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OSC proposes four new capital raising prospectus exemptions

TORONTO, March 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) published today for a 90-day public comment period four new prospectus exemptions. These exemptions are intended to facilitate capital raising by businesses at different stages in their development, while maintaining an appropriate level of investor protection.

The exemptions are:

  • an offering memorandum exemption that would allow businesses to raise capital based on a comprehensive disclosure document being made available to investors,
  • a family, friends and business associates exemption that is intended to enable start-ups and early stage businesses to raise capital from investors within the personal networks of the principals of the business,
  • an existing security holder exemption that would allow public companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange or Canadian Stock Exchange to raise capital from their existing security holders based on their public disclosure record,
  • a crowdfunding exemption that would allow businesses, particularly start-ups and early stage businesses, to raise capital from a potentially large number of investors through an online platform registered with the securities regulators.

The publication of these proposals follows a comprehensive review by the OSC of the exempt market. As part of that review, Staff considered the written comments received on earlier proposals. Staff also conducted extensive consultations with a broad range of stakeholders through a series of one-on-one meetings and town hall meetings, and an online survey designed to gauge the views of retail investors on investing in start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Today we have proposed new tools, which will transform Ontario's exempt market by providing greater access to capital for businesses and expanding investment opportunities for investors," said Howard Wetston, Q.C., Chair and CEO of the OSC. "We have done so in a balanced and responsible manner that is intended to facilitate capital raising while maintaining an appropriate level of investor protection. We look forward to receiving input on these proposals, which are tailored to address the needs of Ontario's capital markets."

The Notice and Request for Comment is available on the OSC website www.osc.gov.on.ca and the comment period runs until June 18, 2014.

In developing these proposals, OSC Staff have coordinated their efforts to achieve substantial harmonization with the current initiatives and existing exemptions of other members of the Canadian Securities Administrators.

For further information please see Backgrounder.

The OSC is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing Ontario's capital markets. The OSC administers and enforces Ontario's securities and commodity futures laws. Its mandate is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices and to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in capital markets.

SOURCE Ontario Securities Commission

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