022  Nathalie Megann       


*Called President until 1997
**Chapter of U.S.-based NIRI
***Canadian umbrella organization

As early as 1982, NIRI Canada had ambitious national plans and sought a solid financial base. According to a letter to the then President of NIRI, James Mabry, from Dick Wertheim, then President of NIRI Canada and a Director on NIRI’s Board:

“We believe we have the potential to develop a major IR organization in Canada, comprising discreet chapters in Toronto, Montreal, possibly the Maritimes, Alberta (perhaps a chapter in each of Calgary and Edmonton) and Vancouver…As great as the opportunities are, we face some formidable hurdles in fulfilling our potential…NIRI Canada is unique among the NIRI Chapters in that we represent another country. The players, customs, structure and often the methods of operations of the investment community differ in myriad ways from the U.S. investment community. The securities laws, the regulatory bodies and tax structure are distinctly different from those in the U.S….While there is much information in NIRI’s publications…which is of generic interest and other material that is of interest to interlisted companies, NIRI performs none of these functions on the Canadian scene. It has been argued, therefore, that a NIRI Canada member does not receive membership services of comparable value to those received by a U.S. member.”

The letter goes on to say that prospective NIRI Canada members did not perceive they received sufficient benefit from NIRI to justify the current membership fee (of which about 83% went to NIRI and 17% to NIRI Canada) and that the split should be closer to 50%/50% or 57%/43% in NIRI Canada’s favour to provide funds for the establishment of an office and proactively develop a Canadian education program. The letter outlined two proposals: (1) to continue as a Chapter of NIRI, with the addition of a new class of Canadian members, who would not be required to join NIRI or (2) to return the NIRI Canada charter to NIRI and effectively dissolve the Canadian Chapter of NIRI, forming a new organization that would operate autonomously. Interlisted companies would join NIRI at their discretion. The first alternative was presented as the preferred one and the result in 1990-1992 was a hybrid of the two.

Milestones During the 1980s

Throughout the 1980s, NIRI Canada achieved a number of milestones:

  • Formed Chapters in Alberta (initially called ‘NIRI Western Canada’; then ‘CIRI Alberta’ when CIRI was established) and in B.C. (a premature initiative with the Chapter inactive for several years before being reconstituted in 2001).
  • Chapters developed speaker luncheon programs.
  • NIRI Canada co-sponsored the first annual IR Conference with the TSX in the fall of 1985, a half-day event in Toronto, followed by another in 1986. There wasn’t sufficient registration in 1987 and the fall timing was considered a factor. The Annual Conference was held again in the spring of 1988 (titled: ‘Share Value – Beyond the Bottom Line’) and consecutively thereafter, expanding to a two-day Conference in 1991. The selection of locations outside Toronto began in 1997, when the Conference was held at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
  • Introduced the ‘Award for Corporate Excellence in the IR Field’ in 1989, with Arden Haynes, then CEO of Imperial Oil, the first winner. In subsequent years, the award was called the ‘Award for Excellence in Investor Relations’, to honour investor relations officers (IROs) or consultants who have ‘made an outstanding contribution to the investor relations profession and to CIRI.' (See below for Award of Excellence winners.)
  • Launched NIRI/Canada News, a publication produced on an ad hoc basis. In June 1989, the more robust bi-monthly Newsline was launched in response to strong demand for ‘information relevant to the practice of IR in Canada’, as revealed in a member survey. Newsline established an editorial board and introduced advertising to help cover costs.
  • All the while, the Board was planning for an independent organization.

CIRI Award for Excellence in Investor Relations Winners

Arden Haynes (1989)          Frances Carmichael (1990)           Isabel Mulligan (1991)   
Richard Wertheim (1992)    Lorne French (1993)    Gary Lloyd (1994)   
Mary Brebner (1995)    Jo Mira Clodman (1996)    Tracy Lutz (1997)   
David Mills (1998)    Bill Rowe (1999)    Ron Blunn (2000)   
Peter McBride (2001)    Betty-Ann Heggie (2002)    Jane Watson (2003)   
Wilma Jacobs (2004)    John Rogers (2005)    John Wheeler (2006)   
Nancy Woo (2007)    Tom Merinsky (2008)    Angela Joyce (2009)   
Sharon Mathers (2010)    Elaine Wyatt (2011)   David Carey (2012)  
Colleen Vancha (2013)    Katherine Vyse (2014)    George Kesteven (2015)   
Shirley Chenier (2016)    Chaya Cooperberg (2017)    Pat Marshall (2018)   
Meghan Brown (2019)    Eleanor Fritz (2020)    Jerry Ormiston (2021)   

NIRI Canada Takes Flight

In June 1990, under the leadership of then President, Mary Brebner, NIRI Canada was formed as an advisory and support umbrella organization for the then existing three Chapters.

The lead-up to this milestone involved a firm defence of the $100 fee rebate received by NIRI Canada from NIRI. NIRI had wanted to reduce the rebate to $50, in line with other international members. It required NIRI Canada to prepare a five-year plan to defend its funding requirements. Belle Mulligan (then NIRI Canada Director on NIRI’s Board) and Mary Brebner made two presentations to the NIRI Board in Washington, making the case that Canada needed the full rebate because (i) Canada had unique educational and advocacy requirements with its differing securities, stock exchange, accounting, tax and legal regulations; and (ii) needed working capital for seminars and conferences across Canada, publication of NIRI Canada Newsline and administrative and research support for these activities through the planned hiring of one full-time or two part-time individuals. Up to this point, NIRI Canada was entirely a volunteer organization and volunteers, while enthusiastic and dedicated, were getting maxed out. To move to the next level, build credibility and expand its membership, NIRI Canada needed more, not less funding. To their credit, Belle and Mary won the day and the $100 rebate was maintained.

A full-time Executive Director, Joanne (Joey) Brown, was hired to be editor of Newsline, develop conferences in various cities across Canada, co-ordinate communications efforts between Chapters, assist Chapters in their membership drives and assist in the creation of new Chapters. These activities were to be funded by the NIRI Canada fee, revenues from a planned corporate sponsorship fundraising campaign, seminars and annual conference, plus surplus Chapter funds. NIRI Canada continued to have a Director on the NIRI Board, a role filled at that time by Belle Mulligan.

With Joey’s appointment, NIRI Canada established an office (until 1996 at Joey’s home) and had a full-time Manager to drive the development of CIRI. Joey added staff as demands warranted and the budget allowed. She and her team worked closely with the National and Chapter Boards and effectively tapped the resources of member volunteers committed to developing the profession as well as their own capabilities. An enthusiastic IR network was growing, helping to drive CIRI membership and program development.

The By-laws for the new organization were drafted by Betty Moffat, treasurer of the NIRI Eastern Canada Board, approved by that Board in consultation with other Chapter Boards and ratified June 6, 1990. Officers of the first NIRI Canada Board were Mary Brebner (President), Pat Trottier (President of the Alberta Chapter) , Gary Lloyd (Funding), Pat Mahoney (Program), David Mills (Treasurer), Paul LaFontaine (Membership and President of the B.C. Chapter), Eric Lavarak (Conference Chairperson), Frances Carmichael (NIRI Canada Newsline chair) and Joey Brown, executive director. By November 1990, Jo Mira Clodman had become Newsline Chair, with Frances Carmichael now focusing on advertising and Jo Mira has continued as Editor to this day. The Board added Regional Directors – Joan Philip in Ottawa and Roy Firth in Quebec.

To raise corporate sponsorship funds, Gary Lloyd headed a committee that included Lorne French, Frances Carmichael, Mary Brebner, Joan Philip, Pat Trottier and Paul LaFontaine. Their targets were $40,000 in 1990 and $60,000 to $75,000 in total. They focused on corporations with NIRI Canada members, seeking contributions of $5,000 each toward IR educational programs. The fundraising was successful and donors were recognized in Newsline as ‘Charter Sponsors’, supporting excellence in IR. Those initial sustaining sponsors included Alcan, Barrick Gold (American Barrick), BCE, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, CCL Industries, Imasco, Imperial Oil, Noranda Group, Royal Bank of Canada and TransCanada PipeLines.

CIRI is Born

Early in 1992, a special task force was formed by the Board to further restructure the relationship between NIRI and NIRI Canada. Chaired by Belle Mulligan, the task force drafted a proposal that set out ways to establish an independent and distinct investor relations organization in Canada while continuing to benefit from NIRI’s valuable resources through an affiliate arrangement. Lorne French, who succeeded Belle Mulligan on the NIRI Board, played a pivotal role in negotiating the new structure with NIRI. Other members of the task force were Mary Brebner, Frances Carmichael, Dick Wertheim and Joey Brown.

Financial restructuring was key to the proposal. The task force recommended that a greater portion of member fees be retained in Canada with the shift phased in over two years, but that there be no change in total fees. The portion directed to individual CIRI/Chapter fees increased to three quarters from one quarter previously, with the balance directed to NIRI. It also recommended that the Canadian organization assume responsibility for collecting fees and approving new members effective November 1, 1992.

The NIRI Canada Board approved the proposed new structure in March 1992. NIRI members in Canada were asked to vote by April 24, 1992 and formation of the new organization, to be named CIRI, was officially ratified soon after. CIRI membership at the time totaled 160. In a letter seeking support of the NIRI Canada membership, signed by then President, Gary Lloyd, the advantages of establishing a separate Canadian organization were provided:

  • to assure international recognition for Canadian investor relations efforts which will become increasingly important in the global investment markets; and
  • to provide expanded programs and member services that are closely suited to the majority of Canadian members and are designed to address Canadian needs, issues and regulatory requirements.

Retaining an affiliation with NIRI would ensure that all members, especially those with interlisted companies, continue to benefit from NIRI’s valuable resources. CIRI members would continue to receive a subscription of Update, the membership directory and reduced rates at U.S. seminars and conferences. CIRI and NIRI would have representation on each other’s Boards of Directors to ensure ongoing communications and opportunities for joint programs.

From NIRI’s viewpoint, the Canadian request for the restructuring was a natural progression of the growing affiliate organization. Financially, the reduced revenue flow to NIRI was offset by reduced costs for such things as fee collection and membership data maintenance. The relationship has remained constructive and mutually beneficial. In 1997, CIRI was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. At that time, Joey Brown became President and CEO and a voting Director. The IR professional who led the Board became the Chair, rather than President.

CIRI's Evolution Through 2010

With CIRI’s structure and financing in place, David Mills, CIRI President in 1993, invited leading IROs to a meeting to “help formulate a focus and direction for the future of CIRI”. One goal was “to bring a Mission Statement to the Board to put into place a dynamic set of programs and services that will keep CIRI strong and growing into the future.”

CIRI at the time defined itself as "a professional, non-profit organization of executives responsible for communications between public corporations, investors and financial communities. Effective investor relations can translate into fully-valued securities and lower cost of capital.”

At that time, a number of issues were discussed that remain subjects of debate to this day. How could CIRI best support Chapters as primary drivers of membership growth? How could CIRI best facilitate and coordinate programming at the Chapter and National levels? How could programming be balanced to meet the needs of senior IROs while continuing to provide IR fundamentals? It was decided that CIRI should develop its own ‘body of knowledge’ publications – similar to NIRI’s Standards & Guidance for Disclosure – and in time undertake issues advocacy.

There was a strong sense of purpose and a high level of enthusiasm and urgency to establish a robust platform of programming and services as quickly as possible. The CIRI Board, CIRI staff, local Boards, committee members and other member volunteers all had important roles to play. The National and local Boards were made up of senior IROs from across the country, developing a valuable professional network. Joey’s collaborative leadership accelerated CIRI’s early progress. In 1995, the head office moved into a more spacious, functional venue in Mississauga and full-time staff doubled to two with the hire of an Administrative Assistant, who later became Membership Head.

This was the period of many ‘firsts’ – the first:

  • seminar focused on financial analysis, in 1992;
  • Formation of an ‘Issues Committee’ in 1995, first Chaired by David Mills, to keep members abreast of developing IR-related securities regulations through Bulletins and provide comment on proposed regulations through advocacy submissions;
  • IR Fundamentals seminar in 1996 (later called Essentials of Investor Relations program);
  • five-day Strategic Investor Relations Management Executive Program at the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business in 1997; a successful program that was provided annually through 2004;
  • Compensation and Responsibilities Survey in 1997;
  • interactive website with password protected access to members only sections in 1997;
  • edition of Standards & Guidance for Disclosure in 1998, (drafted by lawyer Margaret Cohen, who had provided the regular legal column for Newsline), the Canadian version of the NIRI disclosure document with the same name; 
  • CIRI annual meeting as an incorporated not-for-profit entity in 1998;
  • hiring of a Director of Professional Development in 1998;
  • strategic planning session using an outside facilitator, in 1998. That session articulated CIRI’s vision. “CIRI will be the professional association recognized by corporate executives, regulatory bodies, the investment community and the business media as the Canadian authority in investor relations.” It also articulated its mission and goals, and analyzed the business environment;
  • hosting of the annual International IR Federation (IIRF) conference in Toronto in 1998 (often attended by a CIRI member representative when held outside Canada);
  • IR advocacy submission, on the subject of reaching beneficial shareholders, in 1999;
  • publication of a Model Disclosure Policy (MDP), developed by a committee headed by Tracy Lutz. The first version of CIRI’s policy was attached to the second edition of the Standards & Guidance for Disclosure produced in 2003. A third edition of the Standards & Guidance and second version of the MDP was produced in 2006, with Jane Watson as project leader. The fourth edition with an updated MDP was published in 2011, with Tracy Lutz as project leader. The fifth edition of the Standards & Guidance and third version of the MDP was produced in 2016, with Chaya Cooperberg as project leader;
  • publication of the Guide to Developing an Investor Relations Program, in 2001, written by Tracy Lutz, who was assisted by a committee of CIRI members; second and third editions were published in 2005 and 2013 respectively with Tracy Lutz again leading the projects. The fourth edition was published in 2020 with Karen Keyes as project leader. 
  • introduction in November 2008 of IR focus, a practical how-to two-page guide that complements IR leader (formerly Newsline); 
  • introduction in September 2009 of wIRed, a weekly e-newsletter providing relevant IR news/articles, information on CIRI National and Chapter events and recent research or studies to help members develop, adapt and implement their investor relations strategies; and 
  • initiation of the ‘Belle Mulligan Award for Leadership in IR’ presented for the first time at CIRI’s Annual Conference in June 2010, in honour of Belle who died in November 2009 following a long and courageous battle with cancer. The first recipient was Alison Thompson, who developed the Geothermal Code for Public Reporting and led the industry in applying it.

Belle Mulligan Award for Leadership in Investor Relations Winners

Alison Thompson (2010)           Denita Stann (2011)           Sonya Mehan (2012) 
Richard Downey (2013)    Jennifer McCaughey (2014)    Paul Carpino (2015) 
Greg Waller (2016)    Isabelle Adjahi (2017)    Megan Hjulfors (2018) 
Laurie Gaborit (2019)    Karen Keyes (2020)    Galina Meleger (2021) 

CIRI Fellows Award Recipients

In 2015, the CIRI Fellows Award was established to recognize long-standing CIRI members who are leaders in the investor relations profession and serve as role models. Earning the designation of F.CIRI, the CIRI Fellow is the highest honour for investor relations professionals in Canada. Among the inaugural recipients are those who were integral to the founding of CIRI.

2015:           2016:           2017: 

Mary Brebner
Joanne (Joey) Brown
David Carey
Glenn Keeling
Tracy Lutz
John Rogers
John Wheeler

  Isabelle Adjahi
Jo Mira Clodman
George Kesteven
Colleen Vancha


Bob Tait
Lorne Gorber
Greg Waller
Nancy Woo



2018:    2019:    2020: 

Tom Enright
Pat Marshall
Roberto Sbrugnera

  Paul Carpino
Chaya Cooperberg
Melanie Hennessey
Elaine Wyatt 
  Elisa Schupp
Darren Seed
Susan Soprovich
Katherine Vyse
Erica Belling
Meghan Brown
Jennifer McCaughey
Alison Trollope 

CIRI Increases in Stature

All the while, CIRI and the IR profession were increasing in stature. There were a number of disclosure and governance-related regulatory developments on both sides of the border through the early 2000s that affected issuers and raised the bar for IROs. CIRI’s response as educator and, in some cases, in an advocacy role, helped build its public profile and its membership.

These developments included:

  • the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) ‘Regulation Fair Disclosure’ in 2000, which targeted selective disclosure, followed by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) National Policy 51-201 Disclosure Standards which addressed concerns about selective disclosure and provided the framework for a disclosure policy for issuers;
  • the accounting misrepresentations and frauds involving Enron, WorldCom and other issuers at the turn of the century leading to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in 2002 in the U.S and shareholder protection and continuous disclosure regulations in Canada; and
  • Ontario’s introduction in 2006, followed by other provinces, of a statutory civil liability regime for continuous disclosures. Ontario Bill 198 targeted misrepresentative and/or untimely disclosures with the intent of improving the standard of public disclosure while avoiding the litigious environment in the US.

CIRI provided informative Bulletins, Backgrounders and Briefs for members and integrated the evolving rules and guidelines into updated Standards & Guidance for Disclosure and the Model Disclosure Policy. These developments elevated the importance of good IR in helping to build value and reduce risk liability.

CIRI membership numbers also were influenced over time by economic factors and the number of initial public offerings – offset by merger and acquisition activity – in any given year. Memberships are held by individuals, rather than issuers, underlining the professional rather than corporate affiliation and this has buffered the impact of the changing corporate landscape.

Joey Brown oversaw CIRI’s successful development into a strong, independent Canadian IR organization from 1990 through mid-2003, when she retired as President and CEO. She was followed by interim President Wilma Jacobs, previously Chair of CIRI (2003-2004) and then by three Presidents (Roxanna Benoit 2004-2005, Bob Tait, 2005-2007 and Ian Bacque 2007-2008) before the appointment of Tom Enright in November 2008. Previously, President and CEO of CNW Group and a recipient of IR Magazine’s award for Lifetime Achievement in IR in 2008, Tom brought a commitment to furthering the IR profession and the executive skills to achieve CIRI’s vision and goals. When Tom's term came to an end in late 2012, George Kesteven, Chairman of CIRI's Board of Directors was pleased to welcome Yvette Lokker as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of CIRI effective January 1, 2013. Yvette joined CIRI in 2008 as the Director of Communications and Professional Development and was promoted to Vice President in the fall of 2011.

CIRI Partners

As the IR function has gained importance and recognition, CIRI has networked and partnered with a growing number of regulatory and non-regulatory organizations, developing important symbiotic relationships.

Its first and several subsequent Annual Conferences were co-sponsored with the TSX and a close relationship continues. CIRI also has a close working relationship with a number of the provincial Commissions and even had a designated representative on the OSC’s Continuous Disclosure Advisory Committee previously. CIRI regularly provides comment through submissions on proposed regulations and guidelines of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and provincial commissions that require an IR perspective.

CIRI has worked jointly on IR-related projects with CPA Canada (formerly the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, CICA), Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) group. Until the program was paused in 2018, CIRI members regularly provided judging from an IR perspective for CPA Canada’s annual report and sustainability report awards. CIRI provided comment on the CICA’s MD&A – Guidelines for Preparation and Disclosure and other documents. CIRI co-sponsored with the ICD a survey on Board-Shareholder relations and participated in a study by the CFA and NIRI that provided guidelines for issuer/research-analyst relationships.

In 1997, CIRI partnered with the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario (now Ivey Business School at Western University), to launch an annual five-day ‘Strategic Management of Investor Relations’ program focused on IR as a critical component of the corporate strategic and tactical planning process. Course topics included: corporate strategy and investor relations; IR and the marketing process; capital markets: value determination, liquidity and IR; issues in ethics and corporate governance; financial reporting process; investment valuation and IR; media relations IR; corporate disclosure strategy; and IR strategy development. This program benefited more than 200 IROs through to its final session in 2004.

Recognizing a need for formal education for investor relations professionals, in September 2011, CIRI launched the IR Certification Program in partnership with Western University’s Ivey Business School. CIRI developed a program that covers all relevant areas of this multi-disciplinary role including capital markets, securities law, regulatory disclosure, accounting, finance, communications, ESG and strategy to meet the evolving demands on today’s IR professionals. The 10-month Program is delivered through a combination of online and face-to-face classes. Based on course work, CIRI offers an exam to obtain a professional designation in IR – the Certified Professional in Investor Relations (CPIR) designation.

As of 2020, the Certification Program continues to be offered now in partnership with University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. With over 100 individuals having completed the Program, it is becoming the standard for IR professionals in Canada. These individuals have demonstrated their commitment to the transparency and integrity of the Canadian capital markets by advancing their practice of investor relations and the stature of the profession.

The launch in 1993 by UK-based Cross Border Publishing of IR Magazine, an IR-dedicated monthly publication featuring global coverage and ancillary services, brought significant value to the Canadian IR community and to CIRI. IR Magazine hosted its first gala IR awards dinner in Canada in 2000, where it recognized top IROs and a top CEO selected by a professional survey of the investment communities in Canada and the U.S. and also recognized an individual for ‘lifetime achievement in IR’. The dinner and awards are sponsored by leading players in, and suppliers to, the Canadian IR industry.

Early on, NIRI Canada worked closely with the Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries (CSCS), now Governance Professionals of Canada (GPC), mainly regarding the issue of reaching beneficial shareholders. Common interests continue, notably with the increased regulatory emphasis on corporate governance.

Since the beginning, CIRI has depended on its many sponsors and exhibitors to support the organization and to provide meaningful, reliable products and services to the IR function. These sponsors and exhibitors have enhanced CIRI’s IR program through their generous support.

The National Strategic Partner (NSP) sponsorship program was launched in the early 2000s with Cision (then Canada Newswire Ltd.) and Marketwire (then CCN Matthews), the first NSPs. Over the years, the TMX/Equicom (2010-2012), Business Wire (2011-present) and Infomart (2012-2013) joined the ranks. Today, Business Wire continues to be an NSP.

Looking Ahead

By 2010, CIRI had established itself as a professional, well respected, national organization for the IR profession which it now defines as: “the strategic management responsibility that integrates the disciplines of finance, communications, marketing, securities law compliance and sustainability to achieve an effective flow of information between a company, the investment community and other stakeholders, in order to support an informed valuation of the company’s securities and enable fair and efficient capital markets.”

In the Spring of 2010, CIRI moved its office to downtown Toronto from Mississauga, to be more accessible to members and other stakeholders. Amid the pandemic in 2020, the office was closed and the team went fully virtual.

There are a myriad of evolving IR-related issues that members look to CIRI for information, guidance and advocacy. Issues on the immediate horizon include considerations for continuous disclosure obligations while reducing the regulatory burden on issuers; capital markets modernization; evolving standards of disclosure for environmental (including climate change), social and governance (ESG) matters; and best practices in the growing use of social media and new technology, to name a few.

To help fund CIRI’s ambitious educational and advocacy program, the President and Board in 2010 spearheaded a new corporate donation program which by the fall of 2010 had raised $130,000 from 14 issuers whose IROs are CIRI members. The largest donators, in the ‘champion level’ category of $50,000+, were Arc Energy Trust, Teck Resources and Suncor Energy.

The IR function continues to be more demanding and complex, as the IRO’s role is valued as a strategic advisor, providing insights and value to management and the Board. The evolving needs of its members will continue to drive CIRI’s agenda.

Investor Relations... the strategic management responsibility that integrates the disciplines of finance, communications, marketing, securities law compliance and sustainability to achieve an effective flow of information between a company, the investment community and other stakeholders, in order to support an informed valuation of the company’s securities and enable fair and efficient capital markets.


CIRI Board
Spring 2021