On August 18, the OSC's Corporate Finance Branch released clarification on issues relating to financial disclosure required in a prospectus arising out of the transition to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). As we have previously discussed, Canadian reporting issuers have generally been required to transition to IFRS effective as of January 1, 2011.  Specifically, the Corporate Finance Branch release provides guidance on the presentation of IFRS transition information in prospectuses, as well as the use of GAAP for financial statement disclosure in prospectuses filed in and after the issuer’s transition year.

With respect to the presentation of transition information in prospectuses, the release outlines the difference in requirements between an IPO prospectus (which must include an opening statement of financial position at the date of transition to IFRS, as well as IFRS 1 reconciliations for the date of transition and the most recent annual period) and a short form prospectus or a non-IPO long form prospectus (which are not required to include the above information).

With respect to an IPO prospectus in the year of transition, the release clarifies that the annual financial statements required for the previous three years are not required to be converted into IFRS. However, the interim financial report for the most recent interim period, along with the comparative interim financial statements for the corresponding period in the previous year, would still have to be prepared in accordance with IFRS.

Finally, in cases where an IPO prospectus is filed in the first year after transition (2012), an issuer has three options with respect to the presentation of historical annual financial statements. Specifically, IFRS may be used for the three most recently completed years (2009, 2010 and 2011) or IFRS may be used for 2011 and 2010 and Canadian GAAP used for either 2009 and 2010, or 2008 and 2009. In either case, the issuer would be including financial disclosure above and beyond what would normally be required, in that financial statements for the 2010 financial year would be included twice or a fourth year back would have to be included.  

This release follows three prior releases published by OSC staff on issues relating to the transition to IFRS. For more information, see OSC Corporate Finance - IFRS Release No. 4.