Skip to main content

Garth Drabinsky is pictured in the rehearsal studio at Elgin Theatre as he prepares for the debut of his new production Sousatzka in Toronto on January 12, 2017.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

The Ontario Securities Commission has permanently banned theatre producer Garth Drabinsky from acting as a director or officer of a public company in Ontario, rejecting most of the proposals he tabled to modify penalties he was facing.

Mr. Drabinsky, who admitted to his role in a long-running fraud at defunct theatre company Livent Inc., is also prohibited from acting as an investment promoter. The OSC banned him from trading securities, but granted an exception for trading in his own personal accounts.

The OSC hearing panel, headed by commissioner Grant Vingoe, said Mr. Drabinsky "was responsible for one of the most significant Canadian financial frauds in recent decades" and it was not appropriate to grant him various "bespoke" exceptions.

"We reject the proposition that we should engage in an adjudicative process akin to a negotiations, where we have to parse every carve-out proposed by a respondent and assess whether it is justified as minimally intrusive when taking into account the respondent's tax and estate planning and other personal objectives," the panel said in a written decision issued Friday.

Mr. Drabinsky said he needed exceptions to standard bans to allow him to carry on creative and marketing activities at some types of companies that are reporting issuers in Ontario, including limited partnerships with limited numbers of shareholders.

He also asked for an exception to a ban from acting as a promoter to allow him to meet with investors to talk about shows he wants to stage, and argued he should be allowed to be a director and officer of certain family companies for tax-planning purposes.

The hearing panel said allowing carve-outs with potential loopholes could allow Mr. Drabinsky to skirt the bans "by creating a complex set of restrictions that, on close scrutiny, are open to evasion."

Mr. Drabinsky was convicted of fraud in 2009 and sentenced to five years in jail. His OSC case was repeatedly delayed while he served his sentence and launched appeals. Two other co-accused executives, Myron Gottlieb and Gordon Eckstein, previously reached settlement deals with the OSC.