For Immediate Release
March 29, 2004

New rules promote investor confidence, change issuers' disclosure and governance practices

Calgary — A series of new rules that promote investor confidence and significantly change a number of the disclosure and governance practices of most Canadian public companies come into force in most Canadian jurisdictions tomorrow, March 30, 2004.  The rules will apply to almost all reporting issuers other than investment funds.

“The net result of these rules is that investors will receive more consistent disclosure on a more timely basis and they can be more confident in the quality of the information they receive,” said Steve Sibold, Chair of the CSA and of the Alberta Securities Commission.  He added that “international investors can remain confident that Canada's disclosure and governance standards continue to be as stringent as those anywhere in the world.”

One of the new rules harmonizes continuous disclosure requirements across Canada for the first time and introduces a number of changes, including shorter filing deadlines for financial statements.  Another rule will require CEOs and CFOs to certify their financial disclosure.  There is also an instrument establishing the responsibilities and composition of audit committees and yet another requiring that an issuer's auditors participate in the oversight program of the Canadian Public Accountability Board.

The rules that come into force include:

  • National Instrument 51-102 Continuous Disclosure Obligations
  • National Instrument 52-107 Acceptable Accounting Principles, Auditing Standards and Reporting Currency
  • National Instrument 52-108 Auditor Oversight
  • Multilateral Instrument 52-109 Certification of Disclosure in Issuers' Annual and Interim Filings (MI 52-109)
  • Multilateral Instrument 52-110 Audit Committees (MI 52-110)
  • National Instrument 71-102 Continuous Disclosure and Other Exemptions Relating to Foreign Issuers

MI 52-109 and MI 52-110 have not been adopted by the British Columbia Securities Commission.

To help reporting issuers get ready for the changes, the Ontario Securities Commission has prepared an internet-based presentation summarizing the new requirements.  The webcast, first of its kind offered by the OSC, is available at www.osc.gov.on.ca/webcast.  A detailed brochure comparing the new continuous disclosure requirements to the existing ones is available at the same location.

The CSA is a council of the 13 securities regulators of Canada's provinces and territories.  It coordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets.  More information is available at the CSA website, www.csa-acvm.ca.

For Media Inquiries:

Joni Delaurier
Alberta Securities Commission
403-297-4481
www.albertasecurities.com

Andrew Poon
B.C. Securities Commission
604-899-6880
1-800-373-6393 (B.C. & Alberta only)
www.bcsc.bc.ca

Eric Pelletier
Ontario Securities Commission
416-595-8913
www.osc.gov.on.ca

Barbara Timmins
Commission des valeurs mobilières du Québec
514-940-2176
1-800-361-5072 (Québec only)
www.cvmq.com