Canada’s largest capital markets watchdog kicked off a broad consultation Monday aimed at reducing costly and outdated rules and lightening the regulatory burden on companies.
The aim is “to identify new actions we can take to save time and money for Ontario businesses by eliminating rules and requirements that are outdated or unduly burdensome,” said Maureen Jensen, chair of the Ontario Securities Commission.
“Our markets and businesses are better able to compete, innovate and flourish when we lighten the regulatory load, while maintaining strong protections for Ontario investors,” she said in a statement.
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Jensen, who earlier announced the creation of a “burden reduction” task force in November, said key area of focus for the OSC’s consultation would target rules that may have become outdated or unnecessary, and look for opportunities to “streamline and improve” disclosure to investors, who she said ultimately bear the cost of unnecessary or outdated regulations.
The OSC has a dual mandate to protect investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, and to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in them.
On Monday, Jensen noted that the consultation is being done “with the support of our government.”
Friction between the OSC and the provincial government of Doug Ford became evident in October when the Conservative finance minister Vic Fedeli issued a statement saying the Ford government did not agree with a regulatory plan rolled out that day to ban certain types of fund fees.
However, as Jensen pointed out on Monday, the OSC’s plans to reduce the regulatory burden on companies pre-dates Ford’s election as premier of Ontario in June of 2018.
In April of 2017, the Canadian Securities Administrators, an umbrella organization that includes the OSC, announced a similar review that was “to identify and consider areas of securities regulation … that could benefit from a reduction of undue regulatory burden.”
At that time, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump was seeking to review and possibly repeal a raft of regulations, including some put in place in the United States after the 2008 financial crisis to rein in the activities of the country’s banks.
Jensen has also mentioned the prospect of reducing the amount of paperwork required of companies to level the playing field with processes being put in place for a new breed of technology-driven firms in the financial sector.
Jensen said the latest OSC initiative would build on efforts undertaken in Canada since 2016, including the CSA consultations on regulatory burden reduction.
The OSC will accept written comments from interested stakeholders until March 1 that lay out what the market watchdog should consider to reduce the regulatory burden. A roundtable will be convened on March 27 to discuss suggestions received during the comment period.
“After considering all suggestions received, along with input from ongoing external consultations and from its ten advisory committees, the OSC will identify a series of short, medium and long-term actions to reduce regulatory burden,” the regulator said in Monday’s statement.