Professional Profiles

Local lawyers give back to Vancouver business community

Left to right: John McCoach, Charlotte Bell, and David Toyoda. Photo by Greg Ehlers.

By Amy Robertson

For almost two decades, a financing course at SFU Continuing Studies has helped hundreds of Vancouver businesses thrive.

The course is called Public Companies: Financing, Governance, and Compliance. SFU offers it semi-annually with the support of the Toronto Stock Exchange, the TSX Venture Exchange, and the BC Securities Commission. Participants learn how to comply with Canada’s complex system of securities regulation—that is, how to avoid legal trouble when going public with their businesses.

Course in high demand

The course is almost always full to capacity. Many participants, who include chief financial officers, chief executive officers, and other business leaders from throughout the city, take the course more than once to keep up with changing regulations.

Charlotte Bell and David Toyoda, both established corporate lawyers, coordinate the course.

Bell says she sees the course as a valuable contribution to Vancouver’s business community.

“It’s an efficient way to learn the rules [of running a public company],” she says. “Not one participant has ever said the course was a waste of time.”

Students give positive feedback

After each course, Bell and Toyoda receive glowing feedback from students. “It really is quite gratifying,” Toyoda says. “It seems like we’re addressing the market.”

Rand Buhler, a former student and the director and president of Tasu Global Resources, agrees.

“As part of corporate planning, advance learning of the regulatory policies of the Toronto Stock Exchange is essential,” Buhler says. “I found the course of real value, providing an interesting opportunity to listen to expert legal and public sector regulatory opinion.”

Bell is an associate counsel who specializes in securities, mergers, and acquisitions law at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. Toyoda is an associate counsel from Boughton Law Corporation who specializes in securities law and corporate governance.

Fourteen other instructors, the majority of whom have backgrounds in corporate law or work with the securities commission or stock exchange, help teach the course. Additionally, John McCoach, the president of TSX Venture and a former instructor, delivers a presentation, after which he fields questions.

Both Bell and Toyoda enjoy the opportunity to teach and help people make their businesses successful.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Toyoda says. “It’s good to give something back to the community.”