Two years after the Ontario Securities Commission launched its Whistleblower Program, it has deemed the program effective, generating about 200 tips and providing more than $368 million in compensation to investors.
The program, the first of its kind by a Canadian securities regulator, accepts tips on possible violations of Ontario securities law, offers protection for individuals who come forward and provides compensation of up to $5 million for tips that lead to enforcement action.
All tips undergo a review to determine the appropriate course of action, the OSC said in a news release. Currently, 22 per cent of the 45 tips received are under review.
Ten per cent warranting further action by the OSC were referred to its enforcement department. Of those, 7 per cent are associated with active investigations. Some 35 per cent of tips were, or are, in the process of being shared with another OSC operating branch or another regulator for further action.
A powerful enforcement tool
“The program is still in its infancy, but is already proving to be a powerful enforcement tool, as with our no-contest settlements and the option to self report,” said Jeff Kehoe, the OSC’s director of enforcement. “These all serve to promote a strong culture of compliance in Ontario’s business community, effectively extending our reach and allowing us to do more to protect investors.”
Under specific circumstances, the OSC offers market participants the opportunity to efficiently address compliance issues that they discover and self-report via a no-contest settlement. The use of no-contest settlements has helped recover significant amounts for investors and resolve cases more quickly and efficiently. To date, the OSC has approved 11 no-contest settlements, resulting in over $368 million in compensation to investors.