OSC launches Office of the Whistleblower
July 14, 2016
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) today launched the Office of the Whistleblower, the first paid whistleblower program by a securities regulator in Canada. The OSC also published OSC Policy 15-601 Whistleblower Program, which outlines the program's eligibility criteria and reflects input received from stakeholders on the program.
The OSC's whistleblower program offers compensation of up to $5 million to individuals who come forward with tips that lead to enforcement action. The program accepts tips on possible violations of Ontario securities law, including illegal insider trading, market manipulation, and accounting and disclosure violations.
"Our whistleblower program is a powerful addition to our enforcement arsenal and a game-changer for securities enforcement in Canada," said Maureen Jensen, Chair and CEO of the OSC. "The program will enhance our ability to protect investors and achieve better outcomes for our markets by helping us identify and pursue violations of securities law that may only come to light through a whistleblower."
The program has in place and offers important whistleblower protections. Whistleblowers can report anonymously, and the OSC will make all reasonable efforts to protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers. Anti-reprisal provisions have been added to the Securities Act (Ontario), allowing the OSC to take enforcement action against employers who retaliate against whistleblowers and rendering as unenforceable contractual provisions designed to silence a whistleblower.
"Our program provides significant incentives for whistleblowers to come forward and offers robust protections," said Kelly Gorman, Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower. "These protections apply even if the information provided to the OSC does not result in enforcement action or does not meet the criteria for an award."
The Office of the Whistleblower is now open to accept tips through its dedicated website at www.officeofthewhistleblower.ca. Individuals are encouraged to come forward and report possible violations of Ontario securities law. Whistleblowers can report anonymously if they are represented by a lawyer. To be eligible for an award, whistleblowers, and the information they submit, must meet specific criteria outlined in the OSC's whistleblower policy.
The mandate of the OSC is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices and to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in the capital markets. Investors are urged to check the registration of any persons or company offering an investment opportunity and to review the OSC investor materials available at www.osc.gov.on.ca
Ontario Securities Commission