The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) recently published OSC Staff Notice 11-784: Burden Reduction (OSC Staff Notice 11-784), seeking input from stakeholders on ways to reduce regulatory burden for issuers, registrants, investors and other market participants. OSC Staff Notice 11-784 is the latest of several initiatives undertaken by the OSC to consider and implement steps aimed at reducing regulatory burden. Other ongoing projects include the burden reduction initiatives described in Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) Staff Notice 81-329: Reducing Regulatory Burden for Investment Fund Issuers and CSA Staff Notice 51-353: Update on CSA Consultation Paper 51-104 Considerations for Reducing Regulatory Burden for Non-Investment Fund Reporting Issuers.

The OSC, in coordination with the Ontario Ministry of Finance, established the Burden Reduction Task Force in November 2018 to identify steps to enhance competitiveness for Ontario businesses by saving time and money for issuers, registrants, investors and other market participants. The Burden Reduction Task Force has a mandate to consider and act on any suggestions to eliminate unnecessary rules and processes while protecting investors and the integrity of Ontario’s market.

The OSC has invited stakeholders to submit comments on ways to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, with a focus on the following areas:

  • Operational and procedural changes for OSC branches and offices. In particular, the OSC is seeking to identify
    • changes to make day-to-day market participants’ interactions with the OSC easier and less costly, as well as ways to provide greater certainty regarding regulatory requirements and outcomes;
    • forms or filings that can be streamlined or are unnecessary or an unduly burden; and
    • information directed at market participants that the OSC could provide more efficiently.
  • Rule changes, with a focus on identifying OSC rules that are inconsistent with the rules of other jurisdictions and specific requirements that no longer serve a valid purpose.
  • Enhancing and improving investor experience with the disclosure provided to them (i) before they invest, (ii) as part of ongoing public disclosure and (iii) by registrants, with a focus on the interface between the OSC’s regulatory requirements and investors, modernizing information provided to investors and other interactions that investors have with issuers or registrants because of regulatory requirements (for example, by promoting plain language).

Comments are due by March 1, 2019. Stakeholders are also invited to participate in an initial round table discussion on March 27, 2019, to discuss submissions made during the comment period and the proposals being considered. The OSC will consider comments received together with input from external consultations and its advisory committees to identify short-, medium- and long-term burden reduction initiatives.