Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

October 16, 2009 17:11 ET

Government of Canada Intends to Seek Opinion of Supreme Court of Canada on Constitutionality of Proposed Canadian Securities Legislation

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 16, 2009) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C, M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced that the Government will seek the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada as to whether Parliament has the constitutional authority to enact and implement a federal securities regulatory regime. As part of this reference, the Government will submit to the Supreme Court of Canada draft legislation, expected to be ready in spring 2010.

"The Government strongly believes that Parliament has the constitutional authority to enact a comprehensive Federal Securities Act and is initiating preparatory steps in that direction," said Minister Nicholson. "In coming to this view, the Government is supported by many of Canada's foremost constitutional experts. However, for greater certainty, we will be asking the Supreme Court for its opinion, which is why we are proceeding with this reference."

The Government is mindful of the importance of having a definitive answer on the issue. An opinion from the Supreme Court of Canada will provide legal certainty to all provinces and territories, and market participants, and thus protect the integrity of a Canadian securities regulatory regime.

The Government is also continuing to work with its provincial and territorial partners to develop federal legislation that would allow voluntary provincial and territorial participation and ensure the new securities regulator meets the high standards of Canada's financial system.

The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, announced on October 15, 2009 that Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut had joined the Advisory Committee of Participating Provinces and Territories for the Canadian securities regulation regime. The Government of Canada continues to welcome the participation of other jurisdictions.

"A Canadian securities regulator will create a more efficient and streamlined securities regulatory system that reinforces financial stability, strengthens enforcement, protects investors and is more accountable," said Minister Nicholson.

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  • Office of the Minister of Justice
    Pamela Stephens
    Press Secretary
    Department of Justice
    Media Relations