Halifax, Nova Scotia, Waterfront

Nova Scotia legislation proclaimed Friday strengthens investor protection, and safeguards seniors and vulnerable retail investors, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) says.

With the passage of Bill 67, Nova Scotia is the third province to give IIROC the full enforcement toolkit, joining Alberta and Quebec.

Although a number of provinces have recently adopted reforms giving IIROC the ability to use the courts to enforce penalties ordered against individuals, the Nova Scotia Securities Act amendments also bolster the evidence-collection powers  of the self-regulatory organization (SRO) and provide it with immunity from civil lawsuits while acting in good faith.

As a result, the amendments provide IIROC with “the legal authority to more effectively and consistently enforce its rules and discipline those who break them, sending a powerful message of deterrence to potential wrongdoers,” the SRO says in a news release.

“These amendments to Nova Scotia’s securities legislation ensure that IIROC is in a better position to deter wrongdoers from taking advantage of seniors and their hard-earned retirement savings,” said Laura Tamblyn Watts, national director of law, policy and research, with advocacy group CARP, in a statement.

Overall, across Canada in 2017, seniors represented almost 40% of all cases reviewed by IIROC and approximately 30% of prosecutions, the SRO says.

“IIROC continues discussions with other jurisdictions to achieve a stronger, more consistent level of investor protection from coast to coast,” says the SRO.