On October 5, 2017, Quebec’s Minister of Finance introduced Bill 141 to Quebec’s National Assembly which is an omnibus bill meant to modernize the framework of Quebec’s financial sector. If passed into law, Bill 141 will among other things:
- replace the province’s existing insurance legislation with a new Insurers Act;
- substantially amend the current Act respecting financial services cooperatives and the Deposit Insurance Act, the latter being renamed the Deposit Institutions and Deposit Protection Act;
- replace the province’s existing trust and savings companies legislation with a new Trust Companies and Savings Companies Act;
- amend the Act respecting the Autorité des marchés financiers, which will be renamed the Act respecting the regulation of the financial sector; and
- amend various other legislation, including the Securities Act, the Derivatives Act, the Civil Code of Quebec, the Automobile Insurance Act, the Professional Code, the Real Estate Brokerage Act, the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services and the Money-Services Businesses Act.
If this bill is adopted, it would result in numerous changes to the operation of Quebec’s financial sector including:
- restricting commission sharing received by a mutual fund broker or a scholarship plan broker;
- capturing derivatives trading platforms as regulated entities under Quebec’s Derivatives Act;
- facilitating the distribution of certain financial products, including insurance products, via the Internet and other technological means; and
- providing additional protections for whistleblowers who disclose breaches of financial section legislation.
As part of the reorganization of Quebec’s financial sector, adoption of the Bill will also result in the abolishment the province’s current self-regulatory organizations, including the Chambre de la sécurité financière and the Chambre de l’assurance dommages, which will be moved under the purview of the Autorité des marchés financiers (the AMF). The transferred responsibilities include jurisdiction over the professional conduct, discipline and continuing education of licensed representatives that provide financial planning services and distribute various financial products, including insurance, mutual funds and scholarship plans. While it is not yet certain when the Bill will be adopted into law, the current intention is for the Bill to be in force by the end of Quebec’s 2018 spring parliamentary session. Interested parties who may be affected by the changes or who may wish to comment on the legislation should monitor the release of the various regulations that will be put forward by the government in support of the proposed legislative amendments