More Canadian provinces join plan for national securities watchdog

Wed Jul 9, 2014 10:16am EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Two more provinces, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, signed up on Wednesday for a plan to create a national securities regulator in Canada, joining Ontario, British Columbia and the federal government in a project designed to end a patchwork of local regulation.

At a signing ceremony in Ottawa, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver called on Canada's other six provinces and three territories to take part in the plan, which he called an important nation-building project. "Canada has a problem," he said, with 13 provincial and territorial regulators instead of one common one.

"Today's agreement is a major step towards a single regulator, national in scope, that will enhance Canada's capital markets," he stated.

The new regulator is scheduled to start up in the autumn of 2015. Draft legislation is scheduled to be published by Aug. 29 this year.

After decades of failed attempts to get all 10 provinces to agree to a national regulator, Ottawa and the governments of Ontario and British Columbia announced last September that they would go it alone and set up a common capital markets watchdog, similar to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The hope was that more provinces would join over time and that the current patchwork system of regulators in each province and territory would be replaced with a national system that would be less costly for companies and governments.

Ontario is Canada's most populous province and home to Canada's financial services industry and largest stock market. British Columbia is home to a large number of the country's mining companies.

The four provinces that have joined the project represent 55 percent of Canadian market capitalization. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick represent only 3 percent to 4 percent of market cap but bring important advantages:   Continued...