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Public company complaints

Most public companies are listed on a stock exchange or quotation service and their shares trade on the open market. When a company goes public to raise money, it must file a prospectus with the securities commission in each jurisdiction where it wants to raise money. A prospectus is a public document that contains detailed information about the investment and its risks.

Once a company becomes public, it assumes reporting obligations under the law. Public companies are required to provide regular disclosure of their business activities, financial position, and performance to regulators and shareholders. The law also requires that the public have access to this information.

Both provincial securities regulators, like the BCSC, and the self-regulatory organizations that oversee trading on the stock exchanges, monitor the conduct of public companies. Regulators can conduct reviews and take enforcement action against companies and their directors and officers when they break the rules, but, generally, cannot order compensation for financial losses. If you are concerned about the conduct of a public company, here’s how to proceed:

1. Determe which regulator has jurisdiction

The first step is to determine which provincial securities regulator has jurisdiction over the company. If a public company is reporting in a number of provinces, the primary regulator is usually the province where the company is registered or has its principal place of business. If you have difficulty finding out this information, you can contact BCSC Inquiries for assistance.

2. Determine which regulator handles the type of complaint you have

The next factor that determines which regulator to contact is the nature of your complaint. The following briefly explains the roles of various regulators. Each has a formal complaint process for investors.

The BCSC

When any company in BC wants to raise money by selling its securities, it must follow the requirements of the Securities Act. The BCSC is responsible for enforcing the Act and is charged with investigating and acting against market misconduct by companies selling securities, including:

  • Theft or fraud while distributing or trading in securities 
  • Market manipulation 
  • Misrepresenting an investment 
  • Selling securities illegally 
  • Trading or advising in securities when not registered to do so 
  • Failing to report information required of public companies

The BCSC has a formal complaint process for investor complaints that fall under its direct authority, which includes public and private companies selling securities in British Columbia. If you file a complaint with us that should be handled by another regulatory organization, we will redirect it to the appropriate agency. File a complaint with the BCSC.

Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs)

The BCSC and Canada’s other provincial securities commissions have delegated regulatory authority to certain industry organizations and the stock exchanges. These SROs establish and enforce rules for the protection of investors and oversee compliance with fair, equitable, and ethical practices among market participants. The SROs are also responsible for industry compliance with securities law.

If your complaint is about a trading-related matter involving a company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) or the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX Venture), you can send your complaint to: 

Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) has the authority to investigate complaints regarding any breaches of trading rules or other exchange requirements and to take disciplinary action. Learn more

If your complaint is about the disclosure practices of any company listed on the TSX or TSX Venture Exchange, you can file it directly with:

Each exchange has the authority to investigate the conduct and disclosure practices of its listed companies, and to investigate complaints regarding any breach of exchange requirements. Visit the TMX Group glossary icon Contact Us page for additional contact details.