Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Waterloo for his question on the Canadian securities commission initiative.
The federal government became involved with the Canadian securities commission initiative as a result of the request from provinces. The objective is to improve on the existing system of securities regulation in Canada whereby the capital market participants have to deal right now with up to 12 different regulators. We are prepared, at the federal level, to facilitate the process.
Regulatory duplication creates uncertainty and adds to the cost of raising capital in Canada. It may be motivating some Canadian companies to raise capital in other markets. It may also be deterring some global issuers from selling their securities in Canada.
For some months now, federal and provincial officials have been developing a memorandum of understanding which would set out the possible parameters of a Canadian securities commission. We have been talking about a voluntary arrangement whereby participating provinces would delegate the authority to regulate securities in their jurisdiction to the Canadian securities commission. Provinces who do not wish to participate will continue with their existing securities regulations.
We are talking about a regime with one set of rules applied across all participating provinces, a single agency with a number of regional offices capable of providing one-stop service yet at the same time maintaining the strengths of our regional capital markets.
Work on the memorandum of understanding has now been completed and it has been forwarded to the provinces for their response.
While we believe that a Canadian securities commission would make an important contribution to the efficiency of Canadian capital markets, the decision to proceed further with the establishment of a Canadian securities commission rests with the provinces.
The Minister of Finance has asked the provincial ministers responsible to respond in the very near future regarding their interest in proceeding. If there is sufficient interest, a process will be established to ensure the timely implementation of a Canadian securities commission.
I hope this responds to my hon. friend's question.