On November 30, 2017, IIROC published its new Continuing Education Rules. Below are the updated frequently asked questions.
1. What are the course requirements?
Continuing Education Program operates on two-year cycles. All Approved Persons are on the same schedule: the first cycle began on January 1, 2000.
Individuals who are approved by IIROC must complete either a 10-hour Compliance course and/or a 20-hour Professional Development course during each two-year cycle, depending on their
Approval Category. Please consult the CE Requirements by Approval Category in order to determine your CE requirements. Individuals approved in more than one Approval Category must complete the requirements of the Approval Category with the more onerous CE requirements.
A course can be a single course or a series of pertinent courses, seminars, presentations, webcasts, programs, or alternate activities to meet the minimum time/content requirement.
2. How do the cycles work?
The first three-year cycle began on January 1, 2000. Effective January 1, 2018, IIROC transitioned to a two-year cycle. Each cycle runs for two years.
3. Is there any grandfathering?
There is no grandfathering for Compliance courses. For Professional Development courses, there is a limited form of "grandfathering", as follows: Those who are approved as either Registered Representatives or Supervisors, and have been continuously approved in a trading category with a Self-Regulatory Organization (i.e.: IIROC, the TSE, the ME, or the TSX Venture Exchange including any of its predecessors), from January 1, 1990 or earlier, will not be required to take Professional Development courses. However, they must still complete a Compliance course during every two-year cycle.
4. I have been in the securities industry for many years. Do I qualify as being continuously approved and am I eligible for the grandfathering from the Professional Development requirement?
To qualify for grandfathering (i.e. an exemption from the Professional Development requirement), you must have been approved in a trading capacity by a self-regulatory organization, prior to January 1, 1990, and must have been approved continuously since that time – that is, any gaps in approval between transferring from one brokerage firm to another, must have been no longer than three months.
If you were licensed after January 1, 1990 your Professional Development course requirement does not change no matter what your length of service. The grandfathering provision was a one-time offering.
5. If I have just started to work in the securities industry, when will I be required to start taking CE courses?
You will start taking courses immediately following IIROC approval unless approval occurred in the last six months of a two-year cycle. If approval falls within the last six months of a two-year cycle, your CE requirements begin during the following cycle.
6. I have been out of the industry, and have recently been re-approved. When am I required to enter CE?
Individuals returning to the industry will be required to complete their CE requirements in the present cycle unless they enter the CE cycle in the last six months of the two-year cycle.
Please note that individuals who have previously been grandfathered from the Professional Development requirement under Rule 2653(5), who become re-approved after a gap of more than three months, are no longer exempted from the Professional Development requirement. These individuals will be required to complete the CE requirement as per their approval category.
Individuals who were previously grandfathered from the Professional Development requirement and voluntarily participate in the IIROC’s CE program during the gap in approval will not be grandfathered from the Professional Development requirement upon re-approval.
7. Does the course used to complete the IIROC's post licensing requirement count towards CE?
If you are approved as a Registered Representative, you may use the Wealth Management Essentials Course (WME) to fulfill the Professional Development requirement of CE, as well as the 30-month post-licensing requirement (PLR).
You can only use the WME to fulfill the Professional Development requirement and PLR in the CE cycle the course was completed.
8. I have just changed categories. What are my CE requirements?
If the change in category occurs within the last six months of a CE cycle, the CE requirements are for the previous position (For example, if you are upgrading from IR to RR, you will complete CE requirements for the IR position).
For changes from a category that requires both Compliance and Professional Development to a category requiring Compliance only:
If this change occurs within the last six months of a CE cycle, the sponsoring Dealer Member must provide IIROC an explanation of the category change sufficient to satisfy IIROC Staff that the category changes were not done in an effort to avoid completion of a CE requirement. The letter of explanation should be sent to the attention of the IIROC Registration Staff.
Similarly, any change back to a category requiring both Compliance and Professional Development CE in the first year of the next cycle will require an explanation from your firm.
9. What kinds of courses can I take to satisfy my CE requirements?
There is considerable flexibility built into the program. IIROC issued guidance of acceptable continuing education course content, length and rigour. Your firm will determine courses eligible under the Members CE program based on this guidance. Please see the guidance on Compliance and Professional Development course content to determine course eligibility.
In addition certain courses have been reviewed and accredited for IIROC’s CE Program:
Courses accredited by IIROC’s official accreditation process
Seminars, presentations and conferences offered by IIROC
It is important to be sure that the course you are interested in satisfies the guidance issued by IIROC. Once you provide your firm with the necessary information, your firm will decide on its eligibility as a CE course.
Alternatively, your firm may request that the course provider submit the course for official accreditation through IIROC’s official accreditation process (CECAP).
10. Do the courses I use for IIROC approval satisfy my CE requirements?
Baseline licensing proficiencies, which include the CSC, CPH, and 30 or 90 day training programs cannot be used to satisfy your CE requirements.
Other licensing courses (e.g. DFC, OLC, PDO, etc.) can be used for CE credit.
11. I received a brochure for a course or seminar which implies the course meets CE Requirements. Can I assume that completion of this course or seminar will meet IIROC CE requirements?
There are many designations and licenses that require CE credits. However, a course which meets CE credits, may not necessarily meet IIROC CE credits.
Each member firm is responsible for designating an individual to review courses and seminars to ensure they meet the requirements set out in
Rule 2650, and are appropriate to the individual, his or her position and responsibilities, or to the needs of the firm.
Please consult with the individual at your firm to ensure that the course or seminar you plan to take is eligible for IIROC CE Credits.
12. Do Road Shows count for CE?
Purely promotional road shows, such as the launch of particular products or services, are not acceptable for CE.
However, if the presentation and/or road show is inclusive of some educational element regarding the general product group that is relevant to your type of business and enables you to provide a better and more informed service and/or advice to your clients, it can be considered acceptable, as long as your Member Firm determines that it is acceptable for CE.
The CECAP Process uses the following guidelines to assess the portion of a road show that is applicable: The particular product portion of the presentation is granted 50% of the actual time while the general education portion will be granted full time (i.e. a two-hour session with one hour of general education and one hour issuer-specific product can be granted up to 1 ½ hours of CE). It is advisable in such cases to provide a brief explanation of why the presentation and/or road show should be counted as CE for your firm’s records.
13. What if I do more than one qualified course during a cycle? Will I get credit for the second course?
If you complete a second course that is 20 hours or greater in length, you may carry forward 10 hours of this course to satisfy the Professional Development requirement of the next cycle. The course must have been completed in the last six months of the CE cycle to be carried forward.
No carry forwards are allowed for the Compliance course.
14. I have 14 hours of Compliance, and need 2 hours of Professional Development. Since some courses can be counted for either, can I transfer the extra hours?
No. The 10 hours for Compliance and 20 hours for Professional Development are the recommended minimum amount of hours a course should take.
Courses that qualify for both Compliance and Professional Development are to be applied in whole to the CE category of your choice. It is not meant to imply that credit in excess of the minimum number of hours required can be transferred to the other requirement.
15. If I am approved during the last six months of a CE cycle and take a course before I am required to participate in CE, can I carry that course forward to meet the requirement of my first CE Cycle?
Courses completed before an individual is required to complete CE requirements cannot be carried forward to apply to that individual’s first CE Cycle.
16. I am also registered in the U.S. and participate in the U.S. CE program. Can I apply these US courses, or any foreign courses, to meet IIROC’s CE requirements?
Compliance courses that have been accredited by a foreign securities regulator for CE credit can be used to satisfy up to 1/2 (i.e. 5 hours) of the 10 hour Compliance portion of IIROC’s CE requirement.
The Professional Development portion of the foreign course can be used to satisfy some or all of the 20 hour Professional Development portion of IIROC’s CE requirement, provided the course(s) relate(s) to investment dealer business.
The Chartered Financial Analyst courses offered through the CFA Institute contain relevant material. Each level can be used to satisfy both the Professional Development requirement for a cycle and 1/2 of the Compliance requirement that can be devoted to US or other foreign material.
17. If an employee sits on an advisory committee or council of the IIROC, does he/she receive CE credits for participating in meetings?
If an individual sits on an advisory committee or council that deals with relevant issues, the member firm may decide that the time is applicable to the CE Compliance component. The time cannot be applied towards the Professional Development component. The onus is on the individual Approved Person to provide sufficient documentation to enable the member firm to validate IIROC’s qualification for CE.
18. If an employee teaches a financial course or writes a finance-related book or article, does he/she receive CE credits for this?
If an individual is teaching a course or writing a book or article which deals with relevant issues, the member firm may decide that the time is applicable to the relevant CE component. The applicable time may include the preparation time, in addition to the time spent in the classroom. Please note that the same course or piece of writing may be applied towards CE only once in the individual’s career. The onus is on the individual Approved Person to provide sufficient documentation to enable the member firm to validate IIROC’s qualification for CE.
19. Does participation in CE keep my CSC valid?
Individuals may extend the validity periods of the CSC by successfully completing one or more than one course on a list of CE-eligible courses recognized by IIROC as meeting the requirements of the Continuing Education Program. This is known as Voluntary Participation in CE.
The CSC is the only course which can automatically be kept valid through voluntary participation in CE.
The CSC must have been successfully passed within the three years prior to the start of the CE Cycle.
Courses counting as Voluntary Participation cannot be carried forward from the previous cycle.
If you have taken more than the required amount of courses during the voluntary participation period, you may not carry these courses forward to count as CE once you are re-approved.
This extends to:
Approved Persons who left the industry within the three years prior to the start of the current cycle
Individuals who have never been approved by IIROC, who successfully passed the course within the three years prior to the start of the current cycle.
20. How long will Voluntary Participation keep my courses valid?
Voluntary participation in CE will keep the CSC valid until the end of the sixth month of the next cycle. You may continue to participate in each CE cycle to extend the validity of your courses indefinitely.
To qualify for this automatic exemption, you must provide proof of passing to your firm of the course(s) used to fulfill the voluntary participation requirement. Your firm will report this to IIROC at the time of your application for approval.
21. What are the Ethics Courses that can be repeated for CE credit?
IIROC publishes a list of approved ethics courses, which can be repeated and counted towards the Compliance portion in two cycles. These courses relate principally to ethics, ethical conduct, professionalism, and professional responsibility.
You do not have to complete the course in two consecutive cycles.
22. How much time should I expect to spend on continuing education?
The Compliance requirement will require a minimum of 10 hours and the Professional Development requirement a minimum of 20 hours within each two-year cycle.
23. What happens if I change firms in the middle of a CE cycle?
Courses completed and provided with credits from the previous firm may be accepted by your new firm. Your new firm may require proof of successful completion of those credits from the previous firm, so you should retain any status reports or other proof of completion(s) that they provide. The onus is on the individual Approved Person to provide the required documentation.
If you have not completed a course and change firms, it is advisable that you contact the new firm’s CE Administrator to confirm acceptability. If however the uncompleted course was an internal program offered only to employees, it is unlikely your new firm will recognize the credits.
24. How do I report course completions?
It is up to you to tell your firm when you have completed your course(s). You do not have to advise IIROC, your firm will do that through IIROC’s Online CE Reporting System.
25. When do CE completions need to be reported to IIROC?
Members firms are required to report completions to IIROC within 10 days after the end of a CE cycle through IIROC’s CE Reporting System.
26. If a representative is audited for CE, will the auditor contact the company or the individual directly? Do representatives need to maintain copies of CE that have already been forwarded to their Head Office?
Member Firms are audited (not individual representatives). It is recommended that you keep copies of your CE records.
27. What happens if I don’t complete my CE requirements on time?
If you have not completed your required courses by December 31 of the second year of a CE cycle, your firm will be assessed a one-time $2500 fine.
You will be automatically suspended until you have completed the required courses; therefore, it is important to complete all CE requirements on time.
Please also refer to Question #30 for the procedures for requesting a Hardship extension.
28. Do I pay the fines or does my firm?
The fines are levied against your firm, but your firm may choose to collect them from you.
29. What can I do to have my license reinstated? Can I begin my course work immediately?
You can start on your courses immediately. You will be reinstated shortly after your firm reports completion to IIROC.
30. What if I can't fulfill my CE requirements due to illness or what if I am currently on long term disability? Can I get a deferral?
The Rule permits the relevant District Council, or its delegate, to grant a hardship extension or exemption from the requirement to fulfill the course requirements under the following circumstances:
Your firm may seek a hardship extension from the requirement to complete the course requirements within a two-year cycle if you are unable to complete the requirements due to an illness, or, your firm may seek a hardship exemption from the requirement to complete the course requirements if you are on leave for an indefinite period.
In both circumstances a request for a hardship extension and/or exemption must be filed via NRD. If the request is from completing the requirements within a two-year cycle, the request must specify:
If granted the extension, you will be required to complete the CE requirements for the current cycle by the agreed upon date. You are not permitted to start the next CE cycle late and will not be given additional time to complete the next CE cycle’s CE requirements.
If the request is from completing the requirements indefinitely, the request must specify that the leave is for an indefinite period, and outlining the reasons for the request. If granted the hardship exemption, upon your return to the industry, you may be required to re-write the CSC and CPH. Please refer to Rule 2661(3) for further details.
There is no fee for processing these requests.
31. How does a Dealer Member file a CE Hardship Exemption or Extension for a registrant who is unable to complete their CE requirement(s) in a cycle?
Dealer members are to submit a CE Hardship Exemption or Extension via the Apply for an Exemption submission in NRD. As there are no fees associated with such requests, and considering NRD is programmed to automatically pull a fee of $250 for an exemption, IIROC will accept that the firm links the Exemption submission to a previous submission filed for that individual. It does not matter the type of submission, the firm can pick any submission filed in the past for that registrant. In the event the Dealer Member omits to link the Exemption submission to another submission to avoid the fees being pulled, an NRD – Request for Refund Form will need to be completed and sent to the applicable IIROC office.
32. Do Chief Financial Officers (CFO) have CE requirements?
Yes, if the individual is approved as a Trading Executive. A CFO who is approved as an Executive (Non-Trading) has no CE requirements.