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Executive Compensation and Incentive Plans


Setting up a plan for senior executives or your entire workforce? Fasken LEHR lawyers can assist you to design and draft plan(s) that reflect current Canadian and South African employment law, income tax regime and industry best practices. This includes cash incentive plans for the near, medium or long term and equity incentive plans for public and private corporations and other business entities.

Our lawyers draw on their diverse experience in the employment, tax, and securities law to address key aspects of incentive plans and executive compensation. For public companies, this includes advice on current Canadian and South African disclosure and approval requirements.

For US and multinational companies, our team adapts existing plans for Canadian and/or South African employees or advises on alternate arrangements tailored to the relevant jurisdiction’s employment laws and income tax provisions based on the circumstances. Plans designed for other jurisdictions often do not reflect the Canadian employment law and income tax regime, which can result in unfortunate surprises. We have experience working with our clients to adapt plans to the Canadian and South African context or propose alternate structures that better suit the objectives for employees in either country.

Some of our specific expertise includes:

  • designing and drafting plans or arrangements for cash and equity incentives, whether for one, a few or many employees. We assist clients to best meet their employment objectives within the Canadian/South African employment and tax regimes;
  • employment and tax advice on existing incentive plans or arrangements and amendments.  Too often, we see plans that fail to meet Canadian/South African legal requirements as intended, which can change an incentive plan into an nightmare for an employer and/or employee;
  • adapting non-Canadian or South African plans and arrangements for employees in Canada or South Africa, in light of the relevant employment laws, income tax regime and other elements of Canadian/South African law. In particular, we regularly assist US companies with longstanding US plans that need modification to achieve the same objectives for Canadian or South African employees;
  • assisting in meeting jurisdictional disclosure and approval requirements for plans of public companies. Our experienced securities law group regularly assists public companies to meet the extensive disclosure requirements for executive compensation; and
  • advising on compensation and other issues regarding executives transferring into Canada or South Africa on a permanent or temporary basis.
To discuss the specifics of your business executive compensation and incentive plans contact any member of our LEHR team.
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