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Humber Bay Arch Bridge with people walking across

Role of the OSC

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) works to protect investors, foster fair and efficient markets, and contribute to the stability of the financial system in Ontario. We do this by making and enforcing rules to govern the securities industry in Ontario.

As a regulator, the OSC administers and enforces compliance with the provisions of  Ontario’s Securities Act and Commodity Futures Act.

Making rules

The OSC makes rules to maintain the integrity of our capital markets and to prevent financial misconduct.

Rule and policy development are a public process. To engage both the public and experts in securities, the OSC:

  • publishes proposed rules for public comment in the OSC Bulletin
  • consults with investors, industry representatives, and other groups through advisory committees, roundtables, community outreach, and year-round stakeholder engagement

We also engage with domestic and international partners to reduce systemic risk and promote financial stability in Canada and around the world.

Monitoring compliance

The OSC monitors market participants for compliance with Ontario securities law. If we find that an individual or firm is not complying with the law and we cannot satisfactorily resolve our concerns with them, we can take a number of actions. These include:

  • providing clarification of rules and further guidance
  • ordering a public company or investment fund to restate and refile its financial statements
  • delivering warnings
  • issuing a cease trade order on an issuer’s securities
  • imposing terms and conditions on a registration
  • referring to enforcement or other regulators for further action

Enforcing rules

When appropriate, the OSC may take enforcement action. We investigate alleged breaches of Ontario securities law, such as:

  • misleading disclosure
  • fraudulent claims and promotions
  • abusive trading practices
  • illegal insider trading

If an individual or company breaches securities law, the OSC can initiate enforcement proceedings against them. Proceedings are heard by an administrative panel of Commissioners who act as independent adjudicators. They have the power to impose sanctions—such as banning individuals from leadership roles in public companies—and ordering firms and individuals to pay a penalty.

Provincial securities legislation also gives the OSC the authority to prosecute accused wrongdoers through the Ontario courts, which can impose jail terms as a possible sanction. See which proceedings are currently before the courts.

As a regulatory body, we do not normally recover money for investors.