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Ontario Securities Commission launches whistleblower program

The 17th floor of 10 Queen St. West where the Ontario Securities Commission holds hearings into financial matters, is pictured March 2 2015. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/File)

TORONTO – Ontario’s securities watchdog has launched its whistleblower program, a first in Canada, in an effort to root out accounting fraud, insider trading and market manipulation.

Under the program, the Ontario Securities Commission offers rewards of up to $5 million for tips that lead to successful prosecution.

The OSC originally planned to cap payments to $1.5 million, but it raised that after experts suggested that was too little to compensate senior executives who risk losing high-paying jobs and being blacklisted from their industries.

Payouts are still capped at $1.5 million unless the securities regulator is able to collect at least $10 million in sanctions related to a case.

In such cases, the whistleblower would receive between five and 15 per cent of the sanctions collected, up to a maximum of $5 million.

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The program also includes protections for those who come forward, such as confidentiality and anti-retaliation measures.

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