On March 18, 2020, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a news release to advise that they will be providing temporary relief from some regulatory filings including financial statements, management’s discussion and analysis, management reports of fund performance, annual information forms, technical reports (the Relief). The Relief will provide issuers, investment funds, registrants, certain regulated entities and designated rating organizations (Market Participants) with an exemption from the certain filings required to be made by Market Participants on or before June 1, 2020.
The CSA indicated that issuers complying with the conditions of the relief will not be noted in default and will not need to file applications for management cease trade orders if they will miss deadlines due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The conditions of the relief were not provided by the CSA at this time. This guidance replaces the initial release of the CSA issued on March 16, 2020 for issuers to apply for a MCTO if they would be unable to meet a reporting deadline.
The CSA stated that it is supportive of the social distancing measures that issuers are taking to mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19, including the initiative of issuers to hold virtual securityholder meetings. The CSA advised that they will publish additional guidance on making changes to annual general meetings and asked that issuers contact their principal regulator with any questions or concerns in the meantime.
The CSA advised that all CSA proposals that are currently out for comment will have their comment periods extended by 45 days. The CSA release also reminded Market Participants that staff of the CSA are having frequent dialogue with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). IIROC is the entity responsible for trading surveillance on Canadian markets. IIROC has confirmed to the CSA that volatility controls are functioning as expected in temporarily pausing declines while still allowing orderly price discovery to continue.
The CSA is continuing to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian capital markets and expects to publish further details about the relief shortly. The CSA provided a staff contact list in the CSA news release.