Ontario Securites Commision - Investor offices
Investor News
March 19, 2020

Operational Changes in Response to COVID-19

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is taking all necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of its employees and the public as we respond to challenges due to COVID-19.

Most OSC staff have begun working from home. All essential and core operations will continue, however, many will be delivered remotely. We are also limiting external access to our offices to only those required for essential operations.

We are aware that many market participants have also started to work remotely and understand that this will make business more challenging. We support your efforts as we all weather these changes and will be flexible in our regulatory expectations during this difficult time. 

On-site compliance reviews and our planned Risk Assessment Questionnaire are postponed until further notice. Normal-course registration and compliance activities will continue as planned, however we will be flexible on deadlines for information.

All in-person outreach, including Registrant Outreach sessions, OSC LaunchPad information days and OSC in the Community information sessions are cancelled. Upcoming Registrant Outreach and SME Institute webinars will be re-scheduled for a later date. In-person consultation with our advisory committees, market participants and investors will be re-scheduled as teleconference meetings.

The OSC will not be holding in-person hearings until at least April 30, 2020. The Office of the Secretary will reach out to parties with hearings scheduled between now and April 30 to determine if a hearing may proceed via teleconference or in writing.

To support market participants and to assist the public, the OSC's Contact Centre is operational at essential staffing levels. At this time, we encourage you to contact us by e-mail or by phone only, as we cannot respond to correspondence received by mail or by fax during this period. 


Latest developments on the impact of COVID-19 on Canada's capital markets.


The OSC also continues to collaborate with the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), to coordinate our approach for market participants on filing deadlines, meeting expectations for Annual General Meetings and other compliance expectations. We are also actively monitoring market operations and are working collaboratively with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

We will adapt plans and publish further updates on our operations, as the situation develops. Read more


Relief for Market Participants

In light of recent COVID-19 developments and their impact on market participants, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) will provide temporary relief from some regulatory filings required to be made on or before June 1, 2020.

The blanket relief will provide a 45-day extension for periodic filings normally required to be made by issuers, investment funds, registrants, certain regulated entities and designated rating organizations on or before June 1, 2020. This will include financial statements, management’s discussion and analysis, management reports of fund performance, annual information forms, technical reports, and certain other filings.

Issuers choosing to rely on this exemption and that are complying with the conditions of the relief will not need to file applications for management cease trade orders as they will not be noted in default.

The CSA expects to publish further details about the relief shortly.

"The CSA is ready to take action where necessary to ensure market participants have the flexibility they need to focus on critical business decisions while managing risks to their employees, investors, customers and other stakeholders," said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. "We remain focused on investor protection as we adjust our regulatory expectations during this trying time."

The CSA is also aware that some issuers are considering virtual securityholder meetings as a result of social distancing measures. The CSA is supportive of measures issuers are taking to mitigate the risk of transmission and will publish guidance on making changes to annual general meetings as soon as possible. In the meantime, issuers can contact their principal regulator with any questions or concerns.

Finally, all CSA proposals currently out for comment will have their comment periods extended by 45 days.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, the CSA will adapt its response as necessary to ensure that market participants have the guidance they need, and markets continue to be fair and efficient despite recent volatility.

CSA Staff are in continuous dialogue with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), which has direct oversight responsibilities for trading surveillance. IIROC has confirmed volatility controls are functioning as expected in temporarily pausing declines while still allowing orderly price discovery to continue. We will continue to monitor market developments as the situation changes. Read more

Coronavirus-related Investment Scams

Coronavirus-related Investment Scams

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is warning investors about companies claiming to have products or services that will prevent, detect or cure coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

Fraudsters take advantage of global events and breaking news to lure potential investors with the expectations of significant returns. A common way they do this is through pump-and-dump schemes involving publicly traded small “shell” companies. Read more

Managing Financial Health in Challenging Times

Managing Financial Health in Challenging Times

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a new webpage about managing your financial health. It has important information about maintaining an emergency fund and your options if you're facing financial hardship. Read more

Updates to Tax Deadlines and Minimum RRIF Withdrawals

Updates to Tax Deadlines and Minimum RRIF Withdrawals

The federal government has announced several measures as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan including:

  • For individuals, the deadline to file your 2019 income tax and benefit return is extended to June 1, 2020.
  • For self-employed individuals and their spouse (or common-law partner), the deadline to file your 2019 income tax and benefit return is still June 15, 2020.
  • For trusts with a tax year ending December 31, 2019, the return filing due date is deferred until May 1, 2020.
  • The minimum withdrawal amounts from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) are proposed to be reduced by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

As you try to make sense of your finances at this challenging time, has calculators and tools that may be of help.

Market Volatility and Your Investments

Market Volatility and Your Investments

Volatility measures the change in price of an investment over a period of time, and higher volatility may continue as financial markets adjust to new information and health measures.

Here are refreshers on how volatility affects your investments and risk tolerance.

Bear Market

Bear Market 

A bear market refers to a period when financial markets are weak, stock prices fall and investor confidence fades. A common measurement for a bear market is when stock prices experience a sustained drop of at least 20% from their recent highs.

While bear markets occasionally occur and markets eventually recover, it is difficult to predict when a bear market will happen or how long it will last. Read these 5 tips to help you better handle a bear market.

OSC Big Picture

Interactive Investing Chart

You may be checking the stock market more often these days. We've previously mentioned that the stock market overall has historically performed well over the long-term, but it does experience short-term shocks, and sometimes sharp declines.

Use our Interactive Investing Chart to learn about how certain stock indices and investments have performed since 1935 or over specific time periods. You'll notice that stock indices have more "ups and downs" compared to bonds, but they also tend to earn better returns over the long-term. This is can be explained by the risk-return relationship.

Behavioural Insights and Fraud

Behavioural Insights and Fraud

Fraudsters sometimes use current events, such as COVID-19, to trick people into falling for investment scams. They exploit people’s anxiety and desire for financial gains in times of uncertainty.  Fraudsters try to take advantage of our human nature by using a combination of clever tricks and technologies that exploit our irrational behaviour. Learn more about behavioural insights and fraud. 




Proposed rule for Non-GAAP and other financial measures

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) published a second notice and request for comment on revisions to a proposed rule for Non-GAAP and Other Financial Measures (the proposed rule). The rule would establish disclosure requirements for issuers that disclose non-GAAP and other financial measures, which often lack standardized meanings, resulting in potentially misleading disclosure. Learn more


Proposed rule to restrict use of deferred sales charge option

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) published for comment a proposed rule that would restrict the use of the deferred sales charge (DSC) option in the sale of mutual funds. The proposed rule is intended to address negative investor outcomes by limiting the circumstances in which mutual funds with the DSC option can be sold and by giving clients greater flexibility to redeem these investments without penalties. Learn more


Proposed new nationally harmonized crowdfunding rules

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is seeking comment on proposed harmonized rules for start-up securities crowdfunding.

Proposed National Instrument 45-110 Start-up Crowdfunding Registration and Prospectus Exemptions would replace and enhance the requirements currently in effect in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Learn more


Proposed changes to tackle financial exploitation and diminished mental capacity of older and vulnerable clients

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) published for comment proposed amendments designed to clearly outline how registrants can address situations involving diminished mental capacity or the potential financial exploitation of vulnerable clients. Learn more




Always know the 10 most recent OSC investor warnings and alerts by bookmarking this Fact Card or embedding it on your website or blog.


Axe Invest

Axe Invest, offering investment services on its website found at www[dot]axeinvest[dot]com, is not registered in Ontario to engage in the business of trading in securities. Learn more


Blue Sail Trading

The OSC is warning investors that Blue Sail Trading and its associated trading platform Derivative 360/360Pro (collectively “BST”) are not registered to deal or advise in securities in Ontario. Learn more


Maxi Platinum Ltd., Strategy One Ltd

Strategy One Ltd. and Maxi Platinum Ltd., doing business as www[dot]superbinary[dot]com (together “Superbinary”) appears to operate an online binary options trading platform. Advertising, offering, selling or otherwise trading binary options by any entity, is prohibited in Ontario as specified in CSA Multilateral Instrument 91-102, Prohibition of Binary Options which was implemented on September 28, 2017. Learn more


IOSCO Investor Alerts

Stay informed about the latest international investor warnings and alerts by visiting the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Investor Alerts Portal.




OSC in the Community

OSC in the Community is an outreach program that takes the Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC) regulatory mandate from Bay Street to Main Street. OSC staff travel to communities across Ontario to engage with investors, including newcomers and multicultural groups, to deliver investor education presentations on fraud prevention, investing 101 and the client-advisor relationship. Learn more

To protect the health and safety of the public and staff, all OSC in the Community events are cancelled until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation and follow guidance from public health authorities.

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Protect your money by following these 4 tips to avoid investment scams.

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