Canadian securities regulators relax filing rules amid virus outbreak

The unified response means investors may have to wait for some information from issuers and funds

Canadian securities regulators relax filing rules amid virus outbreak
Steve Randall

Investors may find that financial statements and other important information will not be available when expected due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Canadian Securities Administrators has announced blanket relief from some regulatory filings due on or before June 1, 2020.

This means that periodic filings normally required to be made by issuers, investment funds, registrants, certain regulated entities and designated rating organizations can be up to 45 days later than expected.

"The CSA is ready to take action where necessary to ensure market participants have the flexibility they need to focus on critical business decisions while managing risks to their employees, investors, customers and other stakeholders," said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. "We remain focused on investor protection as we adjust our regulatory expectations during this trying time."

The CSA says that issuers opting to rely on this exemption will not need to file applications for management cease trade orders as they will not be noted in default, as long as they are complying with the conditions of the relief. Further details are still to come.

Virtual securityholder meetings
The CSA also noted that some issuers are considering virtual securityholder meetings to assist with social distancing.

It said that it will soon publish guidance on how to manage annual general meetings during the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, IIROC has confirmed to the CSA that volatility controls are functioning as expected in temporarily pausing declines while still allowing orderly price discovery to continue.