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OTTAWA/TORONTO – When Jim Flaherty first envisioned a single national securities regulator, he couldn’t have imagined that seven years on, it would still be very much a work in progress.
Even now, there appears to be a lot of work left to do. Regional concerns over federal oversight — and constitutional issues —have so far hamstrung efforts by the finance minister to create a Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Securities Commission.
So instead, Mr. Flaherty, acknowledging he won’t get an iron-clad agreement from all the provinces and territories in the near future, is going with what he’s got: two provinces, albeit significant players in the capital markets, agreeing to sign on to a voluntary, cooperative arrangement.
And he’s hoping most of the 13 separate securities agencies will join up as well. Mr. Flaherty, joined by his Ontario and B.C. counterparts, announced Thursday the creation of the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulators (CCMR), as it will be called. It will be based in Toronto — the financial hub of Canada — and take responsibility for overseeing common national rules.
“It isn’t a federal regulator, it isn’t a provincial regulator, it’s a common regulator, a cooperative regulator, which will share powers [between] borders and government.
“We expect that Canada, as a result of this agreement, will attract more investment, our investors will have greater protection, we’ll have more effective prosecution of white collar crime, [and] systemic risk will be better managed.”
Mr. Flaherty, who was flanked by Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa and his B.C. counterpart Michael de Jong at Thursday’s announcement, will present the proposal to all provincial and territorial ministers at a meeting on Monday in Quebec City.
The three said they hope to have the national regulator up and working by July 2015, when most of the other provinces and territories are expected to be on board. For the holdouts — Quebec and Alberta — the national idea remains a tough sell.
“I expect that a number of the other provinces and territories very quickly will climb on board and accept the proposal, it’s in their self-interest I would think to do so, and not be left behind. We’ll see with the couple of the others that are more intransigent, how that works” Mr. Flaherty said.
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