The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has established a task force to root out rules and regulatory processes that could be eliminated or revised in order to reduce the regulatory burden on the securities industry, investors and issuers.
The OSC set out its plans in a staff notice published on Monday that follows through on an announcement made late last year in which Canada’s largest provincial regulator stated it would be looking for ways to ease the costs of regulatory compliance without compromising investor protection.
The initiative comes in the wake of last year’s election of a new Progressive Conservative government in Ontario, which has made cutting regulation one of its central objectives. In fact, the government has stated that it’s seeking to reduce the volume of regulation overall by 25% by 2022.
“We are launching a wide-ranging consultation, with the support of our government, to identify new actions we can take to save time and money for Ontario businesses by eliminating rules and requirements that are outdated or unduly burdensome,” said Maureen Jensen, chairwoman and CEO of the OSC, in a statement accompanying the notice. “Our markets and businesses are better able to compete, innovate and flourish when we lighten the regulatory load, while maintaining strong protections for Ontario investors.”
The OSC’s notice sets out areas in which the regulator believes it could curb regulation, such as scrapping rules that have become outdated, streamlining disclosure requirements and making operational changes within its various branches to enhance or speed up its day-to-day dealings with the industry.
“The task force will review the interface between our regulatory requirements and investors to see if there are ways to enhance and improve how investors experience disclosure provided: before they invest; as part of ongoing public disclosure; and by registrants as required,” the OSC’s notice states. “We are also interested in any suggestions for improving the investor experience by modernizing the information provided to investors or other interactions that investors have with issuers or registrants because of regulatory requirements, which could include further efforts to promote the use of plain language in regulatory disclosure.”
The OSC is seeking feedback on its plans by March 1 and will also hold a public hearing on March 27 to discuss the ideas that are raised during the consultation.
“The roundtable will provide an opportunity to discuss submissions made to the OSC during the comment period and to engage in an open discussion about the proposals being considered and any issues identified,” the OSC’s notice states.
Following these consultations, the OSC will announce its specific plans for action.
“After considering all suggestions received, along with input from ongoing external consultations and from its 10 advisory committees, the OSC will identify a series of short, medium and long-term actions to reduce regulatory burden,” the OSC’s notice states.