On March 9, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) provided an update on the first five years of its Whistleblower Program. The OSC notes that the program, the first and only securities whistleblower award program in Canada, has been a success, resulting in approximately $48 million in monetary sanctions.
“The OSC created the Whistleblower Program to identify complex or hard-to-detect securities violations. It has proven to be a resounding success,” said OSC Director of Enforcement Jeff Kehoe. “Our review affirms that the Program is a powerful enforcement tool which incentivizes whistleblowers to come forward and protects them from retaliation. This is clearly evidenced by our numerous investigations involving whistleblower tips. Our work on this update exhibits our commitment to fortifying this essential program and we look forward to collaborating with stakeholders to identify more ways to enhance it.”
The OSC established the Whistleblower Program in 2016. Similar to the highly successful whistleblower program of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the OSC Whistleblower Program offers monetary awards to individuals who voluntarily provide the agency with original information that leads to a successful enforcement action.
Since its inception, the OSC Whistleblower Program has awarded over $9 million to 11 whistleblowers. The program also offers anti-retaliation protections, including confidentiality, to whistleblowers.
Like the SEC Whistleblower Program, the OSC Whistleblower Program has proven to have a global reach. According to the update, the program has received tips from 30 different countries on six continents.
The update also looks at ways the OSC hopes to improve the Whistleblower Program. Areas highlighted in the update include “exploring changes to the Program,” “engaging with experts and stakeholders,” “leveraging data analysis on an ongoing basis,” “building on our targeted outreach,” and “supporting the development of an Ontario whistleblower bar.”