In a bid to help streamline its enforcement initiatives, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is embarking on a new program and office that relies on whistleblowers to help facilitate and assist with investigations. On July 14, the OSC will formally be launching the Office of the Whistleblower, headed by Kelly Gorman as its chief.
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The OSC’s new Office of the Whistleblower is the first of its kind in Canada, and will aim to be an instrumental force for the OSC’s securities regulatory agenda. For now, the office is offering up to $5.0 million in compensation to whistleblowers or individuals who bring to light pertinent information or tips that lead to successful enforcement action.
The new initiative will be important for the OSC as it will help garner additional participation and tips that ultimately could foster greater effectiveness of an investigation – in the past whistleblowers have been extremely helpful in a variety of matters, such as insider trading, accounting and disclosure violations and registrant misconduct.
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While the office is slated to launch in Canada next month, many other regulatory jurisdictions have been relying on whistleblowers extensively in their effort to curb illicit behavior. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced a $17.0 million reward for its own program, the second highest sum ever offered.
For her part, Ms. Gorman originally joined the OSC in 2002, having held multiple senior roles, including most recently as its Deputy Director of the Enforcement Branch. In this capacity, she helped oversee the development of the OSC’s whistleblower program, as well as the OSC’s no-contest settlement program and oversaw investigation and litigation teams specializing in securities-related misconduct.
According to Maureen Jensen, Chair and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the OSC, in a recent statement on the office and appointment: “The OSC’s Office of the Whistleblower will be the first paid whistleblower program by a securities regulator in Canada and will be headed by Kelly Gorman, an OSC executive with significant experience in securities law enforcement.”
“Kelly’s leadership expertise and oversight of several high-profile enforcement initiatives, as well as her accounting background, make her uniquely suited to lead this investigative multi-disciplinary team,” she added.