Canada's First Regulatory Sandbox for Fintech? OSC Announces Plans for “OSC LaunchPad” Innovation Hub

OSC chair Maureen Jensen has announced that the OSC plans to launch an innovation hub for fintech entities. “OSC Launchpad” will be the first fintech hub for a Canadian securities regulator.

Securities regulation in Canada impacts a number of fintech business models (including companies offering online advising, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding platforms and angel investor organizations). The OSC had also previously issued a notice on peer-to-peer lending, inviting those operating in this sector to discuss with OSC Staff and reminding prospective marketplace lenders that certain prospectus and registration requirements may be applicable to them, depending on their business model.

OSC Launchpad will be staffed by a dedicated team who will work directly with fintech companies  to help them navigate Ontario’s securities laws.  The OSC says it will work to tailor regulation and oversight for fintech companies to foster innovation, and to reduce regulatory burden, while ensuring investors remain protected.

OSC Launchpad arrives as many jurisdictions (including the UK, Singapore and Australia) launch their own “regulatory sandboxes” seeking to create a regulatory “safe space” in which businesses can test innovative products and services without immediately incurring all the normal regulatory consequences of engaging in such activity.  In Canada, the Competition Bureau is also in the process of completing a market study focused on how innovation in the fintech sector is impacting consumers and businesses, with the results intended to be published in the spring of 2017, seeking to determine whether there is a need for “regulatory reform to promote greater competition while maintaining consumer confidence in the sector.”

For more information on regulatory sandboxes in other jurisdictions, please see the report “FinTech in Canada: British Columbia Edition” co-authored by the Digital Finance Institute and McCarthy Tétrault. For more information about our firm’s fintech expertise, please see our Fintech group‘s page.

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