The Dissipation of Corporate Accountability: For-Profit Long-Term Care During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Tuesday 7 December 2021 (13:00-14:00)

Helen Harris:

Hosted by CHASM, this seminar features presentations from Cameron Graham (York University, Toronto, Canada), Darlene Himick (University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)

and Pier-Luc Nappert (Université Laval, Québec, Canada). 

If you would like to book a place at this online seminar, please visit our eventbrite page, or contact Helen Harris at


The COVID-19 pandemic has raised serious questions about corporate accountability, exposing how poorly our systems of corporate governance function under pressure. This paper examines one industry where this problem is particularly visible, for-profit long-term care (LTC) in Ontario, Canada. How is it possible that LTC companies have continued to pay dividends to investors while COVID-related deaths mount in their facilities? How is it that no criminal charges have been laid for these deaths? What does this tell us about how society holds companies accountable for their actions? This paper examines two highly institutionalized systems governing the LTC industry in Ontario, namely healthcare governance and financial governance. We examine these two systems in the context of public pressure for regulatory action, pressure that has manifested in mainstream media coverage, social media outrage, and the threat of civil lawsuits. We compare the efficacy of healthcare and financial governance in this industry using a theoretical framework drawn from accountability literature, and explore the possibility legal consequences for LTC corporations under corporate criminal law. We show how these corporate governance systems dissipate corporate accountability through a fragmented, inadequate, system of conflicting governance mechanisms, despite making a show of accountability rituals.

About the speakers 

Cameron Graham, Professor of Accounting at York University in Toronto, is an Associate Editor of Critical Perspectives on Accounting. He draws on social and linguistic theory to examine how accounting constitutes poverty and the poor in society. His research has examined attempts to subjugate First Nations in Canada, the Canadian old age pension system, the use of social impact bonds to restructure the delivery of homelessness programs in the UK, microfinance in Sri Lanka, and the role of the World Bank in restructuring the education system in rural Latin America.

Darlene Himic, Associate Professor of Accounting at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada, researches the impacts of neoliberalism on retirement and aging, in both the workplace and society. This includes work on how individuals learn to become newly ‘responsibilized’ for their financial future, the risks constructed in relation to retirement and pensions, and the move towards connecting pension funds to climate goals. She is also interested in how individuals and social movements push for change, and specifically how they draw upon accounting and financial techniques and terminology in new and creative ways to make their arguments resonate. Dr. Himick is an Associate Editor of Critical Perspectives on Accounting.

Pier-Luc Nappert is an Assistant Professor at Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada. He completed his PhD from York University in 2021. His research interests include accounting in the sport business, and topics related to performance measurement, valuation and social impact. 

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