As we mentioned a few weeks ago, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty recently stated that legislation to create a national securities regulator was imminent. Earlier today, Minister Flaherty unveiled a draft federal Securities Act, which would create such a regulator and allow provinces and territories to opt into the new regime voluntarily. According to the Minister, the proposed regime will provide: (i) better and more consistent protection for investors across Canada; (ii) improved regulatory and criminal enforcement to better fight securities-related crime; (iii) new tools to better support the stability of the Canadian financial system; (iv) faster policy responses to emerging market trends; (v) simpler processes for businesses, resulting in lower costs for investors; and (vi) more effective international representation and influence for Canada.

As there are impending legal challenges on the constitutionality of the plan, however, the proposed Act has been concurrently referred to the Supreme Court for its opinion on whether the proposed Act is within the federal government's legislative authority.

The Canadian Securities Transition Office has stated that it will release a technical commentary on the proposed legislation in the coming weeks and will also deliver a transition plan to the Minister and participating jurisdictions by July 12, 2010. Meanwhile, we expect to provide a more detailed review of the proposed legislation next week.