BCSC launches whistleblower program

Provincial regulator to pay up to $250,000 to eligible tipsters for information on fraud and other misconduct

BCSC launches whistleblower program

The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) will soon be paying whistleblowers in cases of fraud and other grievous market misconduct.

In a statement, the provincial regulator said the program is specifically tailored for BC’s investment market.

The BCSC said it will pay awards for tips and information that leads to enforcement actions including a halt trade order, issuing formal allegations, sanctions following a hearing, a settlement agreement, and identification and location of assets of people who have been ordered to pay financial sanctions.

“Often, people who break the law in the investment market or evade our sanctions can’t do it without others noticing,” Brenda Leong, the BCSC’s Chair and CEO, said in a statement. “The BCSC always encourages people to report suspicious activity, and we think these awards provide an added incentive for people to contact us and provide information that will help make our market more honest and fair.”

Under the program, awards will be paid out ranging from $1,000 to $250,000. Whistleblowers could also receive more than one award for the same information, with a maximum payout cap of $500,000.

The amount awarded – to be determined by the BCSC’s executive director – will be based on how quickly the information was provided, how significant an impact the information had to the enforcement outcome, and the seriousness of the market misconduct in question, among other considerations.

The provincial regulator acknowledged other market regulators may offer higher larger whistleblower awards, it pledged to pay out for more enforcement awards and disburse awards more quickly.

“The more valuable your information is, the more we may pay you,” Leong said.

Tips can be called in, mailed, or completed online through a special online portal. Informants can make their own submissions or get the assistance of a lawyer. Whistleblowers also have the option to file anonymously, but must disclose their true identity to the BCSC before they can receive an award.

“Whistleblowers are protected from reprisal by British Columbia’s Securities Act, which prohibits retaliation that is solely the result of a person providing information to the BCSC,” the regulator said.