Canada: Bill 141 Adopted, Reforming The Quebec Financial Sector Legal Framework

The Quebec National Assembly finally adopted An Act mainly to improve the regulation of the financial sector, the protection of deposits of money and the operation of financial institutions ("Bill 141") on June 13, 2018, after months of hearings and several years of consultation with the Quebec financial sector. The main purpose of the  omnibus bill is to modernize the regulation of the financial sector and improve consumer protection by amending several laws governing the financial sector.

Bill 141 was initially introduced in the National Assembly by Quebec's Minister of Finance, Carlos J. Leitão, on October 5, 2017. After public consultations in December 2017 and January 2018, Bill 141 was referred to the Public Finance Committee for a clause-by-clause review. The Committee tabled a report on its detailed review on June 12, 2018, proposing hundreds of amendments to Bill 141, as presented in October 2017. The most significant amendments to the initial bill are that two self-regulatory organizations, the Chambre de la sécurité financière and the Chambre de l'assurance de dommages, will continue rather than be integrated into the Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF").

Bill 141 was adopted and received assent on June 13, 2018, two days before the close of the parliamentary session. It replaces or substantially amends more than a dozen laws governing the Quebec financial sector. In principle, the provisions of Bill 141 come into force on July 13, 2018, one month after the date of assent. However, there are a number of exceptions to this principle, some more significant than others.

Certain of the significant changes to the key laws governing the financial sector and important exceptions to the June 13, 2018, entry into force date are described below.

1. Act respecting insurance

  • Replaced by the new Insurers Act, which introduces regulations for the online distribution of insurance products and new governance rules.
  • Comes into force in principle on June 13, 2019, one year after assent.

2. Act respecting financial services cooperatives

  • Adds a chapter on the Groupe coopératif Desjardins, replacing an Act respecting the Mouvement Desjardins, so that the Group complies with international standards on systemically important financial institutions.
  • Strengthens financial solidarity among the cooperatives of the Mouvement Desjardins to protect the cooperative group's capitalization and clarifies the powers of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec.

3. Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services

  • Allows firms to offer certain financial products and services by technological means to facilitate distribution.

4. Act respecting the Autorité des Marchés Financiers

  • New name: Act respecting the regulation of the financial sector.
  • Introduces a new protection regime for whistle-blowers. For more information, click here to see our previous article on this subject..
  • Provides for the creation of a Comité consultatif des consommateurs de produits et utilisateurs de services financiers.
  • Provisions relating to the protection regime for whistle-blowers came into force on June 13, 2018, i.e., the date of assent.

5. Deposit Insurance Act

  • New name: Deposit Institutions and Deposit Protection Act.
  • Substantially amended.
  • Sets out new rules regarding the business practices and governance of deposit institutions and rules governing resolution in the event of default of a deposit institution.
  • Date on which most of the changes come into force: June 13, 2019, one year after assent.

6. Trust Companies and Savings Companies Act

  • Replaced by a new act that will have the same name.
  • Sets out rules governing trust companies and savings companies similar to the regime proposed by the Insurers Act.
  • Comes into force in principle on June 13, 2019, one year after assent.

7. Derivatives Act

  • Adds derivatives trading platforms to regulated entities.
  • Adds rules governing complaint processing.
  • Most of the changes come into force on the date or dates set by the government.

8. Securities Act

  • Sets out restrictions on sharing commissions received by a mutual fund dealer or scholarship plan dealer.

9. Real Estate Brokerage Act

  • Clarifies the concept of real estate brokerage contracts.
  • Transfers supervision and control of mortgage brokerage to the AMF.
  • Amends the composition of and rules for appointing members to the board of directors of the Organisme d'autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec and the term of office of members of the discipline committee.
  • For more information, click here to see our previous article on this subject.

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