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B.C. Securities Commission uses new power after woman allegedly skipped out on investigators

The B.C. Securities Commission is putting into use a new enforcement tool bestowed upon it by the provincial government to discourage people from skipping out on investigators.
B.C. Securities Commission executive director Peter Brady.

A Vancouver woman has been accused of skirting securities investigators and faces a first-of-its-kind hearing that could lead to prohibitions and fines.

The B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) alleges Rona-Joanne Galeon Rafal failed to attend an interview and produce records, when requested by staff this past February.

“Rafal was served with copies of the demand and the summons, but she hasn’t provided any records and didn’t appear for her scheduled interview at the BCSC’s offices,” the commission stated Friday.

Now, Rafal faces the first hearing ever for such alleged misconduct following changes to the B.C. Securities Act last year allowing the commission to impose administrative penalties and restrictions on market participation for failing to comply with a summons or a demand to provide information.

The allegations against Rafal have not been proven and will be assessed by an independent tribunal panel.

The changes to the act were spurred by frustrations the commission had when a person skipped out on their obligations. Prior to the new provisions the commission had to apply to the Supreme Court of B.C. for an order that a non-cooperative person be held liable for contempt — something the commission described as a time-consuming process.

Now, if the breach is serious enough the commission has the power to seek a fine of up to $1 million.

The new rule is in addition to the commission getting broader powers to collect pension funds from those who have been assessed fines, as well as block renewal of a driver’s licence for anyone who does not pay their fine.

“These amendments strengthen BCSC’s ability to investigate misconduct and support stronger protections for investors,” said BCSC chair and CEO Brenda Leong in July 2023.

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