On March 29, 2021, the Canadian Securities Administrators (“CSA”) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC”) jointly published Staff Notice 21-329 Guidance for Crypto-Asset Trading Platforms: Compliance with Regulatory Requirements (“Notice 21-329”)[1]. Notice 21-329 provides guidance on how securities legislation will be applied to crypto-asset trading platforms (“CTPs”) and in doing so expands on the regulatory guidance previously set out in CSA Staff Notice 21-327[2] and joint CSA/IIROC Consultation Paper 21-402[3].

On the same day, the Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”) issued a news release imposing a deadline of April 19, 2021 for CTPs to contact OSC regarding bringing their operations into compliance. The OSC intends to take enforcement actions towards those CTPs who fails to do so by the deadline, including CTPs located outside of Ontario that allow access to Ontarians.
Continue Reading CSA and IIROC publish updated guidance on cryptocurrency regulatory issues; OSC issues deadline for cryptocurrency companies to begin regulatory compliance efforts

On March 11, 2021, the Canadian Securities Administrators (“CSA”) published Staff Notice 51-363 – Observations on Disclosure by Crypto Assets Reporting (“Notice 51-363”), the first update from CSA regarding entities dealing in crypto assets in more than a year[1]. Based on the disclosure of reporting issuers acting in the crypto asset space, Notice 51-363 provides staff guidance on expectations for disclosure in this industry.

Crypto asset reporting issuers have the same obligations as other public companies in disclosing material information and changes that affecting their businesses, as well as the financial impacts of such risks. Notice 51-363 reiterates the importance of fulfilling these obligations, and at the same time, recognizes the emerging nature of the crypto asset industry and novel issues reporting issuers may face.

Notice 51-363 can assist current and future reporting issuers because it provides detailed guidance on disclosure expectations in the context of crypto assets industry and highlights perceived insufficiencies in the disclosure of current reporting issuers.
Continue Reading CSA urging crypto asset reporting issuers to improve disclosure quality

The author wishes to thank Gilles Leclerc for his advice and contributions.

“Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.” This quote from Estragon, one of the main characters in Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot”, summarizes well the previous year from an economic and social perspective. Today, while the hopes of a vaccine rollout and economic recovery are looming on the horizon,
the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a material adverse impact on our economy. It poses widespread challenges for many businesses, including challenges in reporting and disclosing the effect of Covid-19 to investors.

In a series of bulletins[1] published last year, we highlighted the guidance provided by both the Canadian Securities Administrators (“CSA“) and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission relating to the continuous disclosure obligations of public issuers in the context of Covid-19. On February 25, 2021,  CSA issued Staff Notice 51-362 (the “Staff Notice“) to report the results of  their review of the disclosure provided by reporting issuers on the impact of Covid-19 on their business. CSA examined the filings of approximately 90 issuers
Continue Reading Continuous Disclosure Obligations in Times of a Continuous Pandemic: Canadian Securities Regulators’ Review of Issuers’ Disclosure

On December 22, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed an action against Ripple Labs Inc. (“Ripple”), Christian Larsen, the company’s co-founder, executive chairman of its board, and former CEO; and Bradley Garlinghouse, the company’s current CEO (together, the “Defendants”) for conducting an unregistered securities offering with a total value of US$1.38 billion.

On December 1, 2020, the TSX Venture Exchange (Exchange) issued a news release to announce changes to its Capital Pool Company (CPC) program that will come into force on January 1, 2021.  The CPC program is a way for private companies to go public in Canada. The CPC program enables seasoned directors and officers to form a CPC, raise a pool of capital and list the CPC on the Exchange with no assets other than cash and no commercial operations. The CPC then uses the capital raised to identify a private operating company to complete a qualifying transaction with the CPC (Qualifying Transaction). After the CPC has completed its Qualifying Transaction, the resulting issuer’s shares trade as a regular listing on the Exchange.

The Exchange advised that the changes are aimed at providing increased flexibility by included additional jurisdictions, easing the residency requirements and simplifying spending restriction.  The changes are also aimed at reducing regulatory burden by relaxing the requirements on shareholder distribution and shareholder approvals.
Continue Reading TSX Venture Exchange Adopts Changes to Capital Pool Company Policies

Overview

In an effort to reduce the regulatory burden for issuers who wish to conduct “at-the-market” (“ATM”) offerings in Canada and facilitate capital raising by public companies, the Canadian Securities Administrators (the “CSA”) announced significant amendments (the “Amendments”) to the ATM distribution regime under National Instrument 44-102 – Shelf

“At-The-Market”, or ATM, offerings are likely to continue gaining traction in Canada following the publication of a notice of amendments (the Amendments) to National Instrument 44-102 Shelf Distributions (NI 44-102) by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA). The key features of the Amendments are as follows:

  • The Amendments will come into

On May 20, 2020, Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a news release to announce that the CSA has published new local blanket orders (New Blanket Orders) for market participants that provide a 45-day extension for periodic filings normally required to be made by non-investment fund issuers between June 2, 2020 and

On March 23, 2020, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a news release to announce that the CSA has published local blanket orders (Blanket Orders) for market participants that provide a 45-day extension for periodic filings normally required to be made by market participants on or before June 1, 2020. Market

On June 4, 2019, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Kik Interactive Inc. (Kik), a privately-held Canadian corporation based in Waterloo, Ontario, for conducting an unregistered securities offering of its digital token “Kin” in violation of section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933. The SEC is seeking a permanent injunction, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and civil penalties against Kik.


Continue Reading Alive and Kik-ing: Kik Interactive Faces SEC Action but Vows to Fight Back