Joe Oliver to announce more provinces to join national securities regulator – by Gordon Isfeld (National Post – July 9, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

OTTAWA — Saskatchewan, and perhaps one or more Atlantic provinces, will join Ontario and British Columbia in Ottawa’s proposed national securities watchdog, sources say.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Joe Oliver will announce that Saskatchewan will sign onto the fledgling Co-operative Capital Markets Regulator (CCMR), according to sources.

Possibly one or more of the Atlantic provinces will come on board, as well. If so, there is speculation that New Brunswick will be the front-runner to join the CCMR. Officials in provincial Finance Minister Blaine Higgs’ office did not respond to a request for confirmation.

However, even with just one province agreeing to participate, the federal government will have the “critical mass” of regional support to go ahead with the CCMR, said Ian Russell, president and CEO of the Investment Industry Association of Canada.

“You need at least three provinces to give you the critical mass that you need. And that would give you virtually 50% of the capital markets,” Mr. Russell said.

“There have been rumours for some time that at least one or two Atlantic Canada provinces have been leaning towards joining the cooperative regulator,” he added.

“So, it may not be just Saskatchewan.”

Mr. Oliver inherited the issue of creating a national securities watchdog from the late Jim Flaherty, who since the Conservatives came to office in 2006 had been pushing the provinces and territories to think beyond their borders and buy into the need for a single body to oversee the current patchwork of 13 regulators.

Ottawa’s efforts were stalled by a Supreme Court ruling in 2011 that said such bodies were a provincial jurisdiction. But the country’s highest court said Ottawa could attempt to reach a consensus for co-operation with the provinces on a national regulator.

Until now, only Ontario and British Columbia have signed up for CCMR, officially unveiled by Mr. Flaherty in the fall of 2013.

“This is still a work in progress by the new participating provinces,” Mr. Russell said. “But clearly, there has been a lot of work done on this agreement in principle between and Ontario and B.C. and the federal government. So, there will at least be, perhaps, some [further] discussion of what issues need to be addressed in terms of governance,” he said.

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