Provincial court of Alberta Judge A.A. Fradsham ruled that Alberta Securities Act provisions that allow the Provincial Court to impose penal sanctions (heavy fines and imprisonment) upon those found guilty of fraud are within the constitutional powers of the Province of Alberta.
Three respondents facing charges in the Provincial Court under provisions of the Securities Act recently challenged the constitutionality of these provisions. They were arguing they are in fact criminal law powers, which are the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government.
Judge Fradsham dismissed this application, stating, “The Securities Act is designed to cultivate a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta…The dominant purpose of [these provisions] is to act as a deterrent to investors who are tempted to breach the Securities Act.”
Further, “Deterring would-be offenders serves the Securities Act‘s main purpose of ensuring the securities market is not tainted by actors who are unwilling to trade or sell securities honestly.”
Read the ASC’s decision.