For Immediate Release        
April 26, 2017


Canadian securities regulators propose to ban advertising, offering, selling and trading in binary options

Calgary – The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) today published for comment National Instrument 91-102 Prohibition of Binary Options.  The proposed instrument would prohibit advertising, offering, selling or otherwise trading a binary option to an individual.

“We are deeply concerned by the increasing number of investor losses and complaints resulting from binary options,” said Louis Morisset, Chair of the CSA and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “The proposed ban is critical to our efforts to help stop binary options fraud in Canada.”

Binary options take the form of a wager in which investors bet on the performance of an underlying asset, often a currency, commodity, stock index, or share. The timeframe on this bet is typically very short, sometimes hours or even minutes. When the time is up, the investor either receives a predetermined payout or loses the entire amount. In many instances, no actual trading occurs and the transaction takes place for the sole purpose of stealing money.  In addition, those who have provided credit or personal information to binary options sites frequently fall victim to identity theft.

Binary options are sometimes marketed under other names, including “all-or-nothing options,” “asset-or-nothing options,” “bet options,” “cash-or-nothing options,” “digital options,” “fixed-return options” and “one-touch options.”

The firms and individuals involved in binary options trading platforms are often located overseas. Investing offshore is a common red flag of fraud, as it may be impossible to get your money back if something goes wrong.  

Any firm or individual selling investments or offering advice must be registered in the province where they do business. Before making a decision to invest, investors should visit to check the registration of a person or company offering the investment. Registration helps protect investors because regulators will only register firms and individuals that are properly qualified. There are no registered individuals or firms permitted to trade binary options in Canada.

The proposed instrument can be found on CSA members’ websites. The comment period is open until May 29, 2017 in Alberta and Québec, until June 28, 2017 in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and until July 28, 2017 in all other participating jurisdictions. The CSA encourages comments by May 29, 2017.

The British Columbia Securities Commission did not publish the proposed instrument for comment, although staff anticipates doing so in the near future, after obtaining necessary approval. 

Anyone who has invested with or has concerns about an offshore binary options trading platform should immediately contact their local securities regulator. For more information on binary options fraud, please visit

The CSA, the council of the securities regulators of Canada’s provinces and territories, co-ordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets.

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For more information:

Kristen Rose  
Ontario Securities Commission

Nicole Tuncay
Alberta Securities Commission

Alison Walker
British Columbia Securities Commission

Sylvain Théberge  
Autorité des marchés financiers

Jason (Jay) Booth
Manitoba Securities Commission

Andrew Nicholson
Financial and Consumer Services
Commission, New Brunswick

Jane Anderson           
Nova Scotia Securities Commission

Janice Callbeck
Office of the Superintendent of Securities

John O’Brien
Office of the Superintendent of Securities
Newfoundland and Labrador

Rhonda Horte
Office of the Yukon Superintendent of Securities

Jeff Mason
Nunavut Securities Office

Tom Hall
Office of the Superintendent of Securities
Northwest Territories

Shannon McMillan
Financial and Consumer Affairs
Authority of Saskatchewan