On April 11, the Ontario Government published its budget and announced a number of initiatives designed to improve the competitiveness of provincial capital markets. We’ll have to wait for details, but in the meantime here are some highlights that we think are relevant to our clients:

  • The government will move forward with legislation to “protect titles” for financial planners and advisers in Ontario by requiring individuals using those titles to have an appropriate credential. The government promises that the new framework will “take a measured approach to enhance consumer protection without introducing unnecessary regulatory burden, and will be mindful of the current regulatory oversight of licensees and registrants.”
  • The only promise made about the regulatory framework for mortgage brokers and lenders is that Doug Downey, the MPP appointed to oversee the five-year review of the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006, will provide his recommendations to the government “in the coming months.”
  • The government will establish within the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) an Office of Economic Growth and Innovation. (We wonder if it will be called “OEGI” and if it will be sound like the “Ouija” in “Ouija Board”.) The OEGI will “focus on market participants” so that the OSC receives balanced insights into stakeholders’ perspective and prioritizes updates of existing rules to reduce regulatory burden.
  • The OSC will report on metrics that track the competitiveness of Ontario’s capital markets relative to other jurisdictions.
  • The OSC’s service standards will be tracked relative to securities regulators in leading jurisdictions.
  • Changes will be proposed to the Ontario’s capital markets legislation to, among other things, facilitate innovation in capital markets, ensure more economically focused rule-making, and clarify the payment of whistleblower awards.
  • The government will proceed with launching the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and is considering legislative and regulatory changes to give it additional rule-making authority in the pension sector.