The OSC’s controversial whistleblowing policy, the first of its kind amongst Canadian regulators, is scheduled to receive final approval and launch early this summer. The program, adopted following considerable stakeholder consultation in 2015, aims to encourage employees to report, and aid in the investigation of, potential violations of securities law.
In the event that monetary sanctions of over $1million are imposed, whistleblowers can expect an award of between 5% and 15% of total penalties, up to $5million. This incentive structure was set following mixed reviews of the original $1million cap, which participants of the Whistleblower Roundtable commented was too low to provide sufficient incentive to report. The program will also feature the ability to report fully anonymously, through a whistleblower’s lawyer.
The Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) whistleblower program (the basis for the OSC model) has, since its inception in 2011, paid awards totaling $57million for information that has led to a number of enforcement actions with penalties exceeding $1million. Although the success of the OSC’s program is difficult to predict, OSC Chair Maureen Jensen has reportedly stated that the commission has already received considerable interest from would-be whistleblowers.