Recent amendments to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario Act, 2016 (FSRA Act), effective April 29, 2022, marks the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario’s (FSRA) ongoing efforts to help identify misconduct in the non-securities financial services and pensions sectors. The amendments usher in a new Whistle-Blower Program designed to offer enhanced protection to a whistle-blower’s identity from disclosure, reprisal and liability in civil proceedings, where the person or entity discloses alleged or intended contraventions of certain Acts corresponding to “regulated sectors” under FSRA’s purview. Specifically, the following Acts are now covered:
- the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 2020;
- the Financial Professionals Title Protection Act, 2019;
- the Insurance Act;
- the Loan and Trust Corporations Act;
- the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006;
- the Pension Benefits Act; and
- the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act, 2015.
To encourage persons or entities to come forward with timely insider information of suspected contraventions, FSRA is required to keep confidential not only the identity of the whistle-blower but also any information or record that may reasonably be expected to reveal their identity.
It is important to note that the Whistle-Blower Program does not only protect employees, but rather any “person or entity” who comes forward in good faith, so long as the associated requirements as set out in the FSRA Act are met. To help ensure anonymity, submissions to FSRA may be made through a whistle-blower’s lawyer.
May 31, 2022