To find out more about ASC frequently asked questions, check out our FAQs.
Who we are
The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) is an industry funded regulatory agency responsible for administering the province’s securities laws. The ASC is entrusted with fostering a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and protecting investors.
The ASC regulates the activities in Alberta of the Natural Gas Exchange Inc., the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada Along with the British Columbia Securities Commission, the ASC oversees the operations of the TSX Venture Exchange.
The ASC is also an administrative tribunal with quasi-judicial powers. Panels consisting of two or more Members of the Commission hear enforcement proceedings and contested applications and consider applications for discretionary exemptions from the requirements of Alberta securities laws. In addition, the ASC sits as an appeal body to hear appeals from decisions of the Executive Director, the TSX Venture Exchange and recognized self-regulatory organizations.
The Alberta capital market
The ASC takes pride in understanding Alberta’s vibrant and successful capital market that is both significant and unique in Canada. We have a strong connection with our Alberta market participants, and their needs and concerns. This understanding of Alberta’s unique business environment is critical to our role in providing a stable regulatory environment.
Alberta has the second largest capital market in Canada, representing 28 per cent of the Canadian capital market. Oil and gas companies represent 20 per cent of Canada’s capital market and Alberta-based companies have the highest average market capital in Canada by a wide margin, at $519 million. Oil and gas is by far the most significant industry in Alberta, with 40 per cent of Alberta-based public companies engaged in oil and gas, representing 71 per cent of the total market capital in the province.
How the ASC works
The ASC is a statutorily created corporation and is unlike a business corporation in that it does not have shareholders to whom the board of directors report. Instead, the ASC is accountable to the Minister of Finance and Enterprise and, through the Minister, to the Alberta Legislature.
For operational purposes, the ASC is divided into two groups: ASC staff and Commission Members.
ASC staff are responsible for the daily operation of the ASC’s corporate affairs and are primarily overseen by the Executive Director, who is also the Chief Administrative Officer. Staff responsibilities include registering persons and companies operating in Alberta’s securities industry, reviewing prospectuses, considering exemption applications and taking enforcement action against persons and companies who have contravened securities laws.
Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor in Council appoints ASC Members, the number of which currently stands at 12. Among those Members are the Chair and one or more full-time Vice-Chairs. The Chair acts as the ASC’s Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for the overall operation of the ASC.
Collectively, ASC members act as the board of directors and are responsible for overseeing the management of the ASC, approving and amending Rules made under the Securities Act (Alberta) and adjudicating matters that affect the public interest in Alberta’s capital market.
What the ASC can and cannot do
The ASC is authorized to:
- impose fines known as “administrative penalties” of up to $1 million per contravention of the Securities Act (Alberta), freeze assets and ban from the market those who breach the Act;
- stop companies or individuals from trading securities during an investigation;
- stop the trading in securities of a company if it fails to fulfill its obligations under Alberta securities laws; and
- pursue offenders in the Provincial Court of Alberta as an agent of the Crown, with the power to seek jail terms of up to five years less a day and fines of up to $5 million per offence committed.
The ASC is not authorized to:
- get money back for investors;
- offer investment or legal advice; or
- comment on any aspect of an investigation.
How we are funded
The ASC is funded by the combination of revenues received under Alberta securities laws from market participants (e.g. fees) and its own investment income.
Where we are located
The ASC is located in downtown Calgary in the West Tower of Centennial Place:
Suite 600, 250–5th St. SW
Calgary, Alberta, T2P 0R4
Important contact information
ASC business hours: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
History of the ASC
1955 - 1975:
In 1955, the Alberta Securities Commission was established to protect the public in its investments. During this time period, the ASC reports to the Attorney General of Alberta.
The ASC reports to the Alberta Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
Starting in June of this year, the ASC holds commission meetings on a biweekly basis, alternating between Edmonton and Calgary.
Alberta Legislative Assembly Bill 43 Alberta Securities Commission Reorganization Act requires that the ASC is to be restructured into two parts – the “Board” and the “Agency”.
The ASC reports to the Alberta Treasury.
Amendments to the Securities Act (Alberta) transformed the ASC from a government agency into an industry-funded provincial corporation. The changes also grant the ASC the ability to make rules and provides enhanced enforcement powers.
The ASC reports to the Alberta Minster of Revenue.
The ASC centralizes its operations in its Calgary office, resulting in the closure of the ASC Edmonton office.
2004 - current:
In 2004, the departments of Finance and Revenue are merged into a single ministry. The ASC currently reports to the Alberta Minister of Finance and Enterprise.