Building what matters, sustainably – 2016 Sustainability Report

Governance and policies


At SNC-Lavalin, sound corporate governance practices are more essential than ever to our positive workings, contributions and continued success.

Board of Directors

Strong governance begins with our Board of Directors. Its members supervise the management of the corporation’s business and affairs. Their duties fall into the following areas:

  • Board and senior management
  • Strategic supervision and monitoring
  • Risk evaluation
  • Corporate governance, ethics, policies and procedures
  • Disclosure to shareholders and others
  • Financial matters and internal controls
  • Health & safety, security and environment
  • General legal obligations applying to and governing conduct

The Board strives to incorporate a diverse group of individuals through, but not limited to, gender and ethnic diversity. In 2016, SNC-Lavalin joined the 30% Club, a global organization committed to improving gender diversity on boards. In 2017, our Board set a goal of having women account for 20% of corporate directors by 2018. 

Board of Director Committees

  • Audit Committee - The Audit Committee assists the Board in supervising our financial controls and reporting. It also monitors, through reasonable measures, whether we comply with financial covenants and legal and regulatory requirements governing financial disclosure matters and financial risk management.
  • Governance and Ethics Committee - The Governance and Ethics Committee assists the Board in developing our approach to corporate governance and ethical and compliance issues, proposing new Board nominees and assessing the effectiveness of the Board and its committees, their respective chairs and individual directors.
  • Safety, Workplace and Project Risk Committee - The SWPR Committee helps the Board discharge its responsibilities relative to the overall framework for managing our project risks and our health, safety, security, environmental, business continuity and emergency preparedness risks arising from our operations and business activities with clients.
  • Human Resources Committee - The HR Committee is responsible for helping the Board fulfill its responsibilities to attract and retain an engaged workforce to deliver on our approved strategic plan and objectives.

Position descriptions

  • Chairman of the Board - The Chairman is responsible for the management, development and effective performance of the Board of Directors, and provides leadership to the Board in all aspects of its work.
  • President and Chief Executive Officer - Among this position’s many responsibilities, the President/CEO manages the company’s business and affairs within the guidelines established by the Board of Directors and reports to the Board. The President/CEO recommends our strategic direction to the Board and, when approved by the Board, implements the corresponding strategic, business and operational plans. 
  • Corporate Secretary - Among other duties and responsibilities, the Corporate Secretary serves as a source of expertise and advice to the Board and management on new developments in corporate governance and best practices. 

House of Policies

The House of Policies strengthens our governance by overseeing the standardization of policies and processes in terms of their issuance, approval and application. It covers policy relevancy, revisions and maintenance. It enables us to continually review all policies and procedures that guide employees in their daily decisions and activities. It also provides consistent guidelines and processes for creating and managing policies. 

Our House of Policies initiative is driven by the Board and our ethics and compliance and legal affairs professionals with the support and commitment of all corporate functions and business units. 

Policies and procedures

Our Policy Oversight Committee establishes good practices in policy governance meets monthly to review any new and revised policies and procedures. Members include the Policy Coordinator and a representative of the following functions: 

  • Corporate risk management
  • Ethics and compliance
  • Finance
  • Global human resources
  • Integrated management systems
  • Internal audit
  • Legal affairs
  • Marketing
  • Strategy 
  • External relations


As part of our Operational Excellence initiative, we’ll create the Project Delivery Centre of Excellence (PDCE), a proactive and centralized online repository for employee knowledge sharing. To be rolled out in 2017, the PDCE will support the transparent communication of our updated policies and procedures.

2016 initiatives

In 2016, we introduced or reviewed 37 policies and SOPs, including:
  • Code of Ethics and Business Conduct  - Reviewed and reissued annually, our Code is available in 11 languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic (Standard), Hindi, Malayalam, Polish, Romanian, Russian and Tagalog. Latest revision: January 2017
    Learn more

  • Business Partners - We strive to help create a more ethical business environment and expect our business partners to adhere to our business principles, culture and values, and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Latest revision: June 2016

  • Cyber & Data Security - This SOP ensures that the sensitivity of our information is assessed and the appropriate level of protection applied to this information. Latest revision: September 2016

  • Disciplinary Action - Our goal is to achieve and maintain Health & Safety (H&S) excellence by incorporating strategies, policies and SOPs that promote the well-being of our personnel, contractors and the general public across all our business activities. This SOP ensures that all individuals on SNC-Lavalin-controlled sites, regardless of their employer or seniority, respect all applicable H&S rules. Violation of these rules is taken very seriously and managed accordingly with disciplinary action as required. Introduced: August 2016

  • Discipline Management - This SOP ensures unacceptable behaviours are addressed in a timely manner and, where required, appropriate support is provided to the employee to rectify the situation within an acceptable timeframe. Introduced: November 2016

  • Diversity on the Board of Directors and in Senior Management - This policy captures our approach to achieving and maintaining diversity on our Board and in senior management roles with a specific emphasis on gender diversity. Introduced: September 2016

  • Donations, Sponsorships, Employee Involvement and Corporate Membership  - As a leading engineering and construction firm active in some 100 countries, we recognize our responsibilities as a global corporate citizen. Every year, our work impacts hundreds of communities, where our employees, business partners and other stakeholders live and work, around the world. Latest revision: July 2016
    Learn more

  • Eligibility to Work on Canadian Federal Government Contracts - As part of our Administrative Agreement with Canada’s Minister of Public Services and Procurement (PSP), we committed not to knowingly assign employees or third-party personnel, suspended or declared ineligible under the PSP Ineligibility and Suspension Policy, to perform work for or provide services to the Canadian Federal Government and its agencies and representatives. This SOP establishes the process for ensuring we honour this commitment. Introduced: October 2016  
    Learn more 

  • Gifts & Hospitality - While we recognize that gifts and hospitality are a common business courtesy used to foster business relationships, we established the mandatory principles relative to offering and receiving gifts and hospitality that must be observed by all personnel at all times. Latest revision: January 2016  
    Learn more 

  • Health & Safety, Security and Environment Policy and Statement - Our Global HSSE Policy outlines how we deliver on our commitment to establish and maintain safe and secure working conditions and follow the principles of sustainable development in accordance with our values and our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct. Latest revision: December 2016
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  • Global Human Resources - Our Global Human Resources Policy provides the guiding principles for the effective management of our human resources worldwide. It helps ensure that our culture and values are embedded in everything we do and that we foster a climate where employees can thrive, develop and achieve their full potential. Latest revision: July 2016  
    Learn more

  • Political Contributions - As a global company, we develop and maintain relationships with elected and appointed public officials, governments, policy makers, local authorities and agencies. Because contributions to such individuals or organizations have the potential to impact our business, our employees, business partners, shareholders and the communities with which we work, we do not make political contributions. Violation of this policy may lead to disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination of employment. Latest revision: August 2016

  • Workplace Harassment and Violence - We’re committed to providing and maintaining a work environment that’s free of workplace violence and harassment and in which individuals can feel free to come forward with complaints of workplace harassment and violence without fear of reprisal.
    We recognize that workplace violence and harassment are health and safety and human resources issues, and we take reasonable measures to prevent workplace violence and harassment and to promptly resolve any related matters that might occur. 
  • We’re also committed to compliance with applicable human rights, labour and employment legislation as it relates to workplace violence and harassment in the countries where we conduct business. Latest revision: October 2016 Learn more.

2017 objectives

In 2017, we expect to introduce or review several policies and procedures. To date, we’ve introduced or reviewed our: 

  • International Trade Compliance Policy - This policy summarizes our commitment to the highest standards of governance, ethics and compliance, and establishes guiding principles for compliance with export controls and economic sanctions. Latest revision: February 2017 

  • Export Control and Trade Compliance - This SOP defines the responsibilities, process and required actions related to compliance with export controls and economic sanctions. Introduced: February 2017 

  • Quality Policy and Statement - This policy defines our approach to quality as it applies to delivering our contractual and managerial commitments in line with our values, client expectations and our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct. Latest revision: November 2016 / Reissued: January 2017

United Nations Global Compact

In late 2015, we joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the world’s largest corporate social initiative with more than 9,000 business and non-business participants in more than 160 countries. Joining the UNGC underscores our commitment to putting our extensive know-how and resources to work to meet the world’s sustainability challenges.

It also signals our intention to align our strategies and operations with the UNGC’s Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our 2016 Sustainability Report serves as our Communication on Progress (CoP) in terms of implementing these principles. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) index also provides information relative to our progress in complying with the UNGC principles. 

UK Modern Slavery Act

At SNC-Lavalin, we adopt a zero tolerance approach to any form of forced labour, slavery and human trafficking in any part of our business and supply chain. As a signatory to the UNGC, we’re committed to implementing internationally recognized best practices. This includes adhering to the six UNGC principles that address working conditions and human rights.

Our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct also specifically prohibits human trafficking as well as child and forced labour. All our employees, business partners, consultants, loaned personnel, officers and Board members must abide by our Code. In fact, they must undergo mandatory annual training on the Code, followed by an exam that they need to pass to continue working with us.

Our approach is fully aligned with the UK’s Modern Slavery Act adopted in 2015. To manage our risks in this area, we recently strengthened our control mechanisms in countries where migrant workers are used on construction sites. 

To help preserve the well-being of migrant workers, we:

  • Provide them with and adhere to clear contracts
  • Charge no placement fees
  • Pay their room and board costs and provide adequate healthcare coverage
  • Never retain their passports
  • Only work with accredited third parties in countries of origin or operation
  • Conduct regular audits of worker transportation and accommodations
  • Carefully screen any new business partners
  • Implement industry-leading health and safety practices and provide regular incentives and awards for compliance
  • Provide them with personal protective equipment

We also require that the third-party agents we work treat migrant workers in the same manner.

Later in 2017, we’ll roll out a mandatory eLearning training module for our leadership team to raise their awareness of modern-day slavery issues. The training program was developed by Trace International, a non-profit organization that advances corporate transparency worldwide.

Learn more