Changes may be on the horizon as the government of Ontario
engages in a comprehensive review of the regulation of financial
services. These initiatives could lead to major shifts in the
province's regulatory landscape and require further compliance
efforts by businesses.
1. Financial Planners and Advisors
A four-member expert committee has been tasked
with proposing a regulatory framework for individuals offering
financial planning and advising services. Currently, Ontario has no
overall legal framework for this sector. The committee will
consider the need for licensing and registration requirements, the
regulation of titles and designations, and a central registry of
financial planners and advisers. The committee has released an initial consultation document, and their final
report is due next year.
2. FSCO/FST/DICO Mandates
The Minister of Finance has also appointed a three-member expert panel (including Osler
partner Larry Ritchie) to review the mandates of the Financial
Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), the Financial Services
Tribunal (FST) and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario
(DICO). Through a consultation paper released in April 2015, the
panel sought public input on several issues including whether DICO
should continue to exist as a separate agency, and whether there
should be a clearer separation between FST and FSCO in order to
avoid perceived conflict of interest. Public consultation ended in
June, and the government expects the panel's report to be
completed by early next winter.
3. Credit Union Legislation
Final recommendations from a review of the Credit Unions and Caisses
Populaires Act, 1994 (CUCPA) are expected to be provided to the
government this fall. Among other thing, the review considered
governance, consumer protection, and the roles of regulators. This
is the first five-year review since that provision was enacted. The
review involved a public consultation period last winter.
4. Business Legislation
In June 2015, a 13-member expert panel (including Osler partner
Terry Burgoyne) submitted a report containing 16 recommendations for
reforming Ontario's business legislation. Some of the more
significant recommendations include:
establishing a formal process to
regularly review and update corporate and commercial statutes;
expanding the availability of limited
liability partnerships to a wider number of professions;
permitting incorporation of unlimited
liability corporations; and
modernizing legislation dealing with
secured lending and other commercial activity.
Ontario is seeking public feedback on the report until
October 16, 2015. After that time, and based on the feedback they
receive, the government plans to develop a "reform
agenda" to modernize corporate and commercial law in
5. Alternative Financial Services Regulation
On June 15, 2015, the government published a consultation paper on strengthening the
protection for consumers with debts in collection and consumers of
"alternative financial services" (such as payday loans,
cheque cashing, rent-to-own arrangements, instalment loans, money
transfer services, and pawn-broking). The consultation paper makes
a number of specific proposals such as imposing a limit on the
number of payday loans a borrower can take out in a year. The
government will use feedback from interested stakeholders to
prepare recommendations on how best to protect consumers in these
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