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

As noted in our post of October 18, 2017, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued CSA Staff Notice 51-352 Issuers with U.S. Marijuana-Related Activities on October 16, 2017.  The CSA Staff Notice noted the discrepancy between United States federal and state law as it relates to the use and sale of marijuana.  In short, 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.

The CSA Staff Notice stated that how a company with marijuana activities in the United States ensures compliance with U.S. state-level regulatory frameworks forms an important part of that company’s Canadian continuous disclosure record, and set out specific, detailed disclosure requirements for issuers with marijuana-related activities in the United States, applicable to continuous disclosure documents such as an annual information form (AIF) or management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A), and to a prospectus in the event of a public offering.

All of that may have changed on January 4, 2018, when Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States, issued a one-page “Memorandum for All United States Attorneys” regarding “Marijuana Enforcement” (Sessions Memorandum).  The Sessions Memorandum expressly rescinded, effective immediately, previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement 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, entitled “Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement”.  A press release issued by the U.S  Department of Justice contemporaneous with the Sessions Memorandum announced that the Sessions Memorandum constitutes a “return to the rule of law” and that “Attorney General Jeff Sessions directs all U.S. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities”.


Continue Reading When Jeff Sessions Talks About Marijuana, the Canadian Securities Administrators Listen

On December 18, 2017, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV, together with the TSX, the TMX Exchanges) introduced electronic versions of TSX Form 4 and TSXV Form 2A Personal Information Form and the related TSX Form 4B and TSXV Form 2C1 Declaration (the Electronic Documents