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May 28, 2003, No. 10

Securities Committee focuses on regulatory reform

The need to improve Canada’s securities regulatory system is now firmly on the political agenda, and there appears to be significant support and momentum for change. That said, no-one anticipates that change will be easy. There have been many previous attempts over 70 years to rationalize a system which is fraught with competing interests, constitutional hurdles, fragmentation, and regional disparities. The PDAC Securities Committee, which is now focusing its efforts on representing the exploration sector in various initiatives underway across the country, reports the following developments and activities.

Board approves study on regulatory costs

Recognizing that any debate on regulatory change is likely to demand examples of regulatory costs and their impact on the mining and exploration industry, the PDAC board has approved an in-depth study to determine the costs. The results of the study will be used to support the various submissions that the PDAC Securities Committee will be making on regulatory reform.

Association prepares for its submission to Wise Persons Committee

The federal government has established a Wise Persons’ Committee (WPC) to review the existing regulatory system and make recommendations for change. The PDAC has until June 30 to put forward its recommendations to the WPC which will submitting its report to Finance Minister John Manley in the fall. The PDAC and B.C. & Yukon Chamber of Mines organized a meeting on May 15 with WPC chairman Michael Phelps to gain some insight into the methods and deliberations of the committee. Attending the meeting in Vancouver were Greg Ho Yuen, co-chairman of the Securities Committee; David Comba, issues director; director Donald McInnes; and Donald Gordon, executive director of the Canadian Listed Company Association. The Securities Committee is now developing the PDAC’s submission which will focus on the junior exploration sector’s reliance on the markets for working capital and call for a system that simplifies and harmonizes the current fragmented system, thereby controlling the escalating regulatory costs for public companies.

Association representatives meet with provincial securities representatives

Recommendations for regulatory change are also being developed at the provincial level. On May 16, Greg Ho Yuen and David Comba met with Robert Bhatia, deputy minister of Alberta Revenue and a key player in an inter-provincial committee on regulatory reform. Later, in Vancouver, they met with representatives of the B.C. Securities Commission to learn more about the commission’s proposal for Continuous Market Access.

Views submitted on uniform securities laws blueprint

At the end of April, the Securities Committee responded to a blueprint for uniform securities laws proposed by the Canadian Securities Administrators. A copy of this response can be accessed here.

Liberal MP calls for national securities commission

Members might like to read an article by Liberal MP Jim Peterson, former Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions. In the article, entitled National Securities Regulator: just do it, Peterson states, “We can no longer tolerate a system built on competition among provinces that makes Canada increasingly irrelevant in global capital markets.”

Association adopts land use strategy

The board of directors has approved a land use strategy for the association. The development of the strategy by the Lands Committee is an important step which will define the association’s work on land access over the next few years. Click here for a copy. The committee, chaired by Jamie Robertson, has already begun its work and reports the following:

Workshop on landscape management

In an effort to generate a clear definition of landscape management, the association co-hosted a workshop on the topic with Wildlife Habitat Canada, the Biodiversity Office of Environment Canada, and the Alberta Pacific Forestry Company. Approximately 50 technical specialists from federal and provincial governments, the conservation community, the forestry industry, the mining industry, the agricultural sector and aboriginal representatives attended the workshop to understand landscape management and its underlying principles, identify barriers to its implementation and develop an action plan to enable its application nationally. Industry participants included Jamie Robertson, PDAC President Bill Mercer, David Comba and Pierre Gratton of the Mining Association of Canada.

Protected area strategies database to be compiled

A national database on the current status of protected area strategies in Canada is currently being developed and will be completed by the end of June. The database will be available on the PDAC website and will be updated periodically. For more information on this database and landscape management, contact us.

e3 Environmental Excellence in Exploration news

Barry Simmons has been appointed project manager for phase 2 of e3 Environmental Excellence in Exploration. In his new role, Mr. Simmons will be concentrating on creating awareness of E3, selling subscriptions to it and promoting its use worldwide.

With the move from the development of e3 to marketing and promoting its use, the two committees guiding its development (steering and technical) have been consolidated into one committee. Director Greg Isenor is the chairman of this new e3 committee.

As part of the effort to raise awareness about e3, presentations are being made about the new product. During the first week of May, Neil Westoll gave talks at the CIM convention in Montreal and to officials of Natural Resources Canada in Ottawa. Barry Simmons gave an e3 presentation to federal MPs and senior bureaucrats in Ottawa on May 21.

Portability of professional geoscience credentials

The geoscience profession is regulated in most of Canada, and geoscientists must be licensed in each of the jurisdictions (11) in which they practise. Many members have complained about this cumbersome and costly process. There are mobility and incidental practice agreements in place, and there also some tentative moves to consider multi-jurisdictional licensing. Papers on this subject were presented at a workshop during PDAC Convention 2003 and are now posted on the association’s website. Click here to access. For more information, please contact Geoscience Committee chair Mary-Claire Ward, mcward@wgm.on.ca.

Calgary conference on corporate social responsibility in Africa

The Canadian Council on Africa and Africa Direct West is organizing Corporate social responsibility and business renaissance in Africa, a conference to be held in Calgary, June 22-23. Click here for full details.