How to File a Complaint with the BCSC

The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) encourages the public to file complaints and submit tips. Information we receive from the public helps us protect investors from investment fraud and other misconduct.

If you know of a suspicious investment, individual, or company operating in B.C., contact the BCSC immediately.

 

How to File a Complaint or Tip with the BCSC

B.C. residents can contact us in the following ways:

  • Call 1-800-373-6393 during regular business hours
  • Email [email protected]
  • Use the online Report a Concern form
  • Send a letter or package in the mail

Contact the BCSC

What to Include in an Investor Complaint

When you contact the BCSC, include as much detail as possible. Some important pieces of information include:

  • How much you invested and any details about the investment
  • The names and contact information of the people involved
  • What you were told about the investment

You should also send us copies of documents, emails, or any other relevant information that relate to the investment. The more information you provide, the faster we can decide what action to take.

What happens to the Complaint you Submit

When you file a complaint or submit a tip to the BCSC, the Enforcement division’s Case Assessment Branch reviews your complaint to determine the appropriate action. Case Assessment may refer the matter to another branch within the Enforcement division for investigation.

The BCSC May Need You to Provide More Information

Someone in the Enforcement division may contact you to learn more. You can provide this information over the phone, email, or in-person.

  • If the information relates to a matter we are aware of, it will be referred to the investigator working on that file.
  • If your complaint does not involve securities, we may be able to refer you to another agency.

What action the BCSC Can Take After a Complaint

Complaints that relate to securities may result in the BCSC enforcement division moving forward with an investigation. Not all complaints result in an enforcement action. Furthermore, if your complaint does not involve securities, we may be able to refer you to another agency.

In some cases, during an investigation we can act quickly and freeze money and prohibit trading in specific securities. Freezing money is one of the best tools we have to protect investors. In some cases, freezing funds stops the illegal activity.

Complaints that become investigations may result in a hearings which may result in orders against people who committed misconduct.

Types of Investigations: Administrative and Criminal

Administrative Investigations

The BCSC’s administrative investigators can require people to provide evidence for the investigation.  They can summons and interview witnesses and demand records and information.

Administrative investigations may result in a hearing before a BCSC panel, which is like a trial. Hearing panels hear evidence and arguments to decide if there has been any misconduct.

BCSC panels can ban a person from trading securities and from directing or managing a company. They may also issue fines. Administrative cases cannot result in jail time.

Criminal Investigations

BCSC criminal investigators cannot require people to provide evidence or information.  They may use search warrants or production orders issued by the Court to require people to provide information. They may also obtain information voluntarily.

BCSC criminal investigators refer cases to Crown Counsel who can approve charges and prosecute cases in court.

If a person is found guilty in a criminal proceeding, they can be sent to jail.

Questions or Concerns? Contact the BCSC

We welcome comments, questions, and tips from investors. If you need to speak to someone at the BCSC, contact us.

Learn About BCSC Inquiries

Suggested Reading

5 Investing Traps to Watch out for in 2020

Identify the Investment Fraud Warning Signs

How to Seek Financial Compensation After Filing a Complaint

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