On November 25, 2014, the Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”) and the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”, together with the OSC, the “Participants”) announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (the “MOU”), aimed at developing cooperation and effective delivery of each agency’s respective mandates.
The MOU signifies the acknowledgment of the important relationship between the OSC and the Bureau. Moreover, the MOU deals with issues such as the exchange of information and intelligence, cooperative enforcement and joint education and advocacy.
In order to achieve the purpose of the MOU, the OSC and the Bureau commit to promoting the benefits of as well as encouraging cooperation with each other throughout all levels of their respective organizations. Such goal is intended to be achieved through:
- notifying the other Participant regarding matters that are materially relevant to the other Participant;
- providing assistance to the other Participant in investigations, litigation and other enforcement action;
- exchanging information and intelligence in areas of mutual interest;
- undertaking joint education or advocacy initiatives; and
- meeting annually or semi-annually at a senior management level to discuss relevant issues and explore further opportunities for cooperation.
The Participants will maintain absolute confidentiality and will not exchange information that would contravene any relevant legislation, policies or guidance documents. Moreover, neither Participant will disclose confidential information that was obtained from the other Participant to any third party, without the written consent of the other Participant, except as required by law.
According to the Commissioner of Competition, John Pecman, the MOU formalizes an already strong relationship between the Bureau and the OSC and outlines a process for increased collaboration and more effective enforcement of each Participant’s respective laws. Howard Weston, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the OSC, states that the arrangement between the two Participants is important in allowing the OSC to work collaboratively with the Bureau to address fraudulent misconduct in Ontario. He further adds that it allows the Participants to share information and expertise and provides the opportunity to partner on joint fraud prevention initiatives.
The MOU comes into effect on the date of the final signature. Either Participant may terminate the MOU by providing written notice to the other Participant at least 30 days in advance.