The year 2018 was promised as the time that Canada’s patchwork system of provincial securities regulators would be consolidated under a single regulatory body.
The effort to create a co-operative, pan-Canadian regulator, dubbed the Capital Markets Regulatory Authority, or CMRA, has been fraught with legal challenges, delays and interprovincial bickering.
Currently, there are five provinces and one territory – Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and the Yukon – that have agreed to participate, while Quebec and Alberta staunchly oppose the plan.
But as the summer deadline for implementing the necessary legislation inches closer, and amid the looming uncertainty stemming from an ongoing Supreme Court case, industry observers are questioning the feasibility of the proposed timeline. Some are wondering whether the initiative will come to fruition at all.
“I think it’s virtually certain that 2018 will come and go without there being an operational capital markets regulatory authority,” says Frank Allen, executive director of investor advocacy group FAIR Canada. “The existing timeline has become stale.”