The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is proposing a change to its whistleblower program that would restrict the ability of corporate counsel to collect a reward for reporting suspected misconduct to the regulator.
Launched in 2016, the OSC’s whistleblower program offers financial rewards for tips that lead to significant enforcement action.
The proposed amendment aims to clarify that in-house lawyers can’t collect an award from the OSC for reporting information in violation of law society rules.
“In-house counsel acting in a legal capacity would be ineligible for an OSC whistleblower award unless the disclosure would otherwise be permitted under applicable law society rules,” the OSC says in its notice and request for comment.
If counsel learn about misconduct when they are not acting in a professional capacity, they would still be eligible for an award. ” … counsel would have to consider when, how and in what capacity they acquired the subject information,” the notice says.
The proposed change follows feedback from the Law Society of Ontario, the OSC says.
The proposal is out for a 60-day comment period. Comments are due by March 20.