ASC adds a whistleblower program to its enforcement toolbox


The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has announced the creation of its whistleblower program and the Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) through the adoption of ASC Policy 15-602 Whistleblower Program and accompanying amendments to the Securities Act (Alberta) (contained within Bill 20).

The program allows whistleblowers to safely and easily report potential breaches of Alberta securities laws. A whistleblower is an employee, including a person who is a contractor or a director of that organization, who voluntarily provides information to the ASC about an alleged securities law violation by their employer.

This program enables whistleblowers to provide critical information about securities misconduct with increased confidentiality protections and without fear of repercussion,” said Stan Magidson, Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “Designed to encourage compliance with securities laws and help identify and address misconduct in our capital market as early as possible, the ASC’s whistleblower program will enable us to intervene, investigate, and minimize harm to investors.

Employees are encouraged to provide good faith tips on securities-related misconduct by their employer, which can be a person or company. Tips could include information on insider trading, market manipulation, fraud, or issues relating to corporate disclosure or financial statements.

Along with new mechanisms and processes to make reporting easier, the program provides rigorous protections for whistleblowers. These include:

  • Heightened protection of the identity of whistleblowers. New provisions in the Securities Act (Alberta) mandate that a whistleblower’s identity is confidential and can only be disclosed in limited circumstances.
  • Protection from reprisal. It is against the law to take a reprisal against an employee, or a relative of the employee, for acting as a whistleblower to the ASC. Examples of a reprisal include dismissal from employment, demotion or harassment, among others. This protection is further strengthened by the

ASC’s ability to take enforcement action in the event a reprisal occurs. The Securities Act establishes civil liability for an employer, or fellow employee, who takes a reprisal against a whistleblower.

The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province’s securities laws. It is entrusted with fostering a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and with protecting investors. As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada’s capital markets.

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