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BC’s Minister of Finance gives the BCSC sweeping new powers

By The IJ Staff | October 22 2019 12:30PM

The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) and the province’s Minister of Finance yesterday announced sweeping new changes to the British Columbia Securities Act, which give the BCSC a host of new powers to seize assets, impose jail time and order administrative penalties without a hearing.

The proposed amendments include giving the BCSC broader powers to collect financial sanctions when there are assets to collect, mandatory minimum jail sentences for certain types of fraud, increased penalties for certain types of misconduct, new prohibitions on making false or misleading statements and tighter rules around promotional activities.

The Ministry of Finance, elaborates on the details in its announcement, saying it will give the BCSC the power to freeze and seize property transferred to fraudsters, it will allow the BCSC to direct the Insurance Corporation of BC to refuse to issue or renew drivers licenses or license plates, and will allow the BCSC to seize registered retirement savings plans.

All told, the legislation introduced yesterday includes more than 100 changes to the Act, including a regime for derivatives and benchmarks that is harmonized with other jurisdictions – the most extensive set of amendments made since it was enacted in 1996.

“Our government is taking action to make sure we have the strongest protections in Canada for people who are investing, and tough penalties for those who are abusing the system,” says B.C.’s minister of finance, Carole James. “These changes send a clear signal to fraudsters that the rules do apply in B.C. If you break them, there will be consequences.”

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