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In late May 2016, the TSX proposed amendments to the TSX Company Manual (Initial Proposal), most notably in Part IV, which contains the requirements for maintaining a listing. In our earlier post, we provided an overview of the Initial Proposal, which was to introduce a requirement for certain corporate documents to be disclosed, and publicly accessible, on a listed issuer’s website. In the Initial Proposal, the TSX pointed out that while many relevant corporate documents are already publicly available (typically on SEDAR), they are often difficult to find and categorize.

At the conclusion of the initial comment period, the TSX identified concerns from market participants regarding the potential increased regulatory burden and the general uncertainty surrounding the types of documents that fall within the scope of the Initial Proposal. As a result, the proposed amendments were revised (Revised Proposal) and the TSX has issued a further request for comments, to be completed by May 8, 2017. While the rationale of providing participants with easy centralized access to key information remains unchanged, the Revised Proposal attempts to remedy the potential regulatory burden and clarity issues of the Initial Proposal.

The Initial Proposal created ambiguity by providing for broad categories of documents, with short non-exhaustive lists as guidance, that an issuer would be required to post online. For example, an issuer was required to post “constating documents including articles, trust indentures, partnership agreements, by-laws and other similar documents” and “corporate policies that may impact meetings of security holders and voting, including advance notice and majority voting policies.” The Revised Proposal attempts to address the ambiguity by providing specific lists (for example, “articles of incorporation, amalgamation, continuation…”) and in some cases, a catch-all for documents of a similar nature.


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At the end of May 2016, the TSX published for comment proposed amendments to the TSX Company Manual (Company Manual) 1) introducing website disclosure requirements for TSX-listed issuers; and 2) amending disclosure requirements regarding securities-based compensation arrangements (Arrangement) including the introduction of Form 15 – Disclosure of Security-Based Compensation Arrangements.

Website disclosure

The TSX

On May 21, 2015, the TSX announced one set of amendments and one request for comment on proposed amendments to the TSX Company Manual (Manual), both respecting physical certificate requirements for securities. The amendments should not have a noticeable impact for many listed issuers or industry participants, but they do highlight a few trends to be aware of.

The amendments and proposed amendments were promulgated in response to the trend of increasing dematerialization of physical securities the securities industry has experienced over approximately the last decade, initiated on the part of industry participants such as transfer agents, exchanges, brokers, and especially, clearing agencies and depositories, like the Canadian Depository for Securities (CDS). Legal practitioners, transfer agents, issuers and underwriters should all be familiar with the effects of the trend, noting the continual increase in electronic closings in recent years, for both financing and M&A transactions. Topically, this trend is reflected in the increasing number of electronic issuances of securities to even United States purchasers by Canadian listed issuers, which until very recently would have required physical certificates to be delivered to those purchasers, mainly for legending and transfer restriction purposes.

The dematerialization of evidence of securities ownership is itself an industry response to mitigate the costs and risks associated with the physical evidence of security ownership, including the costs of printing, storing, transferring, and physical handling of certificates, and the risk of theft and loss. CDS especially, through its rules, has been at the fore of implementing the shift for participants to embrace dematerialization to reduce such costs and risks, as CDS was often the entity with the responsibility to securely store physical certificates, and maintain facilities, staff and processes for their handling and transfer.

The published amendments to the Manual are characterized by TSX as being of a “housekeeping” nature, which characterization the Ontario Securities Commission did not disagree with. The amendments have been in force since May 21, 2015. The amendments update the language of the Manual to contemplate additional forms of evidence of security ownership other than physical certificates, such as holding securities through CDSX, the electronic deposit system of CDS, and direct registration systems, (commonly referred to as “DRS”). The amendments otherwise update the Manual to codify or clarify existing practices and dematerialization trends as they apply to transactions for TSX listed issuers, including amendments to, among other things, the listing agreement, and the rules for supplemental listings, stock splits, and consolidations. One practical change in the amendments to highlight is that the Manual now codifies that TSX listed issuers may have a transfer agent with a principal office in one or more of each of Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, or Halifax, whereas the Manual previously required that issuers have a transfer agent with a principal office in Toronto.
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On January 15, 2015, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) published for comment proposed amendments to the TSX Company Manual which would introduce listing requirements for non-corporate entities, such as exchange-traded products, closed-end funds and structured products, as those terms are defined in the proposed amendments.

The proposed amendments address the following, among other matters:

  • minimum

On November 28, 2013, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) published proposed amendments to the TSX Company Manual (the Manual) and requested comments on the proposed amendments (the Amendments), such comments to be delivered by January 13, 2014. The proposed amendments would 1) amend Section 611 of the Manual to allow issuers listed on the TSX to adopt security-based compensation arrangements (Compensation Arrangements) for employees of a target issuer in the context of an acquisition without security holder approval under certain circumstances (the Compensation Arrangement Amendment); and 2) amend Section 626 of the Manual toclarify the definition of a “backdoor listing” (the Backdoor Listing Amendment).

Arrangement Amendment

Background

Currently, Section 613 of the Manual provides that any Compensation Arrangement adopted by a listed issuer must be approved by its security holders. There are two exceptions to this rule: 1) listed issuers may provide a Compensation Arrangement as an inducement for employment to an officer, provided the number of securities issuable does not exceed 2% of the issued and outstanding securities over a 12-month period; and 2) listed issuers may assume a Compensation Arrangement of a target issuer in the context of an acquisition, in which case the number of securities issuable under such Compensation Arrangement will be taken into account to determine whether security holder approval is required for the acquisition. With the Compensation Arrangement Amendment, the TSX proposes to add a third exception.

The Proposed Amendment

The Compensation Arrangement Amendment would create a new exception that would allow listed issuers to adopt Compensation Arrangements for employees of a target issuer in the context of an acquisition without security holder approval, provided that the number of securities issuable under such Compensation Arrangement and the number of securities issuable pursuant to the acquisition (including any related Compensation Arrangement) does not exceed 2% and 25% of the number of issued and outstanding securities of the listed issuer, respectively.
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