The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is an umbrella organization of Canada’s provincial and territorial securities regulators whose objective is to improve, coordinate and harmonize regulation of the Canadian capital markets.
As an informal body, the CSA functions through meetings, conference calls and day to day cooperation among the securities regulatory authorities. In 2003, the CSA was re-structured into a more formal organization. The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected by members for two year terms. In 2004, the CSA established a permanent secretariat, located in Montreal.
In recent years, the CSA has developed the “passport system” through which a market participant has access to markets in all passport jurisdictions by dealing only with its principal regulator and complying with one set of harmonized laws. While the CSA co-ordinates initiatives on a cross-Canada basis, the 10 provinces and 3 territories in Canada are responsible for securities regulations and their enforcement. This provides a more direct and efficient service since each regulator is closer to its local investors and market participants.
The CSA consists of securities regulators of the 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada :
Alberta Securities Commission
British Columbia Securities Commission
Manitoba Securities Commission
New Brunswick’s Financial and Consumer Services Commission
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Office of the Superintendent of Securities of the Service
Nova Scotia Securities Commission
Ontario Securities Commission
Prince Edward Island’s Office of the Superintendent of Securities
Québec’s Autorité des marchés financiers
Saskatchewan’s Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority
Northwest Territories Securities Office
Nunavut Securities Office
Yukon Territories’ Office of the Superintendent of Securities
The CSA Chairs are the chairs of the securities regulators of the 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada. They meet quarterly in person. A Chair and Vice-Chair of the CSA are elected by members for two year terms.
Policy Coordination Committee
The CSA established the Policy Coordination Committee in August 2003. Its members are the Chairs of eight regulators (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia). The Policy Coordination Committee acts as a forum for timely resolution of policy development issues, monitors ongoing issues and provides recommendations to the CSA Chairs for their resolution.
The CSA established a permanent Secretariat in March 2004 in Montreal to provide the organizational stability necessary for CSA to function efficiently. The CSA Secretariat also monitors and coordinates the work of various CSA committees on policy initiatives.
IT Systems Office
The CSA IT Systems Office manages the day-to-day operations, maintenance, and enhancement of the CSA’s national systems (SEDAR, SEDI, and NRD).
Mission of the CSA 
Harmonization of Securities Regulations
The CSA brings provincial and territorial securities regulators together to share ideas and work at designing policies and regulations that are consistent across the country and ensure the smooth operation of Canada’s securities industry. By collaborating on rules, regulations and other programs, the CSA helps avoid duplication of work and streamlines the regulatory process for companies seeking to raise investment capital and others working in the investment industry.
As a result of the coordination efforts of the CSA, securities markets are governed by harmonized national or multi-lateral instruments which are assigned uniform five-digit numbers, starting with a number that represents one of the nine subject matter categories:
- Procedure and Related Matters
- Certain Capital Market Participants
- Registration Requirements and Related Matters
- Distribution Requirements
- Ongoing Requirements for Issuers and Insiders
- Takeover Bids and Special Transactions
- Securities Transactions Outside the Jurisdiction
- Investment Funds
The Passport System
In recent years, the CSA has developed the “passport system” – a regulatory system that gives a market participant automatic access to the capital markets in all Canadian jurisdictions except Ontario by registering with its principal regulator and meeting the requirements of one set of harmonized laws. The participants of the passport system are governments of all Canadian provinces and territories, except Ontario. The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) makes its own decisions but generally relies on the review by the principal regulator. To achieve maximum efficiency for the benefit of the market, the passport regulators accept the OSC’s decisions under passport.
CSA Disclosure Systems
The CSA maintains several databases that contain information on public companies’ disclosure and insider reporting (SEDAR, SEDI, and the XBRL Filing Program within SEDAR), the registration of dealers and advisers (NRD) and a cease trade order database (CTO).
- SEDAR, the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval,is the system that public companies and investment funds use to file public securities documents and information with the CSA.
- SEDI, the System for Electronic Disclosure by Insiders, is Canada’s on-line, browser-based service for the filing and viewing of insider trading reports as required by various provincial securities rules and regulations.
- NRD, the National Registration Database, is a web-based system that permits dealers and advisers to file registration forms electronically. The national registration search (NRS) contains the names of all registrants (individuals and firms) in Canada.
- CTO, the cease trade order publicly searchable database, contains all orders issued by participating CSA members, regardless of whether their effect is temporary or indefinite, and disseminates such orders to CTO subscribers.
The CSA’s impact on most Canadians comes through its efforts to help educate Canadians about the securities industry, the stock markets and how to protect investors from investment scams. The CSA provides a wide variety of educational materials on securities and investing. It has produced brochures and booklets explaining various topics such as how to choose a financial adviser, mutual funds, and investing via the internet. The CSA coordinates various annual investor education initiatives, including the Financial Literacy Month in November and the Fraud Prevention Month in March.
CSA Communications and Public Information Tools
The CSA publishes on its website a wide range of communications and public information tools, including news releases regarding newly adopted or proposed national or multilateral rules and regulations, investor education materials, enforcement reports and materials and investor research studies.
Annual Enforcement Report
In enforcement matters, while most enforcement activity is conducted locally, CSA members also coordinate multi-jurisdictional investigations and share tools and techniques that help their staff investigate and prosecute securities law violations that cross borders. Every year, the CSA publishes on its website an Enforcement Report, which provides an overview of enforcement actions taken by CSA members in such broad categories as fraud, illegal distribution, misconduct by registrants, illegal insider trading, disclosure violations and market manipulation.
The CSA maintains on its website a non-exhaustive list of CSA member investor alerts to assist the public and the securities industry in conducting due diligence. The subjects of these alerts are persons and/or companies who appear to be engaging in securities activities that may pose a risk to investors.
Disciplined Persons List
The disciplined persons list, maintained by the CSA on its website, is intended to assist the public and the securities industry in conducting due diligence. It contains orders issued by its members, as well as those issued by self-regulatory organizations (SROs).
- CSA website in English
- CSA website in French
- Alberta Securities Commission
- British Columbia Securities Commission
- Manitoba Securities Commission
- New Brunswick’s Financial and Consumer Services Commission
- Newfoundland and Labrador’s Office of the Superintendent of Securities of the Service
- Nova Scotia Securities Commission
- Ontario Securities Commission
- Prince Edward Island’s Office of the Superintendent of Securities
- Québec’s Autorité des marchés financiers
- Saskatchewan’s Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority
- Northwest Territories Securities Office
- Nunavut Securities Office
- Yukon Territories’ Office of the Superintendent of Securities
- International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)
- North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA)