Canada's national government said federally regulated pension funds in the country will need to disclose their crypto assets exposure to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), as Ottawa tightens its regulatory oversight on the volatile industry.
"To help protect Canadians’ retirements, Budget 2023 announces that the government will require federally regulated pension funds to disclose their crypto-asset exposures to OSFI," the government said in the new 2023 budget plan. The federal government will also work with provinces and territories to discuss crypto-asset or related activities disclosures by the country's largest pension plans, which would ensure Canadians are aware of their pension plan’s potential exposure to crypto assets, the budget plan added.
The move comes after several high-profile bankruptcies such as the FTX exchange and the recent collapse of crypto-friendly U.S. lenders Silvergate Bank and Signature Bank exposed the extreme volatility investors face in the industry.
Some of the pension funds in the country have already felt the burn of investing in crypto. Last year, Quebec-based pension fund Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec said that it wrote off a US$150 million bet on Celsius Network. Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, one of Canada's largest pension funds with nearly US$250 billion in assets under management (AUM), also last year said it would write down the entirety of its US$95 million investment in FTX.
The 2023 budget indicated that OSFI will consult with federally regulated financial institutions on guidelines for publicly disclosing their exposure to crypto-assets, to help protect "Canadians’ savings and the security of our financial sector."
"To protect Canadians from the risks that come with crypto-assets, there is a clear need for different orders of government to take an active role in addressing consumer protection gaps and risks to our financial system," the budget said.
Canada has been tightening its regulations around the crypto industry in recent months. CoinDesk reported in February that Canada’s umbrella markets regulator, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), will tighten requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.