January 09, 2017
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) launched its first-ever whistleblower program in the summer of 2016. Public companies will need to make a number of important policy changes in the wake of the new program, including refreshing confidentiality clauses. Senior associate and expert in securities and employment law Rebecca Wise provided her insight to Law Times on what businesses need to consider when examining their existing policies. Below is an excerpt from the article.
Rebecca Wise, a Torys LLP civil litigator with an employment and securities law practice, says the amendments pose a problem for Canadian companies, since many employ blanket clauses in termination agreements, employment contracts and codes of conduct that prevent the disclosure of confidential information. Even a common exemption covering disclosures “required by law” would not be sufficient, says Wise, who is based at the firm’s Toronto office.
“Participation in the whistleblowing program is not required by law,” Wise says, noting that a simple change to account for disclosures “required or permitted by law” would being confidentiality clauses more in line with the spirit of the law.
To download a PDF of this article, click here.
For more from Rebecca Wise on the OSC’s whistleblower program, read “Whistleblower Policies: A Practical Guide for Reporting Issuers” here.