Bill 23–The Commodity Futures Amendment and Securities Amendment Act - protecting people's investments
Wednesday May 23, I spoke in the Manitoba Legislature on Bill 23 which provides an increased ability of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) to regulate investment dealers in Canada, and to file a decision made my an IIROC panel with the courts in order to enforce payment of fines. It is to be hoped that this bill will enable better enforcement so that Manitobans who have money invested will be protected from unscrupulous investment dealers.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, just–I want to put a few comments on the record on this bill.
Having worked hard to support individuals in the past who were affected by situations in which they lost significant amounts of money from money that had been invested as a result of people, advisors and others, providing poor advice, I believe that this bill is badly needed. It is an important bill, and in the Liberal Party, we are strong supporters of these measures.
I think it is noteworthy that, in addition to the measures which are here, that we believe that there should have been some measures which would have provided to IIROC the ability, the legal authority, to compel evidence so that they are able to conduct full and fair investigations and hearings.
The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada has done a good job, but they have been restricted in what they can do in the past. Other provinces are moving ahead to make sure that they are better supported and this bill will provide that better support except for in the area of providing IIROC the legal authority to compel evidence.
Currently, IIROC can only compel IIROC registrants to co-operate with the disciplinary investigations and prosecutions. There's no ability to compel co-operation of individuals or entities who are not related by IIROC, for example, former registrants, stock issuers, banks, during investigation or to testify at a hearing, even when they have relevant evidence.
As a result of this, investigations may be closed at an early stage due to lack of information. Prosecutions may proceed without the best evidence possible or may not proceed due to insufficient evidence even when there are grounds to believe that serious misconduct has taken place. Seeking the ability to compel evidence is consistent with powers granted to the Manitoba Securities Commission under the Securities Act and therefore would be consistent as well as being valuable, so it would have been nice to have an amendment to provide the ability to compel evidence.
In spite of the fact that this is a shortfall with the current bill, we're certainly ready to support the bill as it is because it will be a significant step forward.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.