OSC Whistleblower Program marks five-year milestone, praises contributions of whistleblowers

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Jul 14, 2021

On July 14, 2021, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) provided an update on its Whistleblower Program after five years in operation. The first and only paid program of its kind by a Canadian securities regulator has assisted OSC staff in identifying misconduct, advancing enforcement investigations, and holding companies and individuals accountable for wrongdoing.

Since its launch on July 14, 2016, the OSC Whistleblower Program has received approximately 650 tips from whistleblowers across Canada and over 15 foreign jurisdictions. To date, the OSC has awarded more than $8.6 million to whistleblowers. Enforcement actions involving whistleblower tips have resulted in monetary sanctions and voluntary payments of approximately $44 million.

Additional highlights from the Whistleblower Program’s initial five years:

  • The number of tips received has grown with each subsequent year as awareness of the program increases.
  • Whistleblower tips included reports of potential misleading disclosure to investors, material misstatements in financial statements, illegal insider trading or tipping, market manipulation, abusive short selling, and reprisals against employee whistleblowers.
  • Tips were received from individuals with specialized knowledge of misconduct. The whistleblowers were employees and company insiders as well as external analysts, industry professionals, and investors with unique knowledge about misconduct or the perpetrators of misconduct.
  • Some whistleblowers reported anonymously through a lawyer.
  • As a result of whistleblower tips, OSC staff identified persons and entities involved in misconduct in several industries, including financial services, natural resources, and technology.
  • Awards are paid only after cases are concluded, and all rights to appeal have expired. Investigations and proceedings involving securities-related misconduct can be complex and may take several years to complete before an award can be made.
  • The OSC values whistleblower tips and reviews each one carefully. In some cases, while not eligible for the OSC’s program, tips may result in a referral to another agency, for example, if a matter falls outside of the OSC’s jurisdiction.
  • Robust whistleblower protections are built into the OSC’s Whistleblower Program. The details of each case are kept strictly confidential, and all reasonable efforts are made to ensure a whistleblower’s identity is protected.

The OSC intends to publish a detailed report early next year with more information about the program’s activities.

Re­view the press release on the OSC's web­site.  

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