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Ministry of Finance

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Amendments to the Securities Act

The B.C. government has introduced the first major amendments to the Securities Act in almost a decade.

The amendments increase the fine enforcement and collection capabilities of the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC), develop a regulatory regime for over-the-counter derivatives, and modernize and strengthen the legislative framework for securities in B.C.

Amendments to improve enforcement include:

  • increasing maximum fine and jail term amounts and introducing minimum sentences for people who are convicted of significant offences multiple times;
  • expanding the BCSC’s investigative powers, including powers to obtain information;
  • strengthening obligations and sanctions relating to records;
  • adding an ability to order administrative monetary penalties without a hearing for contraventions of regulations or decisions; and
  • adding protection for whistleblowers.

Amendments to improve the BCSC’s collection powers include:

  • providing the BCSC with enhanced powers to freeze and seize property transferred by fraudsters to third parties for below market value;
  • allowing the BCSC to direct the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) to refuse to issue or renew a driver’s licence or licence plates; and
  • allowing the BCSC to seize registered retirement savings plans.

Amendments to establish a new regime for derivatives include:

  • references to the following:
    • representations (e.g., false and misleading);
    • prohibitions on making certain representations about derivatives, underlying interests of derivatives, benchmarks or benchmark administrators;
    • manipulation and fraud;
    • right of action against a person required to send a prescribed disclosure document;
    • halt trading orders;
    • enforcement orders (e.g. cease-trade and disgorgement); and
    • regulation-making powers.
  • providing a clear power to regulate trade repositories; and
  • providing the BCSC with the ability to regulate benchmarks consistent with the framework for regulating benchmarks that is already established in other jurisdictions across Canada.

Amendments to modernize the act include:

  • expanding the BCSC’s powers with respect to corporate transactions;
  • modernizing the prohibition on securities registrants using another registrant’s name;
  • ensuring that B.C.’s regime for civil liability aligns with all other jurisdictions in Canada; and
  • general housekeeping.

The amendments will come into force through regulation.