ASC announces the addition of a whistleblower program to its expanding enforcement toolbox

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Nov 20, 2018

On November 20, 2018, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) announced the creation of its whistleblower program and the Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) through the adoption of "ASC Policy 15-602 Whistleblower Program" and accompanying amendments to the Securities Act (contained within Bill 20).

The program allows whistleblowers to safely and easily report potential breaches of Alberta securities laws. A whistleblower is an employee, including a person who is a contractor or a director of that organization, who voluntarily provides information to the ASC about an alleged securities law violation by their employer.

Employees are encouraged to provide good faith tips on securities-related misconduct by their employer, which can be a person or company. Tips could include information on insider trading, market manipulation, fraud, or issues relating to corporate disclosure or financial statements.

Along with new mechanisms and processes to make reporting easier, the program provides rigorous protections for whistleblowers. These include:

  • Heightened protection of the identity of whistleblowers. New provisions in the Securities Act (Alberta) mandate that a whistleblower’s identity is confidential and can only be disclosed in limited circumstances.
  • Protection from reprisal. It is against the law to take a reprisal against an employee, or a relative of the employee, for acting as a whistleblower to the ASC. Examples of a reprisal include dismissal from employment, demotion or harassment, among others. This protection is further strengthened by the ASC’s ability to take enforcement action in the event a reprisal occurs. The Securities Act establishes civil liability for an employer, or fellow employee, who takes a reprisal against a whistleblower.

Review the press release and policy on the ASC's website.

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