Canada’s biggest securities regulator offers up serious cash in an effort to protect investors. Time will tell if this makes a difference in prosecuting wrongdoing.
The Ontario Securities Commission
(OSC) is proposing a new whistleblower program that will credit informants for providing details of wrongdoing.
The OSC released a consultation paper that cites a whistleblower could receive rewards for presenting a tip to authorities in cases where monetary sanctions or settlements of at least $1-million.
Under the rules of the program, whistleblowers could receive up to 15 per cent of the monetary sanctions and a total maximum of $1.5-million.
“We have proposed a realistic and concrete program that, in our view, needs to be put into action for the benefit of Ontario investors,” said Howard Wetston, CEO and Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, said in a release. “We see a whistleblowing program as an important enforcement tool – one that will encourage individuals with high quality information to come forward and report misconduct.”
While a dangerous practice, the OSC is optimistic that they’ll be able to protect the identity of whistleblowers and are considering legislative amendments to the Securities Act to include anti-retaliation provisions.
Among these amendments would be provisions making it a violation of the Act to retaliate against a whistleblower in the workplace and providing whistleblowers who experience workplace retaliation with a statutory right of action.
Staff are seeking input from investors, market participants and the securities litigation bar on Consultation Paper 15-401 Proposed Framework for an OSC Whistleblower Program until May 4, 2015, and intend to host a roundtable during the comment period in order to encourage further discussion, according to the OSC.