BC is introducing new amendments to legislation to get tough on white collar crime.
The amendments to the BC Securities Act will give B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) the strongest enforcement and collection tools in the country, the province said.
Amendments will give more powers to BCSC than currently allowed to freeze property and seize registered retirement savings plans.
The amendments will also modernize the legislative framework for securities regulation in B.C. and establish a modern system for regulating derivatives and benchmarks.
The proposed amendments include:
· broader powers to collect financial sanctions when there are assets to collect
· mandatory minimum jail sentences for certain types of fraud
· increased penalties for certain types of misconduct
· new prohibitions on false or misleading statements
· tighter rules around promotional activities
The Securities Act regulates the buying and selling of securities, such as stocks, bonds and other financial instruments, and the raising of funds by companies in the capital market.
B.C. says it is the first jurisdiction in Canada to introduce many of these amendments to provide better tools to investigate offences, collect money from wrongdoers and return funds to investors.
“We’d like to thank the B.C. government for taking action to crack down on white collar crime with these ground breaking amendments,” said Brenda Leong, chair and CEO of the BCSC. “We now have new and better tools to go after the bad actors who break the law and cause significant harm to investors and the capital markets.”
Minister of Finance Carole James said the changes will send a clear signal to fraudsters that the rules do apply in the province and there will be consequences for those who break them.
“People can feel confident knowing that B.C.’s investment markets will be protected today and into the future.”
The government says updating the Securities Act is part of the ongoing work to crack down on white collar crime.
Earlier in 2019, government completed a two-pronged review of money laundering in real estate. It introduced legislation to end hidden ownership in corporations and real estate, and established a working group with the federal government on tax fraud and money laundering.