Recent ruling confirms constitutionality of Alberta Securities Commission

Recent ruling confirms constitutionality of Alberta Securities Commission

Overlooked in the eastern parts of the country is a recent ruling by the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta that confirms the constitutionality of the ability of the Alberta Securities Commission to impose fines and imprison people guilty of violating the Securities Act of the province.

Three people in the province facing charges of fraud and misrepresentation under the Alberta Securities Act challenged the constitutionality of the provisions. The argument was that the ability to impose criminal law powers was the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government. In May 2013, the Provincial Court dismissed the original application. The more recent ruling of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta upholds the earlier ruling. The ASC can impose penal sanctions, including heavy fines and imprisonment. These powers are within the constitutional powers of the Province of Alberta.

When asked if "this ruling strengthens the powers of provincial regulators" ASC spokesperson, Mark Dickey, suggested a better way to put it is that the ruling "confirms" the powers of the provincial securities regulators. Arguably, the ruling will come up in future debates about a national securities regulator.