Overview of BC Securities Laws

The BC Securities Commission's mission is to ensure a fair and efficient securities market that warrants public confidence, while fostering a dynamic and competitive securities industry in British Columbia. We do this by regulating the trading of all securities in B.C. through the Securities Act and rules, regulations, policies and instruments established under the Act.

There are two basic requirements underlying our securities laws:

  1. Registration: Every issuer must comply with the registration and prospectus requirements or be able to rely on an exemption from those requirements. If you do not comply with the requirements and you are not able to rely on an exemption from them, you are violating B.C. securities laws. This may result in penalties such as severe fines or the shutdown of your operations.
  2. Prospectus: Both these requirements refer to a person. In B.C., the term "person" has a broad legal meaning that includes an individual, corporation, partnership, party, trust, fund, association, or any other organization.

The term security also has a broad legal meaning. It includes:

  • common and preferred shares,
  • options, warrants and other convertible instruments,
  • debentures, notes and other instruments of indebtedness
  • limited partnership units,
  • memberships in co-operative associations, and
  • units in a resort property (sharing in the rental profits for the whole building or property).

B.C. securities legislation also contains many provisions that apply only to reporting issuers. A reporting issuer includes any issuer that has:

  • filed a prospectus and obtained a receipt for it from the BCSC,
  • merged with a reporting issuer by a business combination or takeover bid, and/or
  • has, or previously had, its securities listed on a B.C. stock exchange.

A reporting issuer has an obligation to provide the public with information about its affairs on a continuous basis. If your organization is not a reporting issuer, you do not have to comply with these continuous disclosure requirements.

For further information, please go to: Private Early Stage Businesses