COVID-19: Investment fund industry updates (March 24, 2020)
Ontario and Quebec Closure of Non-Essential Workplaces
On March 23, 2020, the governments of Ontario and Quebec announced the mandatory closure of all “non-essential” businesses effective on noon on Tuesday, March 24. Both provinces provided exemptions for workplaces that provide “essential” services. IFIC has confirmed with government staff that businesses that are engaged in capital markets related activities are considered to be essential.
Investment fund companies and distributors have risen to the challenge posed by COVID-19 by implementing robust business continuity plans and flexing their extensive remote work capabilities. These provincial orders recognize that some investment fund company employees must continue to be on site at their workplaces to ensure their firms are able to deliver essential services to the market and their clients and to protect investors.
CSA Provides Blanket Exemptions for Investment Fund Reporting Issuers
The Canadian Securities Administrators have today provided Blanket Order for OSC Instrument 81-503 – blanket exemptions for investment fund reporting issuers, extending certain filing, sending, delivering and prospectus renewal requirements and extending the lapse date for mutual funds with a lapse date between March 23, 2020 and June 1, 2020.
The blanket relief extends from March 23, 2020 to June 1, 2020 the date for filing, sending or delivering:
- interim and annual financial statements
- interim and annual management report of fund performance
- standing instructions
- annual instructions
- custodian report
- compliance report
To rely on the exemption, an investment fund must advise the regulator of its jurisdiction as soon as reasonably practicable in advance of its filing deadline. The fund must also post a statement on its website that it is relying on the exemption, and it must file, send or deliver the documents by the date that is 45 days after the date the investment fund was otherwise required to do so.
Investment funds may also rely on these extended deadlines to send or deliver a report under NI 81-107 Independent Review Committee for Investment Funds.