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TMX considering relief measures to help listed companies deal with COVID impact

TORONTO — The TMX Group Ltd. says it is considering potential relief measures including rule amendments to help clients face the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"TMX is committed to working to serving our listed issuers and to provide them with the support they need during this unprecedented challenge," spokeswoman Catherine Kee said in an email.

She said it will announce any details resulting from the "rapidly evolving situation" as required.

Individual companies have seen their share prices drop dramatically as the TSX/Composite index has lost about one-third of its value since reaching a record high a month ago.

"A low share price may be considered in the overall context of a delisting review but we do not have a specific $1.00 share price threshold," Kee added.

Its rules allow for an issuer's securities to be suspended from trading and delisted if it doesn't comply with any provisions of its listing agreement or the action is necessary in the public interest.

Among the possible reasons are if the company becomes insolvent, the market value of issued securities drops below $3 million over 30 consecutive trading days, the freely tradable publicly held securities is less than $2 million or the number of securities is less than 500,000.

"Each situation is considered individually on the basis of relevant facts and circumstances," said the delisting rules.

Meanwhile, the Ontario Securities Commission said it has cancelled all in-person hearings until at least the end of April due to COVID-19.

The provincial securities regulator says it's contacting those with scheduled hearings through April 30 to determine if a hearing should proceed by teleconference or in writing.

Statements of allegations and applications can continue to be filed by email while other filings can continue to be made electronically.

All essential and core operations will continue although many will be delivered remotely while external access to offices is being limited to essential operations.

On-site compliance reviews and the OSC's planned risk assessment questionnaire are postponed until further notice. Normal-course registration and compliance activities will continue as planned, but it will be flexible on deadlines for information.

The changes were announced a day after the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) said it will provide a 45-day extension for periodic filings normally required to be made by issuers, investment funds, registrants, certain regulated entities and designated rating organizations on or before June 1.

"We are aware that many market participants have also started to work remotely and understand that this will make business more challenging," the OSC said in a statement.

"We support your efforts as we all weather these changes and will be flexible in our regulatory expectations during this difficult time."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:X).

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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