Proxy advisory firms Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass, Lewis & Co. (Glass Lewis) recently published updated guidelines governing shareholder meetings for the 2021 proxy season. The ISS Benchmark Policies for Canadian issuers and Glass Lewis Guidelines focused on key issues, including gender diversity, environmental and social risk oversight, board refreshment, and other corporate governance

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

On May 1, 2020, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a news release, announcing local blanket orders (Blanket Orders) for market participants in connection with meetings delayed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. This relief is in addition to the relief announced March 23, 2020, by the CSA with

At the time of previous financial crises, the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) granted blanket relief to listed issuers from its $0.05 per share minimum pricing requirement for various share issuances. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with many TSXV issuers trading at less than $0.05, the TSXV issued a Bulletin on April 8, 2020 providing important relief (Temporary Relief) from certain requirements of the TSXV Corporate Finance Manual. In particular, the Temporary Relief removes in the specific cases set out below the TSXV’s $0.05 minimum price for share issuances by issuers whose “Market Price” is $0.05 or less, subject to a new minimum of $0.01, until September 30, 2020.

By way of background, a number of TSXV Policies, including Policy 4.1 Private Placements, incorporate the concepts of “Market Price” and “Discounted Market Price”. The terms are defined in TSXV Policy 1.1 Interpretation; “Market Price” is the last closing price of an issuer’s shares prior to the issuance of a news release or filing with the TSXV of Form 4A – Price Reservation Form for a share issuance, while “Discounted Market Price” is “Market Price” less maximum permitted discounts (for example, 25% if the closing price is up to $0.50), but subject in all cases to a minimum price per share of $0.05. This reflects a long-standing, fundamental rule of the TSXV – the TSXV does not permit shares to be issued from treasury at less than $0.05, so as to prevent excessive dilution.
Continue Reading Shades of Crises Past – The TSX Venture Exchange Provides Temporary Relief from the $0.05 Minimum Pricing Requirement

Timely Disclosure recently reported on the CSA’s previously announced and published local blanket orders (Blanket Orders) that provide a 45-day extension for periodic filings normally required to be made by market participants between March 23, 2020 and June 1, 2020. On April 3, 2020, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) released CSA Staff Notice 51-360 (Staff Notice) which includes useful guidance for market participants wishing to avail themselves of the relief provided by the Blanket Orders.

The following is a summary of certain of the guidance in the Staff Notice. It is important for issuers to review the local Blanket Orders in their jurisdiction. Issuers who intend to rely on the exemptions in the Blanket Orders should consider their applicable corporate statute, stock exchange requirements and other obligations to provide disclosure materials, including financial statements under any existing contractual obligations, as well as the events of default, covenants and other terms of any contracts including debt instruments. Issuers should also review their ongoing corporate finance activities when considering reliance on the Blanket Orders.


Continue Reading CSA Provides Guidance on Previously Announced Blanket Orders in Response to COVID-19

On March 30, 2020, in connection with its state of emergency declared on March 17, 2020 (Declared Emergency), the Ontario government issued an order (Order) under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (Ontario) to temporarily suspend and replace, among other things, certain provisions of the Business Corporations Act (Ontario) (

On March 26, 2020, Corporations Canada issued a notice (Notice) entitled “Annual meetings of federal corporations during the COVID-19 outbreak”.  The Notice acknowledges that hosting in-person annual meetings during the COVID-19 outbreak would contradict public health advice to practice physical distancing and self-isolation to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and outlines options for federal corporations to consider in order to remain compliant with the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA).


Continue Reading 2020 Annual Meetings – Notice from Corporations Canada

On March 23, 2020, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) issued Staff Notice 2020-0002 granting temporary blanket relief from certain provisions of the TSX Company Manual (Manual) and the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) issued a “Notice to Issuers” with similar temporary blanket relief, both in response to the

We noted in our post of January 18, 2018 that the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) were reconsidering whether the CSA’s disclosure-based approach for issuers with U.S. marijuana-related activities remained appropriate.  The CSA’s reconsideration was triggered by an announcement on January 4, 2018 by Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States, which expressly rescinded previous nationwide guidance from the Obama-era specific to marijuana enforcement (or forbearance therefrom) in the United States, including a “Memorandum for All United States Attorneys” dated August 29, 2013 from James M. Cole, then-Deputy Attorney General of the United States.  As we noted, while medicinal marijuana is legal in numerous American states and recreational marijuana is legal in several states, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level in the United States, thus creating a dilemma for the CSA with respect to Canadian issuers with marijuana-related activities in the United States.

On February 8, 2018, the CSA published CSA Staff Notice 51-352 (Revised) Issuers with U.S. Marijuana-Related Activities (Revised 51-352), setting out the expectations of CSA staff with respect to disclosure for specific risks faced by issuers with marijuana-related activities in the United States.  In short, the CSA have maintained their disclosure-based approach for Canadian issuers with marijuana-related activities in the United States, as opposed to prohibiting such issuers from raising funds in Canada or listing on a Canadian stock exchange.  Issuers will continue to be able to raise funds and list in Canada, notwithstanding the fact that their operations may be illegal under United States federal law and that they may face prosecution at any time, as long as such risks are adequately disclosed.


Continue Reading The Saga Continues: Marijuana, United States Federal Law and the Canadian Securities Administrators