www.lexisnexis.ca Vol. 30, No. 11 Mid-September 2014
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Fraud tip line is humming, but crime scope unknown

A new whistleblower line designed to uncover hidden offshore assets is a great first step, but there’s still a long way to go in combatting a financial fraud problem that is largely of unknown proportions in Canada.

The Offshore Tax Informant Program (OTIP) has received a steady stream of calls since its January launch, but it could be years before it pays out rewards to informants.

As of June 30, OTIP had received more than 900 calls, 278 of which were from tipsters, and more than 180 case numbers have been issued. There have also been 119 written submissions, said Philippe Brideau, spokesman for Canada Revenue Agency.

Internal accord is next on federal free-trade agenda

With international free-trade deals involving the European Union and South Korea widely reported to be at or close to completion, the federal government is signalling that it may be shifting its focus within Canada’s borders and committing to removing internal barriers to free trade, as pledged in the 2014 budget.

"More must be done within our own borders to ensure the free movement of goods and services across provincial and territorial boundaries. It should not be more difficult to conduct trade within Canada than it is to trade with other countries. These unnecessary barriers cost jobs, impede growth and inconvenience Canadians," the budget document said.

Federal ministers have been meeting with business groups this summer to figure out how to dismantle barriers still perceived to exist in the near 20-year-old Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT).

Crowdfunding inches toward reality in Canada

 

With the Internet presence in commerce firmly established and ever growing, the Ontario Securities Commission has proposed that entrepreneurs in Canada’s largest business province be allowed to raise capital from potential investors through an increasingly popular form of online fundraising known as crowdfunding. 

The OSC said its proposed crowdfunding exemption, through which qualified firms could raise up to $1.5 million during a time period of up to 12 months, "would allow businesses, particularly start-ups and early stage businesses, to raise capital from a potentially large number of investors through an online platform registered with the securities regulators."

Amendments aim at disclosure, transparency

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have opted for greater transparency in their recently published final amendments to national instrument 52-108 Auditor Oversight.

The amendments aim to provide securities regulators with more knowledge about significant remedial actions imposed on audit firms by the Canadian Public Accountability Board.

"Informing securities regulators about audit quality issues identified by the Canadian Public Accountability Board will assist them in overseeing Canada’s capital markets and contribute to enhanced investor confidence in the integrity of financial reporting of reporting issuers," said Bill Rice, chair of the CSA and also chair and chief executive officer of the Alberta Securities Commission.

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