In response to last summer's British Columbia Court of Appeal (BCCA) decision in Shapray v. British Columbia (Securities Commission), the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) has announced the rescission of BC Instrument 15-501 Disclosure of Investigation Information and its related policy, while also deleting section 2.6(d) of BC Policy 15-601 Hearings. In its place, the BCSC has announced a new BC Instrument 15-501 Disclosure of Investigation Information, which provides consent to disclose "any information or evidence obtained or sought to be obtained or the name of any witness examined or sought to be examined under section 143, 144 or 145 of the Securities Act."
In Shapray, the petitioner commercial litigation lawyer argued that section 148(1) of the British Columbia Securities Act, which restricted disclosure of information and evidence obtained pursuant to an investigation by the BCSC, was unconstitutional. Mr. Shapray claimed that the provision made it impossible for him to adequately defend allegations of misconduct under the Securities Act or to properly prepare witnesses. Section 148(1) of the Act, which is similar to provisions found in the securities laws of other provinces, states:
Without the consent of the commission, a person must not disclose, except to the person's counsel, any information or evidence obtained or sought to be obtained or the name of any witness examined or sought to be examined...
Ultimately, the BCCA struck down s. 148 of the Act as unconstitutional, but delayed the order of invalidity for a year so as to allow the Legislature to consider alternatives. The instruments and policies recently revoked, meanwhile, provided the BCSC's consent for the disclosure of investigation information under prescribed circumstances. The new instrument provides for a broader consent, effective December 3, 2009, until the earlier of July 8, 2010 and the date the legislature repeals section 148.