Investor protection

Providing protection to investors is a key part of the Securities Commission’s (SC) mandate. The OSC works to protect investors by making and enforcing rules governing the securities industry. The Investor Office leads the efforts at the SC to identify and address investor issues and concerns.

Making rules
The SC makes rules that aim to prevent misconduct and maintain the integrity of the markets. As part of overall policy development, we consult with investors and other stakeholders to identify and address issues of interest and concern to investors.

Monitoring compliance
The OSC monitors market participants for compliance with Ontario securities law. If we find that an individual or firm is not complying with the law and we cannot resolve our concerns with them, we can take a number of actions.

For example, the SC can issue a cease trade order on an issuer’s securities, order a public company or investment fund to restate and refile its financial statements, or impose terms and conditions on a registration. Where appropriate, we may take enforcement action.

Enforcing rules
The SC investigates alleged breaches of Ontario securities law, such as misleading disclosure, abusive trading practices, and illegal insider trading. If an individual or company contravenes securities law, the SC can impose sanctions. For example, we can ban individuals from leadership roles in public companies, and order firms and individuals to pay a penalty.

Provincial securities legislation also gives the SC the authority to go to the Ontario courts to prosecute accused wrongdoers and send a strong message of deterrence. However, as a regulatory agency, we do not normally recover money for investors.

The Investor Office
The SC established the Investor Office to lead its efforts to identify and address major relevant investor issues and concerns.

The Investor Office is a regulatory branch that sets the strategic direction and leads the SC’s efforts in investor engagement, education, outreach and research. The Office develops investor policy; plays a key role in the oversight of the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments; and provides leadership at the SC in the area of behavioural insights and improving the investor experience.

The Investor Office provides the investor perspective into the development of SC policies, rules, and operational activities led by branches across the SC. We also contribute to initiatives involving other Canadian Securities Administrators jurisdictions and those initiated at the international level through the International Organization of Securities Commissions Committee on Retail Investors (C8).

To help you learn more about investing, the Investor Office offers a range of investor resources, including its investor education website.