The Ontario government plans changes to securities legislation to bolster the Ontario Securities Commission’s enforcement capabilities.

In the provincial budget released Tuesday, the government said it plans to propose amendments to the Securities Act to: clarify the procedures for the OSC to share investigative information with other regulatory and law enforcement authorities; allow the OSC to conduct hearings on a timelier basis; and, facilitate the commission playing a greater role in educating investors and strengthening financial literacy.

Additionally, the government said it “remains open” to working with the federal and provincial governments to restructure the regulatory framework. “This should include new discussions regarding the effectiveness of the Canadian Securities Administrators in meeting Ontario’s interests — safe, efficient and competitive capital markets for all Canadians,” it says.

The government also plans to propose legislative changes to make it easier for businesses and financial institutions to provide or obtain a first-priority security interest in cash collateral. “If enacted, these changes would support a competitive Ontario business climate, help meet Canada’s international financial reform commitments and mitigate financial system risk related to over-the-counter derivatives,” it says.
On the insurance side, the government said it remains committed to combating insurance fraud, and is working to address the initial recommendations from the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force, including providing the Superintendent of Financial Services with the power to impose administrative monetary penalties for contraventions of legislation and regulations. “The government is proposing amendments that will provide this authority in order to enhance regulatory effectiveness,” it notes.

It also plans to further enhance the effectiveness of insurance sector regulation by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario by: reviewing the automobile insurance dispute resolution system; strengthening the Superintendent’s authority regarding unfair or deceptive practices; clarifying the Superintendent’s authority regarding rate and risk classification approvals; support a Superintendent’s review of the profit provision benchmark in auto insurance rate change approvals; work with insurers to explore the implications of voluntary usage-based auto insurance policies; harmonize the timing of statutory automobile insurance reviews; and, improve solvency supervision of Ontario insurers.