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2017-2018 marked the second year of IIROC’s three-year Strategic Plan, originally published in May 2016. IIROC’s 2017-2018 priorities focused on significant activities and initiatives for completion in support of the Strategic Plan.

In keeping with IIROC’s commitment to transparency and accountability to our stakeholders, we are pleased to present a report on our progress on those activities and initiatives. We will continue to measure and report on our progress each year. This work complements our day-to-day regulatory work to protect investors and promote healthy Canadian capital markets. You can read more in the CEO’s message and Key Facts section of this report.



  Achieved – completed

  In progress – work is ongoing


Implement a new Integrated Case Management System.

IIROC completed the development of the new Integrated Case Management System that was implemented at the end of March 2018.

The new system allows IIROC staff to:

  • streamline case tracking and processing
  • manage an end-to-end investigation life-cycle
  • address a Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) audit finding by providing access controls and
  • promote cases in a seamless manner.

Complete vendor selection for an enhanced Market Surveillance System.

IIROC undertook a robust vendor selection process to ensure the organization has the best surveillance system to continue to support its mandate of monitoring equity and debt trading in Canada for the next five years. We finalized the contract in June 2017 and have begun the implementation of an enhanced market surveillance system. The system builds on our current cross-market, cross-dealer capabilities and will enable us to conduct cross-product and cross-asset surveillance.


Recalibrate compliance risk models to ensure dealers are appropriately risk-ranked.

IIROC uses risk models to inform the frequency of our compliance examinations, allowing us to focus on dealers that present the highest risk. Having conducted a comprehensive review of our risk models to ensure they remain current and achieve their intended predictive purpose, we are now in the process of enhancing them.

Our Financial and Operations Compliance Department has implemented its updated risk model for FY 2019. Trading Conduct Compliance (TCC) and Business Conduct Compliance (BCC) are in the process of making changes to their models, with implementation expected for FY 2020.

We will inform dealers of the resulting changes or to their rankings as each risk model is recalibrated and changes are implemented.

Enhance training program for compliance examiners to improve application of risk-based approach.

Business Conduct Compliance has now substantially completed implementing a comprehensive training program for compliance examiners.

Monitor efforts to implement T+2 settlement in Canada and assess the impact to our members by participation on Canadian Capital Markets Association (CCMA) Board and committees.

IIROC staff participated on the CCMA Board, as well as on various T+2 committees and working groups. IIROC published for comment the rule changes necessary to facilitate the transition to T+2 and monitored industry testing and dealer preparedness certification.

The transition to T+2 settlement was successfully completed on September 7, 2017.

Continue to help dealers improve cybersecurity awareness and preparedness.

Cybersecurity is a complex issue facing all industries, and it remains a focus for IIROC. All dealers completed a self-assessment in FY 2017, and we have since provided each of them with a cybersecurity “report card”. Throughout FY 2018 we met with all dealers that scored as moderate- or high-risk to review their specific business models and systems, and provide them with a follow-up report giving recommendations on the high-priority opportunities we identified to improve their cybersecurity preparedness.

This year, we will continue to work with dealers on improving their cybersecurity preparedness by:

  • conducting two tabletop exercises, and a second self-assessment survey
  • alerting dealers on emerging security threats to facilitate timely mitigation
  • finalizing a rule requiring dealers to report cybersecurity incidents, which we published for comment in April 2018.

Research and evaluate potential alternative forms of disciplinary action and determine next steps.

IIROC completed a review and evaluation of comparable alternative programs adopted by other regulators (both domestic and foreign). In February 2018, we published for comment a proposal for two programs: a Minor Contravention Program and Early Resolution Offers. We also consulted directly with approximately 1,000 Canadian investors from our online pool of 10,000 Canadian investors and plan to publish the results of the survey.

In FY 2019, we intend to respond to the comments we received and make any necessary revisions to the proposals.

Continue to pursue expanded legal authority to strengthen enforcement.

To fulfill our investor protection mandate and more effectively deter wrongdoing, we will continue to pursue the authority to:

  • increase our fine collection against individuals through the courts
  • obtain statutory immunity for IIROC and its personnel when acting in the public interest
  • strengthen evidence collection during investigations and presentation at hearings and
  • appeal hearing panel decisions to securities authorities.

In May 2017, Ontario granted IIROC the legal authority to enforce fines.

In June 2017, Alberta was the first province to grant IIROC statutory immunity and the ability to enhance evidence collection. (IIROC already had received from Alberta fine collection authority and the ability to enhance cooperation at disciplinary hearings.)

In British Columbia, an amendment to the British Columbia Securities Act passed on May 7, 2018, giving IIROC legal authority to collect disciplinary fines directly through the courts.

In June 2018, IIROC received from Manitoba the authority to collect fines and statutory immunity.

In October 2017, Quebec introduced similar legislation. In June 2018, the National Assembly passed amendments enhancing IIROC’s ability to collect evidence from third parties during investigations as well as improved cooperation at the disciplinary hearings stage. Bill 141 also clarified that IIROC has full protection against malicious lawsuits.


Ensure IIROC requirements, including KYC and suitability, accommodate new advice and service models.

Our work in this area continued as we actively participated in the CSA’s work on client-focused reforms to National Instrument 31-103, which relate to core areas of our dealer rules – including know your client, know your product, suitability, conflicts of interest and relationship disclosure. The CSA’s notice on embedded commissions, published at the same time as the client-focused reforms, will also impact our requirements. We will continue to monitor and participate in these initiatives with a view to ensuring our requirements are materially harmonized with the CSA’s requirements, once finalized.

We also started a multi-part strategy to accommodate new business models, while continuing to ensure investors are protected and have access to financial advice and services. The strategy includes a series of workshops and interviews, and a survey with a cross-section of dealers and other industry participants, to:

  • gain a better understanding of perceived regulatory barriers to innovation
  • facilitate open dialogue with dealers about their ideas and what they are seeing on the horizon
  • identify how regulation may need to change to accommodate innovation.

Consider the results of our compensation-related conflicts survey and CSA Consultation Paper 33-404, and determine next steps required to clarify our best interest requirements.

Last year, we issued supplemental guidance on compensation-related conflicts, and enhanced our BCC examination procedures, putting greater focus on:

  • compensation grids and programs
  • whether/how dealers are addressing conflicts in the best interest of clients
  • the quality of disclosures
  • sales targets
  • compliance with National Instrument 81-105 – Mutual Fund Sales Practices.

As stated above, we actively participated in the CSA’s work on client-focused reforms and will continue toward harmonizing our conflict-of-interest requirements across regulatory platforms.

Finalize Plain Language Rule Book (PLR) and repeal, revise or issue new guidance as appropriate to align with it.

IIROC’s Market Regulation policy team is reviewing and responding to the dealer comments we received when we published PLR for comment in January 2018. In addition, we have been reviewing all PLR-related guidance and preparing to repeal or publish revised/new guidance concurrent with the implementation of PLR.

This work is ongoing and we anticipate that it will be finalized by the end of 2018. The goal is to implement final rules in plain language and establish an appropriate implementation period. Old rules have been simplified and clarified, and some have changed substantively. Dealers will receive training prior to the introduction of the new rules taking effect, and on an ongoing basis.

Conduct investor research on key policy issues.

As part of our commitment to consult directly and effectively with investors, IIROC has established a national online pool of 10,000 Canadian investors who are surveyed to gain a better understanding of their perceptions on key policy issues. In 2017-18, investors were surveyed to gauge their awareness and understanding of market regulation and how these perceptions affect their investment decisions. We also surveyed investors on their views on IIROC’s proposals to provide alternative disciplinary procedures in its Enforcement process, providing valuable investor input directly into IIROC’s policy development process.


Explore expanded Debt Information Processor (IP) service.

We continue to explore the possible distribution of downloadable bulk data for a fee, through an expanded Debt IP service.

Enhance data-sharing platform and capabilities.

In FY 2018 IIROC completed the implementation of Release 1 of the data-sharing platform including the transfer of two years of equity and debt trading transactions into the data repository.

IIROC continued to support the CSA’s Market Analytics Platform initiative through their vendor selection phase by providing architecture and design documentation and a sample of equity trade data. In advance of the engagement with their vendor IIROC has recently delivered one year of equity trading data to the CSA.

We will continue to discuss information sharing with other regulators, as well as enhancing our internal processes for providing information and acting on the information we receive.


Seek delegated firm and individual registration authority from the proposed Capital Markets Regulatory Authority (CMRA).

These discussions will take place upon the launch of the Capital Markets Regulatory Authority.

Increase cooperation and information sharing with other self-regulatory organizations and regulatory authorities.

Over the past year IIROC has continued to expand the number of Memoranda of Understanding/information sharing agreements with other regulators in order to close gaps and increase consumer protection. IIROC signed agreements with the Life Insurance Council of Saskatchewan (June 2017) and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (September 2017). These agreements are designed to prevent individuals who have been disciplined for wrongdoing from avoiding the consequences of their actions by switching their registration to another regulator and carrying on business with unsuspecting consumers who are unaware of their past misdeeds.

The agreements also enable joint investigations when the same individual is under investigation by both regulatory organizations. Discussions are underway with regulators in other jurisdictions.

Continue to participate in various government consultations to strengthen investor protection and ensure consistent approach to regulation across regulatory jurisdictions and platforms.

IIROC continues to participate in government consultations where changes are being considered that impact investor protection and/or those working in the investment industry. For example, over the past fiscal year IIROC was invited to and participated in an Ontario Financial Planning Working Group established by the Ontario Ministry of Finance. This group was following up on the work of the Expert Committee to Consider Advisory and Financial Planning Policy Alternatives and its recommendations for the regulation of financial planning in Ontario.

Identify and work to reduce regulatory arbitrage in Canada.

IIROC continues to work towards reducing fragmentation, burden and arbitrage across regulatory platforms, with a particular focus this year on aligning our requirements with the CSA’s client-focused reforms.

Conduct biennial Dealer Survey.

In 2017, we engaged an independent research firm to conduct a survey of chief executive officers, chief compliance officers and chief financial officers at IIROC-regulated firms as one method of obtaining feedback about our regulatory effectiveness in order to help them comply with our requirements. More than 70% of those we regulate responded with three-quarters rating IIROC as effective at our various regulatory functions. The responses also indicated there is strong alignment and support for IIROC’s Strategic Plan key objectives. A full 97% of participants indicated that being a trusted, respected and valued partner by our stakeholders is important; 96% indicated that making the delivery of securities regulation in Canada significantly more efficient is important; and 93% said that inspiring confidence and deterring wrongdoing by having and using robust and appropriate tools is important. This research complements the investor research we are also conducting to ensure that we get input from various stakeholders.


Develop, refresh and distribute new and existing collateral materials which explain the standards and protections that are in place for investors.

In 2017, we reworked our complaints brochure to make it more user-friendly and to make it clear for investors how they can make a complaint and how they can get their money back.

IIROC continues to revise and create new investor materials to raise awareness about the protections in place when working with IIROC-regulated firms and advisors.

Begin rebuild of IIROC website.

IIROC moved ahead in its request for proposal (RFP) process to select a vendor to undertake the comprehensive redesign and rebuild of its website and hosting services on a new technology platform. Potential vendors were short-listed and their proposals reviewed and assessed, in preparation for the recommendation of the successful bidder, with which to complete contract negotiations. In the interim, work continues on improvements to content on the current site in preparation for migration to the new platform and architecture.


Continue to optimize investments in information technology.

In FY 2018 IIROC undertook a robust procurement process to select a new managed services provider that will transform the delivery of IT Infrastructure and Information Security services in support of the IIROC business agenda and strategy. Finalization of the contract will occur in June 2018. Service transition from incumbent service providers to the new service provider is expected to be completed by the end of the fiscal year.


Improve employee experience through full roll-out of work-from-home program.

This program was successfully implemented and we are monitoring its use to refine as appropriate. IIROC remains committed to enhancing employee engagement and improving productivity and workflows.