Our regulatory powers

The OSC regulates Ontario’s capital markets by making and enforcing rules and standards of conduct that apply to individuals and firms that sell securities and provide advice in this province, public companies, investment funds and marketplaces. We oversee activity within the capital markets with a comprehensive compliance and enforcement program.

The OSC has broad powers to enforce the Securities Act (Ontario) and the Commodity Futures Act. We investigate allegations of misconduct in Ontario’s capital markets and we have a number of litigation and other enforcement options available to us. Enforcement staff pursue individuals and companies alleged to have perpetrated fraud and other misconduct in administrative proceedings before the Commission tribunal and quasi-criminal matters before the Ontario Court of Justice.

In OSC administrative proceedings, the tribunal can impose monetary sanctions, order individuals or firms to disgorge ill-gotten gains and ban individuals from trading or from leadership roles in issuers, either temporarily or permanently, among other sanctions.

In quasi-criminal proceedings, the Court can impose jail sentences for violations of the Securities Act (Ontario) and breaches of Commission orders. make orders for interim relief, including freeze directions for preservation of property, for appointment of a receiver, and orders for compensation or restitution.

The OSC may take other actions, including:

  • conducting hearings on other regulatory matters, such as takeover bids and reviews of decisions made by OSC staff, self-regulatory organizations, exchanges and clearing agencies.
  • issuing warning letters,
  • requiring undertakings relating to future conduct,
  • requiring changes to disclosure documents or marketing materials,
  • issuing management cease trade orders,
  • providing staff guidance or notices,
  • initiating policy changes to address an identified gap in our regulation.

While desirable, a remedy for or resolution of your individual dispute is often not within our authority, and may be best pursued through other means. For example, investors and shareholders have rights and remedies under other areas of law, such as corporate and common law. Resolution of your dispute may best be pursued through legal action, mediation, or arbitration. See Help with getting your money back.

For more information about the enforcement process please see the most recent Enforcement Report of the Canadian Securities Regulators.