Happy New Year and welcome to 2017!

As we start off a new year, the Before You Invest blog is getting a new start as well. We’ll still be doing periodic posts on new legislation, scams and investment news that Nova Scotians need to know about. We’ll also be getting back to the basics for those new to investing and securities with our new Question of the Week. Every Wednesday we’ll post a new question with the answer from our experts at NSSC. We’ve got the first few questions ready to roll out this month, but we also want to hear from you. What do you want to know more about? It could be about investing, securities, scams and fraud or registration in Nova Scotia. If you’ve got a question you’d like us to feature, send it to us at NSSCinquiries@novascotia.ca and maybe we’ll feature it in a future post.

To start things off we’ll introduce ourselves and what we do…

What does the Nova Scotia Securities Commission do?

Before reading on, stop for a second and help us out. According to the 2016 Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) Investor Education Study, only 44% of the participants in the study were aware of their provincial securities regulator. If you’re visiting this site you obviously know the NSSC exists. But are you aware of what we do? Before reading the rest of this post, take a second and write down what you think we do and see if your expectations or beliefs match reality. Got it written? Ok, let’s move on…

The reason the Nova Scotia Securities Commission exists according to the Nova Scotia Securities act is…

“to provide investors with protection from practices and activities that tend to undermine investor confidence in the fairness and efficiency of capital markets and, where it would not be inconsistent with an adequate level of investor protection, to foster the process of capital formation”

Put more simply, the Nova Scotia Securities commission protects Nova Scotia investors from harm through

  • Regulation of Nova Scotia’s capital markets
  • Investor Education
  • Enforcement of the securities act and regulations

Let’s take a closer look at each of these three areas.

Regulation of Nova Scotia’s capital markets

Anyone or any entity that is in the business of offering, selling or advising on, securities in Nova Scotia must be registered with the NSSC. This registration ensures that the person or entity has the qualifications to offer, sell or advise on securities investments. In addition, registered dealers, advisers and their representatives are subject to compliance reviews to ensure they are complying with Nova Scotia Securities laws. The NSSC also monitors capital raising activities and reviews capital raising materials to ensure private and public companies are complying with securities laws. The NSSC also reviews public company information disclosed to the public so that investors and securityholders can make informed investment related decisions.

The NSSC does not regulate insurance products.

Investor Education

The NSSC delivers investor education to Nova Scotians to help them make informed investment decision. However, we do not provide investment advice. We can help investors become more knowledgeable about investing and the legal requirements of those who advise on, offer and sell securities investments to protect investors from fraud and scams, as well as to know what questions to ask when they’re starting out. This education is delivered through presentations, social media, informative brochures and our website through communication tools like this blog.


Not only is the NSSC in charge of regulating securities law, we are also tasked with enforcing it. Investors with complaints about an adviser or dealer, or about possible scams or fraud, are encouraged to contact the NSSC. Our enforcement division in tasked with investigating breaches of the Securities Act, which could include scams, advisers acting without being registered and companies not disclosing required information. The NSSC can prosecute violations of the Securities Act. Criminal code violations are handled by police and RCMP. A future blog post will look closer at what enforcement can and can’t do.

The NSSC is here to protect investors in Nova Scotia. That is our main goal and we achieve that through regulation, education and enforcement. This blog is just one of the ways we hope to better educate investors and help them get the most out of their investments.

Now, that we’ve explained what the NSSC does, go back to your original notes on what you thought we did? Were you close? Let us know. The best way for us to educate people on what we do is to understand what people think we do. Expelling myths and falsities is another way of educating the public. We hope you’ll stop by each week as we answer more questions on the NSSC, investing, fraud and more to help you become a more informed and educated investor.