Canadian Lawyer InHouse

August/September 2020

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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24 COVER STORY doing to manage or mitigate those risks? How do we know that the strategies that we put in place are adequate and are working? That is the starting point and everything we do internally feeds up to answering those questions for our board of trustees. The board made the decision several years ago to maintain the oversight for risk within the hospital and, so, a big picture presentation up to the board happens a couple of times a year and then we have our board committee. Lawal: I think of it from two or three different lenses. So, first there is the structural lens. We certainly have a lot of documentation that's necessary. We've got defined governance, so there is a risk management committee. There is a board risk management committee — all that governance-oriented structure. We've got standardized tracking and reporting and that happens on a regular basis. Then, there's the behavioural lens. As I said earlier, the risk is a shared accountability. We all are responsible and, therefore, it's embedded as part of the culture. Third is the procedural lens. There's day-to-day management by the functional units. We have scheduled reviews by the committee and ad hoc ones that may take place as necessary. We've got things that are reviewed at a business unit level and then rolled out to the risk committee. Then, of course, we've got regular reporting and escalation to the board as necessary. INHOUSE: How do you approach mitigating risk? Evans: You can't manage and mitigate everything to zero, so I think it's really important to spend the time that you need to really understand the risks and understand how likely is this that it's going to happen, and what's the seriousness of it if it does arise and then calculating your mitigation strategies accordingly. There's a certain amount of risk I think that all organizations just inherently accept exists in the nature of their business and it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time on it. With other things like preventable harm to patients, as I mentioned, it seems like a no-brainer that we should be doing everything in our power to ensure that that happens as infrequently as possible and so we direct our resources there. I think it's really about weighing up what kind of resources are going to be required to take this to the next level and whether it makes sense to deploy those resources. "If you lose the public confidence, the confidence of the donors and the confidence of the beneficiaries you're trying to support, you might as well not be in existence." Philip Milley, Mastercard Foundation

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