| TORONTO, March 20
TORONTO, March 20 The power of the crowd may
soon be harnessed to help fund business startups in Canada, with
several provincial securities regulators publishing proposed
rules on Thursday that would allow large numbers of people to
invest small amounts in promising projects.
The rule changes could offer a lifeline to the country's
technology community, which often turns to U.S. investors and
companies to fund early-stage growth.
Crowdfunding has proven a popular way for artists and others
to raise money, but in Canada it has not involved equity stakes
The Ontario Securities Commission - the country's biggest
capital markets watchdog - said its new rules would allow
registered online portals to collect up to C$2,500 ($2,200) per
investment from small-scale investors.
Such investors will be allowed to invest up to a total of
C$10,000 a year.
"Today we have proposed new tools, which will transform
Ontario's exempt market by providing greater access to capital
for businesses and expanding investment opportunities for
investors," OSC Chairman Howard Wetston said in a statement.
Regulators in Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan and New
Brunswick published a joint proposal similar to the OSC
document. The releases start a 90-day consultation period.
Bill Rice, who heads both the Alberta Securities Commission
and an umbrella group of Canadian regulators, said serious
effort has been put into aligning the proposals.
"Differences in regulatory approach reflect differences in
local experience and feedback," he said. "Our intent is to
review the submitted comments and achieve as much harmonization
as possible before the final rules come into force."
(Editing by Peter Galloway)