The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) said on Wednesday that it has rewarded three whistleblowers with 7.5 million Canadian dollars ($5.6 million) for providing evidence against companies and individuals that have infringed upon regulations.
This marks the first time that the OSC has paid out money to whistleblowers for help on a given case.
“Our Whistleblower program has proven to be a game-changer for the OSC’s enforcement efforts,” said Maureen Jensen, OSC Chair and CEO. “This would not be possible without courageous individuals willing to come forward and provide valuable information about harm to Ontario’s capital markets.”
The Canadian regulator said that the three individuals had helped them in three different cases.
In each of those cases, the whistleblowers provided highly specific, credible and necessary information to the regulator.
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Though it did not reveal what the cases were, the OSC said that the cases the whistleblowers were involved in helped the regulator to impose fines on the companies and individuals that broke financial regulations.
OSC – not alone
It is also difficult to determine who the whistleblowers are. As with similar programmes operating in other jurisdictions, the OSC’s whistleblower programme is designed to protect the identity of people that pass on information to the regulator.
“Whistleblowers expose complex securities misconduct that may not otherwise come to light, allowing us to take timely action,” added Jeff Kehoe, OSC Director of Enforcement. “We hope this announcement, alongside our substantive whistleblower protections, will encourage more whistleblowers to come forward.”
A couple of important regulators across the globe have recently announced changes to their whistleblower programmes.
In January of this year, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority said that it would be making changes to the way it handles whistleblowers so that it can better protect their identity.
And last week, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission also announced that it is going to improve its ability to keep whistleblowers anonymous.