Initial Public Offerings in Canada

Introduction: Going Public

The decision to go public is a significant milestone for a company. "Going public" refers to the process by which a private company becomes a public company. The most common procedure for going public is completing an initial public offering (IPO) of securities to the public. Generally speaking, a company completing an IPO will also apply to list its securities on a stock exchange. This guide provides a general overview of the IPO process in Canada and ongoing reporting and governance requirements for Canadian public companies. The focus of this guide is on Canadian and foreign private companies rather than companies that have previously gone public in another country.

Completing an IPO will often involve significant changes to a company’s corporate, capital and management structures. Once public, a company will be subject to a number of rules and reporting obligations. Accordingly, the decision to go public is not one to take lightly. First, a company should focus on why it wants to go public, what its plans are and how going public will help it accomplish these plans.

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