Thank you, Minister.
My friends and colleagues might be surprised to see me in Ottawa today taking on the responsibility of leading the transition to a Canadian securities regulator.
As the Chair of the British Columbia Securities Commission for more than 20 years, I have witnessed and participated in Canada’s long debate about our regulatory structure. I have been a strong proponent of the provincial regulators and the inter-provincial passport system we have developed.
The current securities regulatory system has served Canada well, and we have made vast improvements in recent years. However, we need to make further improvements to integrate securities regulation nationally, improve our linkages to other financial regulators, and strengthen our contribution to international regulatory developments.
Although we could continue to debate what structure would best serve Canada going forward, we now have a core group of provinces and territories that are willing to work with the federal government to create a Canadian securities regulator. I believe that, if done properly, establishing a Canadian securities regulator on the strong foundation of the provincial regulators will help us achieve the needed improvements while retaining the strengths of our current system.
One of the challenges of regulating securities markets is that they operate at so many levels. We need to create a Canadian securities regulator that can deal with complex, fast-moving transactions at the global level while maintaining a focus on and sensitivity to the regulatory needs of regional markets and local investors. The Canadian securities regulator must be accessible and responsive to investors and market participants, large and small, in all regions of Canada. It must provide strong enforcement to deal with abuses at all levels. And it must deliver regulation that does not impose an excessive burden on market participants.
I want the Transition Office to aim high - to establish a Canadian securities regulator that will be regarded as the best in the world.
The federal government has provided the Transition Office with the resources and the broad mandate needed to create such a body. Now we need to get on with the job.
I am eager to get started on the exciting challenge of taking Canadian securities regulation to greater heights, to meet the needs of investors and our economy for the 21st century.
To achieve our goals, we will need the cooperation and assistance of governments and regulators in the participating provinces and territorities. I look forward to working with them to make the transition as seamless as possible.
We will also need input from market participants across Canada to make sure that we get it right.
I am pleased that Bryan Davies will be working with me as Vice Chair of the Transition Office. We worked together on regulatory issues when he was at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, and now we have the opportunity to collaborate in a different context. I value his diverse experience and his counsel in ensuring the new Canadian securities regulator becomes a key pillar in Canada’s financial stability framework.
And finally, I want to thank the Minister for giving me the opportunity to lead this important initiative and for his boundless determination to improve securities regulation in Canada.