The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) recently announced plans to engage in a structured public consultation process as the next step in its efforts to reduce the regulatory burden for market participants. The public consultation, outlined in OSC Staff Notice 11-784: Burden Reduction, will include an opportunity for interested stakeholders to submit comments on key areas of securities regulation and participate in a roundtable discussion to be held on March 27, 2019.
The consultation is being launched as part of the OSC's Burden Reduction Task Force (Task Force), established in November 2018 by the OSC and the Ministry of Finance in support of the Government of Ontario's Open for Business Plan.
The OSC's regulatory reduction project seeks to balance the fundamental goals of providing investor protection, fostering fair and efficient capital markets, contributing to the stability of the financial system and reducing systemic risk, with the objective to eliminate rules that are outdated or unduly burdensome, to enhance competiveness for Ontario businesses by saving time and money for issuers, registrants, investors and other market participants, and to ensure that restrictions on the business and investment activities of market participants are proportionate to the significance of the regulatory objective sought to be realized.
AREAS OF FOCUS
In furtherance of, but separate from, the Canadian Securities Administrators' (CSA) burden reduction initiatives described in CSA Staff Notice 81-329 Reducing Regulatory Burden for Investment Fund Issuers and CSA Staff Notice 51-353 Update on CSA Consultation Paper 51-404 Considerations for Reducing Regulatory Burden for Non-Investment Fund Reporting Issuers (see our April 2018 Blakes Bulletin: CSA Announce Policy Projects to Reduce Regulatory Burden for Public Companies), the OSC is seeking comments from interested public stakeholders on the following:
- Are there operational or procedural changes that would make market participants' day-to-day interaction with the OSC easier or less costly?
- Are there ways in which the OSC can provide greater certainty regarding regulatory requirements or outcomes to market participants?
- Are there forms and filings that issuers, registrants or other market participants are required to submit that should be streamlined or required less frequently?
- Are there particular filings with the OSC that are unnecessary or unduly burdensome?
- Is there information that the OSC provides to market participants that could be provided more efficiently?
- Are there requirements under the OSC rules that are inconsistent with the rules of other jurisdictions and that could be harmonized?
- Are there specific requirements under Ontario securities laws that no longer serve a valid purpose?
- Are there ways to enhance and improve how investors experience disclosure provided: (i) before they invest; (ii) as part of ongoing public disclosure; and (iii) by registrants?
- Are there any other general comments on the topic of regulatory burden reduction related to securities regulation?
Comments on this initiative are due by March 1, 2019. Following the roundtable being held at the end of March and other external consultations, the OSC will look to create a series of short, medium and long-term initiatives, with an initial focus on any changes that the OSC could make on an interim basis in Ontario to assist market participants while continuing to pursue coordinated national changes. Comments are requested for new initiatives only and comments previously submitted will also be considered as part of their review of regulatory burden.
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