businessman working with laptop and cell phone

Canadian securities regulators are considering whether to introduce an “access equals delivery” approach to investor disclosure for foundational documents such as prospectuses and financial statements.

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) published a consultation paper on Thursday to solicit views on reforming public company disclosure requirements to allow companies to meet their obligations by alerting investors to the availability of regulatory filings on the SEDAR system and company websites.

This sort of model could “significantly reduce regulatory burden” on issuers and “enhance the accessibility of information for investors,” the consultation paper states.

The paper argues that an access equals delivery model could benefit both issuers and investors by easing communication.

“This model could further facilitate the communication of information by enabling issuers to reach more investors in a faster, more cost-effective and more environmentally friendly manner,” it states.

Electronic documents are more easily accessed and searchable by investors, compared with traditional paper filings, the paper notes.

“Our objective is to modernize the way documents are made available to investors and significantly reduce costs associated with the printing and mailing of documents,” the paper adds.

To start, the CSA is looking to adopting this approach for prospectuses and certain continuous disclosure documents, such as financial statements.

“We recognize that electronic access to documents facilitates more efficient communication with investors, and reduces regulatory burden for issuers,” says Louis Morisset, chair of the CSA and president and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), in a statement.

“Through this consultation, we will evaluate options for enhancing electronic access to documents, without compromising investor protections,” he adds.

The CSA paper is out for a 60-day comment period to March 9.