Previously published in the Cross-border Capital Markets Handbook 2011
MAIN EQUITY MARKETS/EXCHANGES
1. Please summarise the main equity markets/exchanges in your jurisdiction. In particular:
- Please state the names, website addresses and brief structure
of the main markets/exchanges.
- Are there many listings of foreign companies?
- Please outline market/exchange activity generally, including
the most significant deals over the past year.
- Have there been many IPOs postponed in the last year? Please
briefly outline the process for postponing an IPO.
The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) provides the main market for senior equities. Therefore, this chapter deals only with the TSX unless otherwise specified (see website, www.tmx.com).
Canada's other stock exchanges are:
- The TSX Venture Exchange, an exchange for the securities of
early-stage businesses (see website, www.tmx.com).
- The Canadian National Stock Exchange, an exchange designed for
emerging issuers (see website, www.cnq.ca).
- The Montreal Exchange, which facilitates the trade of
derivative products (see website, www.m-x.ca/accueil_en.php).
- ICE Futures Canada (formerly the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange),
a subsidiary of the Intercontinental Exchange, which provides a
market for agricultural futures and options (see website, www.theice.com/futures_canada.jhtml).
Listings of foreign companies
The number of foreign listings on the TSX has risen in recent years. In 2010, 71 new foreign issuers were added to the TSX. A significant portion of these new listings are in the mining sector.
Market activity and initial public offerings (IPOs)
Although overall financing activity was down in 2010, compared with 2009, the number of IPOs rose from 60 in 2009 to 119 in 2010, and IPO financing more than doubled from Can$4.8 billion to Can$10.7 billion in 2010 (as at 1 January 2011, Canadian and US dollars were at almost parity). The mining sector experienced the most significant increase in listings, setting a record of 204 issues in 2010. Overall, the TSX added 187 new issuers in 2010, compared with 100 in 2009, bringing the total number of listed issuers to 1,516.
Major equity financings from 2010 include the following:
- Can$1.3 billion common share IPO by Athabasca Oil Sands
- Can$700 million common share IPO by MED Energy Corp.
- Can$660 million common share IPO by SMART Technologies
- Can$575 million unit IPO by Sprott Physical Silver Trust.
- $442 million unit IPO by Sprott Physical Gold Trust.
In 2010, several proposed IPOs were postponed and/or abandoned. Marketing for an IPO occurs after the company has publicly filed a preliminary prospectus (see Question 8). In general, the rules require that a final prospectus be filed no longer than 75 days after the preliminary prospectus, although this deadline can be extended. If investor demand is such that the IPO cannot be successfully completed at the price and/or size the company intends, the preliminary prospectus will be withdrawn. The company may elect to re-initiate the IPO process in the future, by filing a new preliminary prospectus.
2. Please set out the main regulators and legislation that applies to the equity markets/exchanges.
Commissions in each of Canada's ten provinces and three territories regulate the securities industry. (References in this chapter to "provinces" or "provincial" include the territories.) Although provincial securities laws are similar in many respects, issuers often deal with up to 13 different regulators. Reforms have been implemented to harmonise securities laws across Canada (for example, through National Instruments and Multilateral Instruments promulgated by all or some of the commissions, which apply consistently across all or some provinces). In general, to obtain full access to the capital markets in Québec, a company's public disclosure documents must be filed in both English and French. Unless otherwise specified, the following answers are based on Ontario law.
Canada's capital markets are also regulated by:
- Various business corporations statutes and regulations of the
federal and provincial governments, which govern corporations and
- Self-regulatory organisations, such as the Investment Industry
Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), which oversees all
investment dealers and trading activity on equity and debt
marketplaces in Canada.
- Rules of the Canadian stock exchanges.
3. Please summarise the main requirements for a primary listing on the main markets/exchanges (distinguish if appropriate requirements for foreign companies seeking a primary listing in your jurisdiction). Consider:
- Main admission/registration requirements and which
authorities are involved (for example, admission to trading and
- Minimum size requirements.
- Minimum trading record and accounts requirements.
- Working capital requirements.
- Minimum number of shares in public hands.
The TSX places issuers applying for listing in one of three categories, each with different minimum listing requirements:
- Industrial (General).
- Oil and Gas.
Generally, an industrial applicant must have:
- Net tangible assets of at least Can$7.5 million.
- Pre-extraordinary items and pre-tax earnings from ongoing
operations in the last fiscal year of at least Can$300,000, and
pre-tax cash flow from ongoing operations in the last fiscal year
of at least Can$700,000.
- An average pre-tax cash flow from ongoing operations for the
past two fiscal years of Can$500,000.
- An appropriate capital structure and adequate working capital
to carry on the business.
Industrial applicants must have at least one million freely tradable shares with an aggregate market value of Can$4 million. On being listed, these shares must be held by at least 300 public shareholders, each holding one board lot or more. A "board lot" for securities trading means one of the following:
- 100 securities having a market value of Can$1 per security or
- 500 securities having a market value of less than Can$1 and no
less than Can$0.1 per security.
- 1,000 securities having a market value of less than Can$0.1 per
Applicants that do not meet the requirements set out above may still qualify for listing, but are subject to a higher standard of review. Applicants must also demonstrate satisfactory management expertise and experience relating not only to the company's business and industry but also to public company experience.
International issuers are issuers that are incorporated outside Canada and are listed on another recognised exchange that is acceptable to the TSX. There are no management or financial requirements specific to international issuers. Like all issuers, international issuers must be able to demonstrate that they satisfy all their reporting and public company obligations in Canada. International issuers are generally required to have some presence in Canada, which may be satisfied by having a member of the board of directors or management, an employee or a consultant of the issuer situated in Canada. It is also beneficial, although not required by the TSX in all cases, to have directors or management with public company experience in the Canadian markets.
4. What are the main ways of structuring an IPO?
The most common way to structure an IPO is to issue shares from treasury, with the proceeds accruing to the company.
A shareholder can also effect an IPO by selling shares in a private company through a prospectus, either alone or in conjunction with a treasury offering. The application proceeds accrue to the selling shareholder, who also assumes prospectus liability.
Under an "indirect offering", interests in the operating entity are not offered directly to the public but are acquired by a separate entity (for example, a real estate investment trust or its subsidiary). The securities of this separate entity are offered to the public under a prospectus.
The TSX Venture Exchange's Capital Pool Company (CPC) programme allows sponsors to form a CPC with no commercial operations and raise between Can$200,000 and Can$4.75 million, with the stipulation that within 24 months the CPC will acquire a business that meets listing criteria, known as a "qualifying transaction". Once a qualifying transaction has been completed, the CPC obtains regular listing status on the TSX Venture Exchange. Since the CPC programme's inception in 1988, more than 2,140 CPCs have been created and more than 1,700 of those have completed a qualifying transaction. In 2010, 128 qualifying transactions were completed.
The TSX's Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation (SPAC) programme, established in December 2008, involves a similar two-step listing process, except that the SPAC programme requires the initial IPO to raise a minimum of Can$30 million, the SPAC's securities are listed on the TSX, not on the TSX Venture Exchange, and the subsequent acquisition transaction must take place within 36 months. As at the time of writing, no SPAC has yet been listed on the TSX.
5. What are the main ways of structuring a subsequent equity offering?
The most common is offering equities by way of prospectus.
Where an exemption is available, equity can be offered by way of a private placement (see Question 9).
In the case of a "control person" (that is, a person or company holding more than 20% of the voting securities of a company), any sale of these securities must be completed under a prospectus or by way of a prospectus exemption.
6. Please outline the main steps for a company applying for a primary listing of its shares. Is the procedure different for a foreign company? Is a foreign company likely to seek a listing for shares or depositary receipts?
To initiate the listing process on the TSX, an issuer must submit a listing application together with supporting documents that demonstrate that the issuer is able to meet the minimum listing requirements (see Question 3). Generally, these documents include information about the issuer's business, investments and properties, the securities that are to be listed and any material legal proceedings affecting the applicant.
The procedures for listing the securities of a foreign issuer are the same as those for a Canadian issuer. A foreign company will almost invariably seek a listing for shares, as depositary receipts are rarely listed in Canada.
A foreign issuer and its counsel are recommended to contact TSX staff to review listing suitability and filing requirements, and to provide guidance on timing and other matters related to dual-listed companies.
ADVISERS: EQUITY OFFERING
7. Please briefly outline the role of advisers used and main documents produced in an equity offering. Does it differ for an IPO?
The role of advisers is the same for an IPO or any subsequent equity offering.
- Negotiate the offering's terms, structure and
- Work with the issuer and issuer's legal counsel to
co-ordinate the deal's timetable and the drafting of the
- Organise the road show and market the offering.
- Build the "book" of orders from potential
Issuer's legal counsel
The issuer's legal counsel:
- Assist with structuring the offering.
- Advise on any changes or restructuring required before the
- Prepare the prospectus and other key documents.
- Assist with the regulatory review process and listing
- Perform due diligence for the benefit of the issuer and its
board of directors.
- Prepare the issuer for its continuing obligations following the
Underwriters' legal counsel
The underwriters' legal counsel:
- Conduct due diligence on the issuer.
- Work with the issuer's lawyers in the preparation of the
prospectus and other key documents.
- Prepare the underwriting agreement.
- Advise the underwriters in relation to their obligations.
- Provide accounting advice.
- Assist with due diligence.
- Prepare financial statements and financial disclosure that
forms part of the prospectus, to the public company standard.
- Prepare comfort letters relating to such financial
EQUITY PROSPECTUS/MAIN OFFERING DOCUMENT
8. Please summarise when a prospectus (or other main offering document) is required and its main publication/delivery requirements.
No person or company can "trade" in a security if the trade is a "distribution" of the security unless, in the absence of an applicable exemption, a prospectus is filed with the securities regulatory authority in each of the provinces where the trade occurs.
Trade is broadly defined and includes a sale of securities (including treasury issuances) or any act in furtherance of a sale of securities (such as an offer to sell). A trade constitutes a distribution if it involves one of the following:
- The issuer is issuing securities not previously issued.
- A trade in previously issued securities of an issuer from the
holdings of any "control person" (see Question
- A subsequent trade in securities previously issued under an
exemption from the prospectus requirements (see Question
Under Canadian securities laws, underwriters must distribute the preliminary prospectus to any person who indicates an interest in the offering and requests a copy, as well as a copy of the final prospectus to each purchaser of the securities.
Although an IPO requires the use of a long form prospectus, three other types of offering document can be used in a subsequent offering. In general, the following companies are eligible to file a short form prospectus:
- Electronic filers.
- Reporting issuers in at least one Canadian jurisdiction.
- Companies that have filed all periodic and timely disclosure
documents required by securities legislation.
- Companies that have current annual financial statements and a
current annual information form.
The main benefit to filing a short form prospectus is that disclosure documents are incorporated by reference in the prospectus rather than being included in full.
Companies that qualify to use a short form prospectus will also qualify for the use of a shelf prospectus (that is, a prospectus filed with no particular deal attached). This system involves the submission of a base shelf prospectus for review by securities authorities, after which, for a period of two years, securities can be offered by way of supplement, which does not undergo regulatory review before the closing of the offering.
Finally, securities can be sold in reliance on an exemption from the prospectus requirements (see Question 9). Although typically not required, in this situation, the issuer may choose to provide potential investors with an offering memorandum, containing information necessary to evaluate the issuer and the securities being offered. A Canadian offering memorandum must contain certain cautionary language on its cover page.
9. What are the main exemptions from the requirements for publication/delivery of a prospectus (or other main offering document)?
A number of exemptions from the prospectus requirements are available, including distributions:
- To "accredited investors" such as institutional
investors and high net-worth individuals.
- To certain non-public purchasers by a "private
issuer" (an issuer with fewer than 50 security holders that
has not distributed its securities to the public and is not a
mutual fund or investment fund).
- To a person purchasing as principal and to whom the acquisition
cost is not less than Can$150,000 paid in cash at the time of the
- In certain cases, to employees, executive officers, directors
and consultants of the issuer.
In addition to the listed statutory exemptions, an issuer may be granted an exemption from the prospectus requirements if regulators are satisfied that it is not prejudicial to the public interest. This power is usually exercised when a statutory exemption is unavailable and the protections afforded by the prospectus requirements are unnecessary.
10. What are the main content/disclosure requirements for a prospectus (or other main offering document). What main categories of information are included?
The main requirements for prospectus disclosure are outlined in National Instrument 41-101. Because the purpose of a prospectus is to allow the public to make an informed investment decision, it must contain full, true and plain disclosure of all material facts relating to the securities being distributed and must not contain a misrepresentation. A "material fact" is defined as a fact that significantly affects, or would reasonably be expected to have a significant effect on, the market price or value of the company's securities. A misrepresentation is defined as an untrue statement or material fact, or an omission to state a material fact that must be stated.
The following are the main categories of information included in a prospectus:
- A description of the issuer and its business.
- The planned use of proceeds received from the issuance of the
- Financial information and management's discussion and
analysis of the financial condition and results of
- A description of the securities being distributed.
- Information regarding the issuer's directors and
- Information regarding the audit committee and corporate
- The plan of distribution.
- Any risk factors facing the issuer or relating to the
securities being issued.
- Any other material facts.
At the same time as filing the prospectus, the issuer must also file supporting documents, including:
- Any documents that affect the rights of security holders (for
example, constating documents (that is, those governing an
organisation's powers, decisions and the way it conducts
business) and any security holders' rights plans).
- Material contracts, reports and valuations, if
- Personal information forms for each of the issuer's
directors and executive officers, if not previously filed.
- An auditor's comfort letter regarding the audited financial statements.
11. How is the prospectus (or other main offering document) prepared? Who is responsible and/or may be liable for its contents?
The prospectus is generally prepared by the issuer and its legal counsel, with the significant involvement of the lead underwriters, their legal counsel and the issuer's auditors.
The underwriters and their counsel verify (to the extent possible) the facts and statements made in the prospectus on the basis of their due diligence review of the issuer.
The provincial securities commissions comment on the preliminary prospectus, normally within ten business days of the prospectus being filed. The issuer must then resolve any deficiencies or inaccuracies before the final prospectus is approved for filing.
If the final prospectus contains a misrepresentation, the following may be liable to the purchasers of the securities:
- The company.
- Any promoter or selling shareholders.
- The chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer
- Each director.
- Each underwriter.
- Every person or company whose consent to disclosure of
information in the prospectus was required to be filed with the
prospectus, such as lawyers and accountants (but only with respect
to reports, opinions or statements made by them).
If the prospectus contains a misrepresentation, a purchaser is deemed to have relied on the misrepresentation and has the choice to rescind the purchase or sue for damages up to the purchase price.
The company's CEO, CFO and directors can all be held personally liable for a misrepresentation. However, these individuals, along with the promoter, underwriters and experts, have a due diligence defence available to them.
MARKETING EQUITY OFFERINGS
12. Please briefly explain how offered equity securities are marketed.
The marketing process commences after the preliminary prospectus is filed and receipted. Although companies often wait for initial comments from the relevant securities regulators, clearance from the securities commissions is not required before initiating marketing activities.
In Canada, marketing efforts revolve around solicitations of interest through distribution of the company's preliminary prospectus, which is the only marketing document that can be distributed to the public. Potential investors cannot make binding commitments to buy the securities being offered under the prospectus until the final prospectus is filed. However, the underwriters can solicit investor interest and begin to build a tentative book of orders.
The underwriters will also prepare a "green sheet", a short document that outlines the terms of the offering by summarising essential portions of the preliminary prospectus. It is distributed on a confidential basis to salespersons of registered dealers and is used to solicit interest in the securities being offered; but it is not allowed to be distributed to the public.
The marketing period for an IPO typically lasts two to four weeks, and involves a road show in which management and the lead underwriters visit various cities and meet with retail brokers and institutional investors to generate interest in the company's securities.
If a sufficient order book has developed throughout the marketing period, the underwriters and the issuer negotiate a price for the offering, to be reflected in the final prospectus (for rules on distribution of the prospectus, see Question 8).
Under Canadian securities laws, a purchaser can withdraw from its agreement to purchase the securities within two business days of receipt of the final prospectus.
13. Please outline any potential liability from publishing research reports by participating brokers/dealers and ways used to avoid such liability.
Securities legislation and IIROC's Universal Market Integrity Rules generally prohibit fraudulent, manipulative and deceptive activities. In addition, IIROC's Dealer Member Rules contain rules governing the behaviour of analysts to minimise potential conflicts of interest when publishing research reports. Additionally, these rules require that all research reports must be approved by an IIROC supervisor before publication.
In addition to civil, regulatory and criminal liability for breaches of securities laws (see Question 21), IIROC hearing panels have the power to impose a number of sanctions on dealer members and their partners, directors, officers and employees who are approved by IIROC or another self-regulatory organisation (Approved Persons) for a violation of the Universal Market Integrity Rules and the Dealer Member Rules, including:
- Fines of up to Can$1 million for Approved Persons and Can$5
million for dealer members.
- Suspension and expulsion of membership in IIROC.
14. Is the bookbuilding procedure used and in what circumstances? How is any related retail offer dealt with?
Most Canadian securities offerings involve building a book of orders. If bookbuilding is used, about 20% is allocated to retail investors with the rest to institutional investors. This percentage will vary according to the nature of the securities being offered and the level of demand from institutional and retail investors. The retail offer is dealt with by the brokerage or, where a syndicate of underwriters is involved in the offering, by the syndicate on a prorated basis.
UNDERWRITING: EQUITY OFFERING
15. How is the underwriting for an equity offering typically structured? What are the key terms of the underwriting agreement? What is a typical underwriting fee?
The underwriting of an equity offering is accomplished by using an underwriting or an agency agreement.
These are structured either as "firm commitment" or as "best efforts".
Firm-commitment underwriting. In firm-commitment underwriting, the underwriters agree to purchase all the offered securities, at a price to be specified in the final prospectus, and agree to attempt to resell them to the public. Underwriters receive a fee or commission per share sold as specified in the underwriting agreement and prospectus. Most larger IPOs are underwritten on a firm-commitment basis.
Best-efforts underwriting. In best-efforts underwriting, the underwriters are only obligated to use reasonable best efforts to sell the company's securities on behalf of the company. In this case, the securities issued to the investors identified by the underwriters pass directly to the investors from the issuer without the underwriters ever taking title. (The agreement between the syndicate and the company is an "agency", rather than an "underwriting" agreement.) The underwriters receive a commission only for those securities sold and are not responsible for any unsold securities.
Bought-deal underwriting. A bought-deal underwriting is a firm-commitment underwriting, which involves an offering in which the underwriters commit to purchase all the securities before a prospectus is filed, without a marketing period or road show. This structure of underwriting is available only in a short form offering (see Question 8).
Key terms in a typical underwriting agreement include the following:
- The underwriters' obligation, if any, to purchase the
- The over-allotment option (or green shoe), if any, that allows
the underwriters to purchase additional securities under the same
- Terms related to the underwriters' distribution
obligations, including each underwriter's purchase commitment,
the offering price and the jurisdictions in which the securities
will be sold.
- Commissions payable to the underwriters.
- Indemnity provisions in favour of the underwriters, which will
require the company, promoters and selling shareholders to
reimburse them for certain liabilities, such as for a
misrepresentation in the prospectus.
- Contribution provisions permitting an underwriter subject to a
legal claim, and whoever pays out that claim, to seek reimbursement
from other parties.
- Various representations, warranties and covenants made by the
company and any promoter or selling shareholder, including those
relating to the company's business and operations, and the
- Various conditions of the underwriters' obligation to
complete the offering (including the delivery of specific documents
such as the legal opinions of counsel, as mentioned above).
- Termination rights in favour of the underwriters, specifying
the conditions under which they will not be obligated to proceed
with the offering, such as a material change in market
- A blackout provision, restricting the company from selling
additional securities for a specified period of time following the
closing of the offering.
Typical underwriting fees range from 5% to 7% of the total proceeds of the offering. The underwriters' fee depends on a number of factors, including the size of the offering and the issuer, the type of security offered and the listing jurisdictions, and is determined by negotiations between the underwriters and the issuer, with reference to market precedents.
TIMETABLE: EQUITY OFFERINGS
16. Please provide a summary of the timetable for a typical equity offering. Does it differ for an IPO?
Any equity offering can be divided into two stages:
- From commencement of work until filing of the preliminary
- From filing the preliminary prospectus until the closing of the
offering. This stage comprises two parts:
- from filing the preliminary prospectus to filing the final
- from filing the final prospectus to the closing of the
- from filing the preliminary prospectus to filing the final prospectus;
The length of each stage will vary depending on what type of equity offering is being made.
In an IPO the duration of the first phase will depend on several factors, including the availability of information about the issuer, the complexity of the structure and the state of the financial statements and other due diligence materials. If the IPO is to be offered in Québec, the schedule must account for the time necessary to translate the prospectus, including the financial statements, into French. A reasonable time period for this stage is about six weeks.
The entire second phase of the IPO generally takes between four and seven weeks. Canada has an efficient prospectus clearing process, which typically takes three to five weeks, although this can vary. Once the final prospectus has been filed, the offering typically closes within one week to ten days, allowing time for the final prospectus to be mailed to all purchasers and for the mechanics of closing to be implemented.
A shorter timeline applies to subsequent equity offerings. For example, in a short form offering, timelines are significantly shorter because documents are incorporated by reference in the prospectus and regulatory approval can be obtained as quickly as one week after the preliminary prospectus is approved.
17. Are there rules on price stabilisation in connection with an equity offering?
Under Canadian securities laws, underwriters can engage in price stabilisation activities in the period after trading starts, if the securities subsequently sold do not exceed a specified maximum price and the details of the proposed price stabilisation are included in the prospectus.
IIROC's Universal Market Integrity Rules also permit stabilisation activities, subject to price limitations, for the purpose of maintaining a fair and orderly market in the offered security and preventing erratic and disorderly changes in price. However, IIROC considers it to be inappropriate for a dealer to engage in market stabilisation activities when it knows or should reasonably know that the market price is not fairly and properly determined by supply and demand.
TAX: EQUITY ISSUES
18. What are the main tax issues when issuing and listing equity securities?
In an equity offering, a number of tax issues may arise that require specialist tax advice. These issues include the following.
A corporation that undertakes an equity offering invariably incurs a number of expenses such as:
- Underwriters', lawyers' and accountants'
- Costs of printing the prospectus and share certificates.
- Costs related to marketing the offering to potential
In general, a corporation can deduct these expenses, on a straight-line basis over a five-year period, pro-rated to the number of days in a tax year. Other expenses may be fully deductible in the year incurred, including transfer agent fees, stock exchange listing fees, financial reporting-related fees and business representation fees.
Loss of status as a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC)
CCPCs are entitled to various tax benefits under the Income Tax Act (Canada), including favourable tax treatment of stock options and a reduced tax rate for small businesses. When a company becomes public (due to either listing shares on a designated stock exchange or merging with or being acquired by an existing public company), it, and any subsidiaries, lose their status as a CCPC, resulting in a loss of the above tax benefits. If the corporation issuing and listing securities is a CCPC, in its pre-IPO planning, it should consider taking advantage of these benefits before losing its CCPC status.
Loss of certain tax-free dividends
Only private corporations are entitled to distribute tax-free capital dividends. Once a corporation has completed an IPO, it will be unable to distribute such dividends, and should consider clearing out its capital dividend account before going public.
Capital gains exemption
Holders of "qualified small business corporation shares" may be eligible for a one-time enhanced capital gains exemption on the disposition of such shares. This exemption permits up to Can$750,000 of the gain from the disposition to be realised tax-free. In general, "qualified small business corporation" status will be lost when a corporation ceases to be a CCPC. Accordingly, to use this exemption, shareholders may wish to consider crystallising accrued gains in the shares of the corporation before the IPO.
19. Please outline the main areas of continuing obligations applicable to listed companies and the legislation that applies. Consider:
- Periodic financial reporting.
- Other disclosure obligations.
- Significant transactions and related party
- Any significant shareholder voting restrictions.
National Instrument 51-102, Continuous Disclosure Obligations, outlines the majority of an issuer's responsibilities to continuously disclose the following items.
Periodic financial reporting
Annual financial statements including management discussion and analysis (MD&A). The annual financial statements are typically contained in an issuer's annual report, which will also include a report to the issuer's shareholders together with MD&A of the current financial situation and operating results of the issuer. All these documents, together with the issuer's annual information form on the business and operations of the issuer, must be filed with securities regulators, as prescribed by applicable securities legislation and stock exchange rules and regulations, within 90 days of each financial year-end.
Unaudited interim financial statements. Unaudited interim financial statements must be prepared for each of the first three quarterly periods of each fiscal year. The interim financial statements, along with the accompanying MD&A, must be sent to each shareholder who requests a copy, and filed with securities regulators and stock exchanges within 45 days of the relevant quarter end. The CEO and CFO of most listed issuers must certify that the issuer's annual and interim filings contain no misrepresentations, as well as certifying certain matters regarding the issuer's disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting.
Annual meeting. The TSX requires each of its listed issuers to hold an annual meeting of shareholders within six months of its fiscal year-end, at which, in addition to any special business shareholders:
- Review the issuer's financial statements for the most
recent fiscal year.
- Elect the issuer's directors.
- Appoint the issuer's auditors for the ensuing period.
Before holding its annual meeting of shareholders, the issuer must prepare and send to each shareholder a notice of the meeting, a copy of its annual financial statements and proxy solicitation materials.
Insider reporting. An issuer's insiders, including its directors, officers and significant shareholders, must prepare, file and regularly update "insider reports" with securities regulators, disclosing their relationships with, and shareholdings of, the issuer, including any changes to their ownership of the issuer's shares.
Other disclosure obligations
Press releases and material change reports. If a material change occurs in the issuer's affairs, the issuer must immediately issue a press release and file a material change report with securities regulators within ten days. Additionally, the issuer must notify and, in certain circumstances, obtain the prior consent of its stock exchange for any proposed material change in its business or affairs. The TSX requires listed issuers to disclose "material information", which is considered to be broader than a "material change".
Business acquisition reports. A business acquisition report tells investors about significant business acquired and their effect on the issuer. The report must be filed within 75 days of the acquisition. It must include the acquired business's historical financial statements, and the issuer's pro forma financial statements, including those of the acquired business.
Significant transactions and related party transactions
Ontario and Québec have rules applicable to certain business transactions involving the company's insiders or related parties. Insider bids and related party transactions may require the following, unless an exemption is available:
- Additional disclosure.
- Review and approval by an independent committee of the
- A formal valuation prepared by an independent financial
- Approval by the "majority of the minority" of the
company's shareholders (that is, approval by 50% of the shares
voted that are held by shareholders other than the insider or
Applicable corporate statutes govern the level of shareholder approval required for specified significant transactions. Certain corporate steps require shareholder approval by way of special resolution (that is, two thirds of the shares voted at a meeting). These matters include amalgamation, changing jurisdiction, sale of all or substantially all assets, and winding-up.
For specified transactions, the securities or TSX rules may require shareholder approval by a group in addition to that required by corporate law. See the discussion of insider bids and related party transactions above. Other examples include TSX requirements that equity-based compensation plans, such as option plans, be approved by a majority of the shares other than those held by persons who may receive options. A shareholder rights plan ("poison pill") must be approved by a majority vote of shares held other than by persons who hold 20% or more of the company's shares.
Shareholder voting restrictions
The TSX rules require shareholder approval if more than 25% of outstanding shares would be issued as consideration for an acquisition.
To view this article in full click here.
The content of this article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on in that way. Specific advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.