The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is an independent Crown corporation that is responsible for regulating the capital markets in Ontario. Our statutory mandate is:
To provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in capital markets, and to contribute to the stability of the financial system and the reduction of systemic risk.
We contribute to the health and performance of Ontario’s economy by using our rule-making and enforcement powers to help safeguard investors, deter misconduct and regulate participants involved in capital markets in Ontario. We regulate firms and individuals who sell securities and provide advice in Ontario. We also regulate public companies, investment funds and marketplaces, such as the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Our powers are given to us under the Securities Act (Ontario) the Commodity Futures Act (Ontario) and certain provisions of the Business Corporations Act. We operate independently from government and are funded by fees charged to market participants. We are accountable to the Ontario Minister of Finance.
The early years
The history of the OSC dates back to 1928 when the Ontario government introduced the Security Frauds Prevention Act. The act mandated the registration of all brokers and salespersons and prohibited trade without this requirement.
In 1931, the Honourable George A. Drew was appointed the first Chair of the Security Frauds Prevention Board, the agency responsible for enforcing the act, and he became known as the “one-man regulator.”
The following year, the Ontario government changed the name of the original act to Securities Act to reflect that the legislation dealt with more than fraud prevention.
Additionally, the agency was renamed in 1933 to its current title, Ontario Securities Commission (OSC)
- Deliver strong investor protection
- Deliver responsive regulation
- Deliver effective compliance, supervision and enforcement
- Promote financial stability through effective oversight
- Be an innovative, accountable and efficient organization
Our priorities for the current year are set out in our Statement of Priorities.
Ontario’s capital markets
- Ontario is Canada’s largest province by population.
- Toronto is Canada’s largest city and ranks 13th globally as a financial centre1.
- 1,450 public companies in Ontario2
- 4,081 investment fund issuers in Ontario2
- 1,286 registered firms in Ontario2
- 67,817 registered individuals in Ontario2
1 Z/Yen Group, September 2016
2 OSC, July 2017