Words to the Wise

Canada’s fractured system of securities regulation is not in sync with market participants and is seriously out of step with the rest of the world. Major reforms are required, including the need for a national securities regulator. These recommendations were contained in a 97-page report delivered to federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale. The report, the result of almost a year of intensive research, was generated by a special independent body known as the Wise Person’s Committee and was released Dec.17.

Right: Mary Condon

Osgoode Hall Law School Professors Mary Condon and Poonam Puri were independent researchers for the committee. The committee in its deliberations used their reports along with those generated by eight other research teams.

Left: Poonam Puri

Condon was commissioned to prepare an independent research study on enforcement activity and the securities regulatory structure. Puri was commissioned to conduct a study on local and regional interests and markets in the debate on an optimal securities regulatory structure.

Former finance minister John Manley established the Wise Person’s Committee last February, charged with a mandate to review the structure of Canada’s securities markets. The committee’s report, titled It’s Time, was delivered this week to Manley’s replacement, Ralph Goodale.

The report is a response to criticism of what is seen as the inadequate enforcement, undue complexity, excessive cost and weak international profile of Canada’s current regulatory system of 13 provincial and territorial regulators.

It recommends establishment of a Canadian Securities Commission (CSC), which would consist of nine full-time, regionally representative commissioners appointed by the minister of finance. A 13-person nominating committee would have 10 members designated by the provinces, and provincial ministers would have a say in policy.  The CSC would administer a comprehensive code of capital markets regulation to be enacted by the federal government. 

According to the committee, the single regulator proposal would significantly strengthen enforcement, facilitate better policy innovation and development, and enhance Canada’s brand of securities regulation internationally. Moreover, it would establish clear lines of accountability, ensure responsiveness to regional needs, provide for uniform investor protection across Canada and facilitate the reallocation of substantial funds towards better enforcement and other pressing regulatory issues.

About Mary Condon

Condon has been a faculty member at Osgoode Hall Law School for 10 years. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto. Her areas of research and teaching expertise are securities law, economic regulation, corporate law, pension policy and socio-legal studies. She is the Director of Osgoode Hall’s part-time LLM program specializing in securities law. Condon received her law degree from Trinity College, Dublin, and her MA (Criminology), LLM and SJD. from the University of Toronto. She received the Alan Marks Medal from the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto for her doctoral thesis. She is a member of the Bar of Ontario.

About Poonam Puri

An associate professor of law at Osgoode, Puri is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law (LL.B. Silver Medalist) and Harvard Law School (LLM). She articled at Torys and was a summer associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton and Garrison in New York. Puri’s research expertise is in corporate governance, corporate law, securities law, corporate and white-collar crime, bankruptcy law, and law and economics. She was recently a visiting professor at Cornell Law School and is a recipient of the Osgoode Hall Law School Teaching Award.