Saskatchewan legislative assembly
Adobe stock / Kevin Daugherty

With the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) proposal to introduce binding dispute resolution authority overdue, the government in Saskatchewan has tabled legislation that would do just that.

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Earlier this month, the provincial government introduced a bill that aims to boost investor protection by sharply increasing the maximum penalty for securities violations from $100,000 to $1 million. It would also enhance regulatory enforcement powers and enable the designation of an independent dispute resolution service with binding authority to enforce its compensation recommendations.

The CSA has promised to publish a proposal that would give the Ombudsman for Banking Services Investments (OBSI) binding authority but has yet to follow through on the pledge.

Now, Saskatchewan is proposing legislative amendments that would enable the Financial Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) to designate an independent dispute resolution service that has the power to make orders that are binding on the parties to the complaint — including orders for compensation and that require revising practices or correcting information.

Under the proposed legislation, these binding orders could be enforced as a court decision, and while the orders are not subject to appeal, they may face judicial review.

Alongside the proposed changes to dispute resolution, the government said that boosting the maximum penalty for securities violations will create a more effective deterrent, and more closely align Saskatchewan’s regime with other Canadian jurisdictions.

The proposal would also enhance the FCAA’s enforcement capabilities, including giving it the power to order the removal of information that contravenes securities laws from a website or social media page.

“These proposed amendments will build on current investor protection measures, strengthen the power of dispute resolution services and enforcement powers of the provincial regulator, and increase penalties for bad actors,” said Bronwyn Eyre, Saskatchewan’s Justice Minister and Attorney General, in a release.