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Exemptive relief

Firms and individuals may apply to the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) for exemptive relief if they are unable to comply with a requirement in securities law. The process for exemptive relief applications varies depending on the type of relief requested and whether relief is required in more than one Canadian jurisdiction. A fee applies for exemptive relief applications.

Relief from proficiency requirements for an individual

Individuals unable to comply with the proficiency requirements set out in part 3 of National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements, Exemptions and Ongoing Registrant Obligations for a category of registration must submit the application “Apply for Exemption” through the National Registration Database (NRD), when they submit their application for registration in that category.

The exemption application must include a detailed description of the individual’s experience and other qualifications. Individuals should also provide reference letters and proof of completion of any relevant educational accomplishments. These supporting documents can be submitted by email to the assigned registration staff indicated on NRD.

Discretionary relief

If a company or investment fund is unable to comply with a requirement in securities legislation, other than from the proficiency requirements for an individual, they can apply for discretionary relief. Applications for relief are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

A decision to grant relief depends on the relevant facts and circumstances of the application, and whether relief is required in more than one Canadian jurisdiction. Previous examples include companies that have applied for relief from the prospectus and registration requirements of Ontario’s Securities Act and Commodity Futures Act, or from requirements relating to preparing and filing continuous disclosure documents.

Investment funds seeking an exemption from National Instrument 81-102 Investment Funds must file their application through SEDAR. Please refer to filing documents online for instructions. All other applications for discretionary relief may be filed through the OSC's electronic filing portal with applicable fees.


Firms and individuals should apply well in advance of when they need the relief to ensure there is sufficient time for the OSC to process the application.