As has been reported in the media, a Canadian postal strike could occur as early as tomorrow evening. As an interruption of mail service would impact the ability of issuers and registrants to deliver required documents under securities laws, the Ontario Securities Commission today released guidance for issuers in the event that a postal strike occurs.
Specifically, the OSC stated that, while it will not take action against reporting issuers solely for failing to deliver financial reports to securityholders, issuers must make reasonable efforst to make such reports available to securityholders on request. Further, on the resumption of normal mail service, such reports will have to be mailed. With respect to offering documents, proxy solicitation materials and bid circulars, issuers and affected persons and companies are advised to consult with their service providers as to alternate delivery options, and their legal advisers in order to determine how to best comply with obligations.
Registrants, meanwhile, are advised to make "reasonable efforts" to meet client obligations with respect to trade confirmations and the delivery of other documentation. Applications for registration, financial information and other required information should be delivered or faxed to the OSC.
The OSC guidance also states that applications for exemptive relief from requirements to deliver documents to securityholders and other parties may be necessary and, where relief is urgently needed, the OSC will try to deal with applications as quickly as possible. The OSC also refers market participants to National Policy 11-201 Delivery of Documents by Electronic Means.