man doing bicep curls

The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) will be better equipped to investigate and sanction white collar crime thanks to a slate of new legislative changes, the provincial government says.

The government unveiled a series of proposed revisions to various provincial laws that, among other things, aim to beef up the BCSC’s enforcement capabilities.

The proposed changes, which have passed first reading, include enhancing the BCSC’s investigative powers by giving it the ability to impose consequences (penalties up to $1 million) on witnesses that refuse to provide evidence being sought by the commission.

It is also making it easier for the BCSC to collect sanctions by enabling it to enforce orders to collect from offenders’ pension funds, and to pursue court orders against people convicted of criminal offences involving securities.

“People want to know that the investment market is fair and honest — it’s money people count on for their retirement or their children’s future,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C.’s minister of finance, in a release.

“By strengthening protections against fraudsters, we’re making sure the B.C. Securities Commission continues to have the tools it needs to ensure the rules are being followed and people’s financial well-being is protected,” she added.

“These amendments will give the B.C. Securities Commission better tools to go after the bad actors who harm investors and undermine confidence in the investment market,” said Brenda Leong, chair and CEO of the BCSC.

“By augmenting the consequences for those who impede our investigations and enhancing our ability to collect penalties, British Columbians will be better protected,” she said.