Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA)

What Is Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA)?

Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is an industry forum comprising all of Canada’s
territorial and provincial securities regulators. The organization's chief goal is to collaborate on the creation and harmonization of securities regulations across Canada. The CSA can be compared with counterpart organizations in the U.S. such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or FINRA.

Key Takeaways

  • The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is an umbrella regulatory organization that serves Canadian markets, securities issuers, and investors.
  • The CSA coordinates and harmonizes securities regulation that is enforced individually by Canada's 10 provinces and 3 territories.
  • The CSA's three core mandates include: protecting investors; promoting fair, transparent, and efficient markets; and the reduction of systemic risk.

Understanding Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA)

The Canadian Securities Administrators seek to cultivate agreement on the policies impacting Canada’s capital markets, investment landscape, and market participants. The CSA likewise strives to implement Canada’s regulatory programs, which mainly involves distributing prospectus filings and other disclosure documents to the masses.

Beyond its regulatory functions, the CSA seeks to educate and inform the public on all facets of Canada's securities markets. As of 2021, the CSA was represented by 13 different securities regulators, entailing ten Canadian provinces and three Canadian territories.

The CSA oversees Canada’s country-wide programs and concerns, while territorial/provincial regulators handle complaints at the more local level. This paradigm makes sound logistical sense because the latter group is more intimately familiar with the market participants close to them. Security regulation enforcement occurs within each local area, on a case-by-case basis.

The CSA also maintains the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR), which is a publicly accessible database that contains all the required filings related to publicly-traded Canadian companies. SEDAR is the Canadian equivalent of the SEC's EDGAR, the U.S. electronic system for filing securities information.

As a more informal body, the CSA originally functioned mainly via meetings, conference calls, and day-to-day collaborations with the various territorial and provincial securities regulatory authorities. In 2003, the CSA was restructured to become a more formal organization, where the chair and vice-chair were elected by members to two-year terms.

In recent years, the CSA has developed the “passport system" through which a market participant may access markets in all passport jurisdictions by dealing only with its principal regulator and complying with one set of law.

CSAs Mission

The CSA's prevailing mission is to bring provincial and territorial securities regulators together to share ideas, and collaboratively design policies and regulations aimed at promoting smooth operations across Canada's nationwide securities industry. By working together to cultivate rules, regulations, and other programs, the CSA eliminates redundancy while streamlining the regulatory process for companies seeking to raise investment capital.

The CSA maintains a comprehensive website that provides tools to investors, covering topics such as setting personal investment goals, risk mitigation strategies, financial advisor selection, and other essential investment themes.

Under its “Industry Resources” silo, the website covers vast and varied subjects, such as Canada’s legislative measures aimed at eliminating terrorist financing. It also discusses its campaign to combat insider trading by offering transparent market information related to the trading activity of directors, senior officers, and significant shareholders.

CSA Regulatory Action Example

As an example of the CSA's role as a regulator, during the fiscal year 2018–19, the CSA flagged a wide swath of misconduct, as evidenced by the following data:

  • It issued more than 100 asset-freeze and cease-trade orders.
  • It banned 63 people from investing in Canada’s capital markets.
  • It facilitated the investigation of numerous criminal cases, where at least a dozen culprits were given prison sentences totaling 36 years.
  • It alerted the public to company malfeasance on 46 separate occasions.
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  1. CSA. "About CSA: Who We Are." Accessed Feb. 12, 2021.

  2. CSA. "Who We Are." Accessed Feb. 12, 2021.

  3. CSA. "Canadian Securities Regulators Finalize Passport for Registrants and a Streamlined Review Policy for Registration in Multiple Jurisdictions." Accessed Feb. 12, 2021.

  4. CSA. "Our Mission." Accessed Feb. 12, 2021.

  5. CSA. "Industry Resources." Accessed Feb. 12, 2021.

  6. CSA. "FY 2018-19 Enforcement Report." Accessed Feb. 12, 2021.