From the Regulators

Saskatchewan, New Brunswick agree to join cooperative regulator

By James Langton |

The voluntary effort to create a national securities regulator gathered a little more steam today, with Saskatchewan and New Brunswick agreeing to join British Columbia, Ontario, and the federal government in the initiative.

The addition of two new provinces to the plan to create a new Cooperative Capital Market Regulator (CCMR) marks its first sign of progress since it was first unveiled last September. The two other major provinces, in terms of securities markets, Alberta and Quebec, recently reiterated their opposition to the federal effort, as did Manitoba. And, until now, none of the other provinces have been willing to declare whether they would join the federal effort, or continue to work at improving the current provincial system.

This morning, however, Saskatchewan's Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Gordon Wyant, and New Brunswick's Minister of Justice, Troy Lifford, signed an agreement to join the CCMR. To get their buy in, the participating provinces amended their agreement in principle give the smaller provinces a greater voice within the new regulator.

For example, the revised deal adds two deputy chief regulators, one to represent the smaller Western provinces and territories (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon, if they participate); and, one to represent the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island). These new deputies will initially be based in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick for five-year terms. They are in addition to the deputy chief regulators based in B.C. and Ontario, and in Alberta and Quebec, if they ever decide to join.

Additionally, the model has been revised to ensure further provincial power by providing that each regulatory office would be led by a director with the responsibility to carry out its regulatory functions and contribute to the development of national policies; the nominating committees for the CCMR board and independent adjudicative tribunal will include representation from both major and other participating jurisdictions; and, a transition plan will be developed to ensure the existing securities regulators will be integrated into the new authority.

The amended agreement also outlines a mechanism for the regulator to accommodate provincial economic development initiatives. And, it provides that major changes to the system require unanimous approval for the first three years of the CCMR's operation, and two-thirds approval after that.

The ministers are now targeting the fall of 2015 to create the new authority, and have set August 29 as the deadline for executing a memorandum of agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the new cooperative system, along with draft legislation. The initial draft regulations are due December 19, and they are targeting June 30, 2015, to get all of the required legislation passed.

"Today's agreement is a major step towards a single regulator, national in scope, that will enhance Canada's capital markets," said federal Finance Minister, Joe Oliver, in announcing the agreement. "The addition of Saskatchewan and New Brunswick to the Cooperative System shows our momentum. I call on all provinces and territories to embrace the spirit of nation-building and join us in forging a stronger economic partnership — creating jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity for all Canadians."