Whistleblowers who meet certain criteria may be eligible for a financial award. To qualify, your information must lead to an administrative proceeding in which over $1 million in total monetary sanctions is ordered and/or voluntary payments are made to the OSC. In addition:
- Whistleblower reports must meet information eligibility criteria
- Whistleblowers must meet individual eligibility criteria
The Commission will review recommendations from OSC Staff on the whistleblower’s eligibility and on the amount and effectiveness of a whistleblower’s assistance. The Commission will then determine, in its discretion, the amount of a whistleblower award based on certain factors if the eligibility criteria for an award is met.
The Commission may publicly disclose that a whistleblower award has been paid out but will not disclose the identity of the whistleblower. Whistleblowers who receive an award should consider obtaining appropriate advice from a tax professional for any of the countries where they may be subject to tax reporting obligations, given the potential related tax implications.
To be eligible for an award, you must voluntarily provide original information regarding possible violations of Ontario securities law by submitting a report to the Office of the Whistleblower.
The information must be of high quality and contain sufficient timely, specific and credible facts such that it is of meaningful assistance to an investigation.
Original information is information that is not already known to the OSC from any other source, and that the whistleblower has obtained in one of the following two ways:
- Independent knowledge: information derived from a whistleblower's experiences, communications, and observations in employment, business, or social interactions; or
- Independent analysis: critical analysis of publicly available information or data that reveals additional insight that is not generally known or available to the public.
Voluntarily provided information
Information is voluntarily provided to the OSC if you or your lawyer submit it before receiving a request (by summons or otherwise) from the OSC, another securities regulator, a self-regulatory organization (such as IIROC or the MFDA), or a law enforcement agency.
Information is not considered to be voluntarily reported if it is provided in connection with your pre-existing reporting obligations.
Ineligible information includes tips that are misleading, untrue, speculative, non-specific, publicly known, illegally obtained, or subject to solicitor-client privilege. Some examples of information that would generally be ineligible for an award include:
- Information exchanged by a lawyer and their client
- Information from allegations made by a third-party in another forum, for example, court filings, unless the whistleblower is the source of that information
- Information obtained by any means that violates criminal law.
Internal reporting of information
Where possible, we encourage whistleblowers to report misconduct through their employer’s internal compliance and reporting mechanisms.
You are not required to report internally.
Whistleblowers who report internally must also submit a Whistleblower Submission Form to us within 120 days of their internal reporting to be eligible for an award.
Employees, former employees, suppliers, contractors, clients, and others may be eligible for an award.
Businesses and organizations cannot be whistleblowers.
Individuals with roles in compliance, investigation, or audit functions (including, officers, members of the board of directors, chief compliance officers, and auditors) are generally not eligible for an award. However, these individuals may be eligible if they meet one of the conditions outlined in Section 15(2) of OSC Policy 15-601.
Whistleblowers who have participated in the misconduct may still be eligible for an award. The degree to which a whistleblower is complicit in the misconduct is a factor that may decrease the amount of any possible award.
Individual eligibility in anonymous submissions
Whistleblowers can make submissions anonymously through their lawyers.
Before an award is paid out, anonymous whistleblowers will have to identify themselves to the OSC so that the OSC may determine their eligibility for the award.
Multiple independent whistleblowers
If multiple whistleblowers independently report information relating to the same misconduct, they are placed in line for awards, based on the timing of their report submission. The first fully eligible whistleblower in line may receive an award, provided they meet all eligibility criteria.
Multiple whistleblowers reporting together
Individual whistleblowers who jointly submit a report to us may be eligible for an award.
We will consider various factors, including the amount and effectiveness of the assistance provided by the whistleblowers, to determine how to divide an award among multiple whistleblowers.
Timelines for awards
Awards are paid 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.
Amount of an award
If a whistleblower is eligible for an award, the amount depends on:
- the total monetary sanctions imposed and/or voluntary payments made
- the amount of money collected by the OSC
- The Commission’s judgement, based on various factors
The range for awards is 5% to 15% of the total monetary sanctions ordered and/or voluntary payments made, up to a maximum of $5 million. The Commission will determine the percentage amount based on a number of factors described in OSC Policy 15-601 - Whistleblower Program.
Factors affecting awardsFollowing recommendations from OSC Staff, the Commission will determine the whistleblower’s eligibility and the award amount, if any.
Some factors that affect the award amount include:
- The timeliness and significance of the information provided by the whistleblower
- The whistleblower's degree of cooperation
- The whistleblower's internal reporting efforts, if applicable
- The whistleblower's culpability in the misconduct, if any
The information provided on this page is intended to provide a general summary of certain key features of the OSC Whistleblower Program. It does not purport to be a complete or comprehensive discussion of all aspects of the Whistleblower Program, is not legal or other professional advice, and should not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for legal or other professional advice. For detailed information about the Program, including eligibility requirements and certain limitations that apply, we recommend that you read the full text of the official OSC Whistleblower Policy: OSC Policy 15-601 - Whistleblower Program.