Ontario Securities Commission Announces That Office of Economic Growth and Innovation Is Now Operational

Business Start Up, Capital Markets, General

On May 20th, the Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”) announced that their Office of Economic Growth and Innovation (the “Innovation Office”) is up and running. The purpose of the Innovation Office is to help innovative businesses navigate securities law by providing them with flexible approaches to overcoming regulatory hurdles. On a broader level, the Innovation Office will focus its efforts on initiatives that support economic growth and innovation in Ontario’s capital markets. This new branch of the OSC was created in accordance with the OSC’s capital markets plan to lower business costs, promote Ontario internationally, attract skilled workers, and create further confidence in the capital markets and financial services.

The Innovation Office will provide a number of services that aim to help innovative businesses by offering new resources and reducing regulatory burdens. In particular, the Innovation Office will provide time-limited registrations, exemptive relief, informal guidance on securities laws, and other tailored support through its business support program.

A new beta directory is also now available that connects service providers with businesses for advice that falls outside the responsibility of security regulators. A new support program is being developed that will provide businesses with controlled testing environments for Ontario’s capital markets. The testing environments will use features such as standardized testing parameters, restricted approvals, exemptive relief, blanket waivers, and periodic and themed cohorts to streamline testing.

The Innovation Office plans on building new ties with regional innovation centers, accelerators, incubators, venture capital firms and angel investors to ensure outreach with start-ups and other innovative businesses. To better engage with key stakeholders and garner information from the market, the Innovation Office has created new social media channels.