02/03/2015 02:13 EST | Updated 04/05/2015 05:59 EDT

OSC wants to pay whistleblowers up to $1.5M for information on securities crimes

TORONTO - Canada's largest securities regulator wants to pay whistleblowers as much as $1.5 million for information on serious financial crimes.

The Ontario Securities Commission is proposing a new program that would award a whistleblower with a financial incentive for information that leads to sanctions.

The OSC says payments would only apply in cases involving monetary sanctions or settlement payments of more than $1 million.

The commission says all efforts would be made to keep the identity of whistleblowers secret, adding it may also seek amendments to the Ontario Securities Act to prevent retaliatory action against whistleblowers whose identities are revealed.

If approved, the program would be the first of its kind among securities regulators in Canada.

In the meantime, the OSC says it's seeking feedback about the proposed program and will hold a public roundtable on the topic in the near future.

"We have proposed a realistic and concrete program that, in our view, needs to be put into action for the benefit of Ontario investors," said Howard Wetston, CEO and chair of the Ontario Securities Commission.

"We see a whistleblowing program as an important enforcement tool — one that will encourage individuals with high-quality information to come forward and report misconduct."

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