OSC launches Office of the Whistleblower

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has launched the Office of the Whistleblower, the first paid whistleblower program by a securities regulator in Canada. The OSC also published OSC Policy 15-601 Whistleblower Program, which outlines the program’s eligibility criteria and reflects input received from stakeholders on the program.

The OSC’s whistleblower program offers compensation of up to $5 million to individuals who come forward with tips that lead to enforcement action. The program accepts tips on possible violations of Ontario securities law, including illegal insider trading, market manipulation, and accounting and disclosure violations.

Maureen Jensen, OSC

Maureen Jensen, OSC

Maureen Jensen, Chair and CEO of the OSC said:

Our whistleblower program is a powerful addition to our enforcement arsenal and a game-changer for securities enforcement in Canada. The program will enhance our ability to protect investors and achieve better outcomes for our markets by helping us identify and pursue violations of securities law that may only come to light through a whistleblower.”

The program has in place and offers important whistleblower protections. Whistleblowers can report anonymously, and the OSC will make all reasonable efforts to protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers. Anti-reprisal provisions have been added to the Securities Act (Ontario), allowing the OSC to take enforcement action against employers who retaliate against whistleblowers and rendering as unenforceable contractual provisions designed to silence a whistleblower.

The Office of the Whistleblower is now open to accept tips through its website at officeofthewhistleblower.ca.

The mandate of the OSC is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices and to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in the capital markets.

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