It has not been a happy holidays for the securities regulators in Ontario and Alberta. A sweeping investigation by national newspaper The Globe and Mailhas revealed that those government-affiliated professionals are having their system grossly taken advantage of by stock market reoffenders and other securities rule breakers.
These white-collar offenders have racked up $1,101,583,984.44 in unpaid fines nationwide, with 75 per cent of it being concentrated in the Ontario (52 per cent) and Alberta (23 per cent) capital markets.
Upon hearing of the revelations, government leaders in both aforementioned provinces voiced their displeasure and vowed to crack down on these practices.
"Do I think that people should be held to account? Yes," said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. "I'll work with my Finance Minister to determine what we can do."
"The department is concerned," said Alberta Finance Department spokesman Mike Berezowsky, expressing that his government wants to "make sure regulators have the tools they need to improve collections and get results, so that investors can be confident in our capital markets."
Many of these offenders are not one-off rule breakers. According to the investigation's findings, one in every nine people who break securities rules in Canada go on to reoffend. In Ontario, more than $139-million of the province's unpaid fines were levied against just 209 individuals.
The Canadian Securities Administrators responded to the investigation by issuing a public call for more support from law enforcement in tackling these securities violations. It is now very much incumbent upon them to do so—especially in Ontario and Alberta—since the cat has been let out of the bag.