What Is SEDAR?

The System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR) is an electronic filing system that allows listed companies to report their securities-related information with the authorities concerned with securities regulation in Canada.

SEDAR was established by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) in 1997 and is operated and administered by CGI Information Systems and Management Consultants Inc. (CGI), the filing service contractor appointed by CSA.

SEDAR is the Canadian equivalent of the SEC's EDGAR, the U.S. electronic system for filing securities information.

Understanding SEDAR

In Canada, publicly traded companies and investment funds are required to file their financial information with the securities regulators. The information is made available to the public in order to provide transparency of the company’s financial health to both current and prospective investors. The financial reports are filed and readily accessible through a database system known as the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR).

SEDAR saves time by allowing companies to electronically file securities information, such as prospectuses and continuous disclosure documents, and to make associated payments in electronic form. Even companies that are going private have to report certain information to the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) using SEDAR. The voluminous documents that have to be made public are simplified through the filing system, as companies have to upload financial statements that often exceed 100 pages. In addition to the popular financial statements, such as the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, a company would also include additional information in the form of footnotes, insider transactions, business description, management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A), executive compensation, notices of annual shareholder meetings, etc.

How Investors Can Use SEDAR

The securities-related information filed through SEDAR can be accessed promptly by investors looking to follow up on a company’s progress. Access to the wealth of information on SEDAR is free and has been broken down for easier access and analysis. An investor or analyst who goes to the SEDAR webpage can either search for new filings or search the database for specific filings. The section on new filings provides a list of the latest documents submitted through SEDAR. The new filings are also broken down by new annual reports, new financial statements, new news releases, new prospectuses, new takeover bid materials, and new investment fund filings.

Investors who want specific materials on a specific company can search the SEDAR database for the company or investment fund. The search criteria include the company name, industry/sector group, document type, and date range. Based on what is entered in the search fields, one or more reports are generated in English and/or French. The report(s) selected will have to be downloaded on the user’s computer, as all documents on the database are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. For example, a prospective investor that wants to review Bombardier’s annual report in the last five years will fill out the company name and select ‘Annual Report’ under document type. She will also select a range of dates from 2012 to 2017 to represent the last five years. Five reports in English and five reports in French will be listed out for the investor who will have to agree to the terms and conditions before she can download and save the PDF file on her system.

The content available on SEDAR is used to make investment decisions as the reports indicate the fiscal health of public companies and investment funds. The most important documents drawn up to analyze a company are the financial statements, annual reports, MD&A, prospectus, and NI 43-101 reports. (The National Instruments 43-101 report is required of companies undergoing mineral projects to disclose information about mineral exploration, development, and production.) Information provided on all these statements and reports can influence an investor’s decision to buy, sell, or hold shares of the company.

SEDAR helps to speed up communication between reporting issuers and securities regulators in Canada. The faster material information of publicly traded companies are filed into the system, the sooner investors and financial professionals can have access to the reports in order to make sound investment decisions for their portfolios. Hence, SEDAR offers a win-win solution for both company and investor.