Associate Professor, Business Law
Ted Rogers School of Business
My Interest in Business Ethics
Academic - Faculty/Staff
Areas of Interest
Accountability - Reporting ; Codes of Conduct ; Corporate Governance ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Public Policy ; Resource Extraction ; Sustainability
Me in Brief
Professor Webb holds Bachelor's, Masters and Doctorate degrees in law. A consistent theme throughout his academic and professional career has been on better understanding the role that non-coercive approaches can play in encouraging positive behaviour from industry, the private sector and government, as supplements to conventional regulatory approaches. His position is that both approaches have merit, and that they work best in combination.
His interest in business ethics began when he worked as a consultant to the Law Reform Commission of Canada in the 1980s. During this time, his research focused on the effectiveness and limitations of conventional regulatory approaches such as those in place for addressing environmental problems. Among other publications, he authored the monograph Pollution Control in Canada: The Regulatory Approach in the 1980s, and co-authored Policy Implementation, Compliance and Administrative Law for the Law Reform Commission. Before assuming his current position as Associate Professor in Business Law in the Faculty of Business, Ryerson University, Dr. Webb taught first as a sessional lecturer, and later, an Adjunct Professor, at a number of different universities, including the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, Carleton University's Department of Law, Carleton University's School of Public Policy and Administration, and Queen's University's School of Policy Studies, teaching courses in international and domestic environmental law, regulation of corporate crime, public policy implementation, and sustainable governance.
Following his work for the Law Reform Commission of Canada, during the 1990s up to 2006, Dr. Webb became the Senior Legal Policy Advisor and Chief of Research for the Office of Consumer Affairs, Department of Industry, Government of Canada. In this capacity, Dr. Webb was project leader for a major research initiative concerning the nature and efficacy of voluntary codes (self regulation), and played significant roles in the development of widely cited and used Guides for industry for the development of voluntary codes, complaints management systems, and corporate social responsibility. He played significant roles in the development of codes, guidelines and standards concerning consumer protection in electronic commerce, personal information protection, and good moving practices. He also spearheaded the development of international standards through ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, concerning codes of conduct (ISO 10001), complaints handling (ISO 10002), dispute resolution (ISO 10003), and social responsibility (ISO 26000).
Note: at the time of writing, ISO 10001, ISO 10003, and ISO 26000 are still in the process of development. Dr Webb has also published and edited books, published articles on a wide variety of topics focusing on innovative approaches to regulation, including on the constitutionality of regulatory offences (quoted and followed by the Supreme Court of Canada); the regulation of the "third sector" (i.e, non-profit organizations, charitable organizations, non-governmental organizations); the strengths and limitations of criminal vs. regulatory offences; the implementation of public policy; the values and weaknesses of voluntary codes and standards, and the need for more holistic approaches to governance in the public interest. At Ryerson University, Dr. Webb's research and teaching focuses on the use of private law and regulatory law to address business behaviour, and the nexus between law and corporate social responsibility and business ethics.