Plan for Canada-wide securities watchdog wins another, though small, convert

Thu Oct 9, 2014 2:00pm EDT
 
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TORONTO Oct 9 (Reuters) - Tiny Prince Edward Island has become the fifth Canadian province to sign up for a plan to establish a national securities regulator, the country's finance ministry said on Thursday.

The planned national body, a long-time project of late federal finance minister Jim Flaherty, who died in April, would replace the current patchwork of regulators covering Canada's 10 provinces and three territories.

The French-speaking province of Quebec and the oil and gas powerhouse of Alberta have put up the stiffest opposition to the plan so far.

Prince Edward Island (PEI) is Canada's smallest province in both land area and population, with just 140,000 residents on 5,660 square kilometers off the country's east coast. Its economy relies mostly on agriculture, fishing and tourism.

Just one company, Solarvest Bioenergy Inc, is headquartered in PEI out of nearly 3,500 listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the small-cap TSX Ventures Exchange, according to data from exchange operator TMX Group.

In July, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick agreed to join founding signatories Ontario and British Columbia, a move that meant more than half of Canada's market capitalization would be governed by unified regulations once the system is enacted. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Peter Galloway)