Humber Bay Arch Bridge with people walking across

Role of the OSC

The Ontario Securities Commission works to:

  • protect investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices
  • foster fair, efficient and competitive capital markets, and confidence in capital markets
  • foster capital formation
  • contribute to the stability of Ontario’s financial system and the reduction of systemic risk

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 securities experts, the OSC:

  • publishes proposed rules for public comment on our website and 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 OSC 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 the Capital Markets Tribunal, an independent division of the OSC established by the Securities Commission Act, 2021. The Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to exercise the powers conferred to it under Ontario’s Securities Act and Commodity Futures Act and to determine all questions of fact or law in any proceeding before it under those Acts.

The OSC also has 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 regulator, the OSC does not normally recover money for investors.