Feds launch consultation on tax proposals

A Senate report calls on the federal government to dismantle internal trade and regulatory barriers in a number of areas, including securities regulation.

The report on internal trade barriers, published Wednesday by the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, argues that the federal government should make removing these sorts of impediments to inter-provincial trade a priority. Among the sectors covered in the report is the securities industry, where the report says that a national regulator is needed.

“[The federal government] must continue with its efforts for a national securities regulator, which has been a goal for more than half a century,” the Senate report says.

Although the report acknowledges that the idea of a national regulator has been in the works for 50 years, it also says that, “Canada is not appreciably closer today to realizing this goal than it was five decades ago …”

Indeed, the latest effort to create a voluntary national regulator, the Co-operative Capital Markets Regulator (CCMR) initiative, remains a work in progress. Earlier this year, the participants in the CCMR published a revised draft of proposed federal legislation, and last year revised provincial legislation was published, along with draft rules. However, certain elements of the proposed new regime, including an interface with provinces that do not participate, has yet to be published and the fall 2016 deadline for the launch of the new authority seems unlikely.

A deal between the federal government and interested provincial/territorial governments “may be a first step” towards a national regulator, the Senate report says, and it hopes all of the provinces would choose to participate in the system once they see a co-operative regulator working successfully.

To that end, the report Senate recommends that, “the federal government conclude an agreement with provincial/territorial governments that wish to participate in a securities regulation regime that includes a number of jurisdictions.”

“The existing passport system … should continue to exist for provincial/territorial governments that do not wish to participate in the proposed securities regulation regime at this time,” the report adds.

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