Lack of Investor Voice in Canada
Prior to the establishment of FAIR Canada in 2008, a gap existed in the process by which Canadian securities regulators formulated decisions on policy matters. They received ample input from the investment industry, the issuer community and from institutional investors, but very little from ordinary, individual retail investors. Those investors lacked an independent voice with experience and expertise in securities regulation. There was no professional private sector organization focused on the protection of the rights and advancement of the interests of individual shareholders and retail investors with the necessary resources to properly represent investors.
FAIR Canada was created to fill that gap. FAIR Canada is an independent, pro-active organization that provides a sophisticated, objective and balanced voice for Canadian investors on a national basis.
Origins of FAIR Canada
The idea of FAIR Canada was proposed by Ermanno Pascutto, the founder of the organization, to the boards of directors of Market Regulation Services Inc. (“RS”) and the Investment Dealers Association (“IDA”) as a desirable use of the IDA and RS “restricted” or “discretionary” funds. These funds were monies collected by the regulators from monetary penalties and settlements. Their use was internally restricted to, among other things, making payments for special non-recurring projects that benefit the public or generally benefit the Canadian capital markets. In early 2008, FAIR Canada was granted sufficient funding from the IDA and RS to launch and operate as an organization.
Funding to Establish FAIR Canada
Before FAIR Canada received its initial funding, RS and IDA merged to form the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC”). IIROC agreed to provide a one-time grant of $3.75 million in funding from their restricted or discretionary funds, which allowed FAIR Canada to commence and continue its operations for four years.
Funding to Continue FAIR Canada’s Operations
In 2012, IIROC and the Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”) agreed to provide funding over a further two year period in a total amount of $1.7 million; and in 2014 IIROC and the OSC provided a further $700,000 in operational funding to FAIR Canada. These donations all came from the regulators’ restricted or discretionary funds.
Registration as a Charity
In 2013, FAIR Canada was registered as a charitable organization by the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency. FAIR Canada’s charitable objects are:
The FAIR Canada Jarislowsky Foundation Endowment Fund
In December 2013, FAIR Canada received a generous $2 million donation from the Jarislowsky Foundation, which created the FAIR Canada Jarislowsky Endowment Fund. The donation was conditional on FAIR Canada raising additional matching funding of $4 million for the Endowment Fund. Income generated from the Endowment Fund was intended to create a secure base of funding for FAIR Canada in order to support its ongoing operations and activities. FAIR Canada was able to obtain a $2 million donation to the endowment fund from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) in 2014 but although the Jarislowsky Foundation extended the deadline for the matching funding to September 2019, was unable to secure the remaining $2 million.
In September 2019 FAIR Canada returned $2.4 million (the amount of the donation plus accumulated investment income) to the Jarislowsky Foundation. Mr. Jarislowsky issued a statement on behalf of the Jarislowsky Foundation regarding the return of the endowment funds in which he stated:
“It is the responsibility of government and regulators to fund an independent professional organization with the expertise to provide a voice to lawmakers for retail investors and financial consumers. Lawmakers have a legal obligation to balance all stakeholder interests and a moral obligation to support an organization to represent the interests of everyday Canadians. If they don’t fund such an organization then governments are not truly committed to investor protection in substance; they are satisfied with the “appearance” of investor protection.”
FAIR Canada thanks those who have donated to FAIR Canada as a result of our fundraising efforts. Go to “Support Us” for further information.