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COVID-19 Considerations for Reporting Issuers

20-Mar-20

By McLennan Ross Corporate & Tax Team

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant effect on local, national, and international business. As the situation evolves, guidance and relief measures are rapidly changing in response. It is our goal to keep our clients updated and information as to the effect of these changes.   

Below are some noteworthy considerations for reporting issuers impacted by COVID-19:

  1. All annual, quarterly reports and registration statements of reporting issuers should have a specific risk factor dealing with the virus, especially if the company has a market in China or in other seriously affected countries. Reporting issuers should also consider the effects of COVID-19 as a known trend or uncertainty in management, discussion and analysis commentary and its effects on financial or other guidance.
  2. Reporting issuers should consider adding the following safe harbor statement to press releases:

    “…. in addition, there is uncertainty about the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the impact it will have on the Company’s operations, the demand for Company’s products, global supply chains and economic activity in general. These and other risks and uncertainties are detailed in the Company’s Securities Commission filings.” 
     
  3. For shareholders meetings, if reporting issuershave not already mailed proxy statements and a change in the venue of the meeting is already likely or is being considered you should disclose the possibility of a change in the location of the meeting in the proxy statement.
  4. Lastly, on March 18, 2020 the Canadian Securities Administrators announced temporary blanket relief regarding usual regulatory filings due on or before June 1, 2020 by extending the applicable filing deadlines by 45 days. This will include financial statements, management’s discussion and analysis, annual information forms, and other filing providing conditional regulatory relief for certain publicly-traded company filing obligations due to COVID-19. More details to be announced.

Though much remains uncertain, we strongly encourage you to consider the above and to be proactive at this time.

For questions relating to the above, please contact Bill Rosser or Dani Fialkov.

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