The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) has been granted more legal authority from the Prince Edward Island Office of the Superintendent of Securities that will enable the regulator to more effectively discipline wrongdoers.

Through the Supreme Court of PEI, the IIROC can now collect fines from those it has disciplined. It will also be able to have better access to witnesses and improve evidence-gathering for its disciplinary hearings, explained the regulator in an announcement Jan. 31. These new powers were granted by the Superintendent through an authorization order.

Quebec and Alberta

In addition to PEI, the IIROC can also collect fines through the courts in Quebec and Alberta. In Alberta, the IIROC can require the cooperation of witnesses for hearings in the province.

Previously, to collect fines from individuals through the Supreme Court of PEI, the IIROC had to get approval from Superintendent of Securities on a case-by-case basis. The regulator’s prosecutions generally involve unsuitable investment advice resulting in financial loss. Oftentimes these cases involve seniors and the vulnerable.

Just 20 per cent of fines collected

Nationally, only 20 per cent of the $4.5 million the IIROC levied last year was collected. Since 2008, the IIROC is owed $30 million in unpaid fines. The collection rate, however, is significantly higher in provinces where the IIROC has the power to collect fines directly through the courts.

“IIROC continues to encourage provincial and territorial governments across the country to make legislative changes that will strengthen our ability to protect investors,” said Andrew Kriegler, President and CEO of the IIROC. “Canadian investors and our capital markets deserve nothing less.”