Federalism Still Matters: The Securities Reference Case
In Canada, the financial industry rests upon “four pillars.” These are the securities, insurance, trust, and banking sectors. The first three have been, historically, regulated at the provincial level under the rubric of “property and civil rights,” while the fourth has been federally regulated under section 91(15) of the Constitution Act, 1867. As early as 1935, however, a Royal Commission recommended the establishment of a federal securities agency tasked with overseeing federally incorporated companies. Nothing came of that. In the 1960s and until last year, numerous other studies came up with proposals regarding the establishment of a federal securities regulator. Some proposed a federal regular coexisting with provincial counterparts, while others proposed one single federal regulator. How to get the provinces on board varied depending on the study that was conducted.
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