OSC Offers $5 Million to Whistleblowers

By Andrew Rickard | October 30 2015 02:29PM

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has released proposals for a whistleblower program to encourage people to report securities-related misconduct.

The proposals, outlined in the OSC'S Policy 15-601 which was published on Oct. 28, offers awards of up to $5 million to whistleblowers.

The OSC says it expects this kind of program to increase the effectiveness of its enforcement division by providing access to high quality information on such things as insider trading, accounting and disclosure violations, and registrant misconduct. The regulator also hopes that the program will entice companies to self-report wrongdoing.

The proposed policy would pay up to a maximum of $1.5 million to people who submit eligible information regardless of whether the OSC recovers any sanction money, and up to a maximum of $5 million if it does recover funds. Those eligible to be classified as whistleblowers include directors and officers, chief compliance officers, in-house legal counsel, as well as culpable whistleblowers, provided certain additional criteria are met.

“The OSC recognizes that whistleblowers are an incredibly valuable source of information. We are providing strong incentives for them to come forward. Our whistleblower program is well-considered, and we believe it will result in real-time tips on complex securities law matters that may otherwise be difficult for us to detect,” says the OSC's chairman and CEO Howard Wetston. “This is a game changer for the OSC and our ability to achieve stronger outcomes for investors and the capital markets.”