How to Use Canada's SEDAR

Canada's Version of the SEC's EDGAR

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Table of Contents

If you're an investor who lives in the United States, you are familiar with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission's (SEC) EDGAR database. EDGAR is useful for retrieving SEC filings, which include everything from annual reports (10-K filings) to insider transactions (Form 4 filings). In Canada, there is a similar filing system for Canadian firms. This database is known as SEDAR.

Learn more about how you can access SEDAR and identify key filings to assist in your due diligence for Canadian companies.

Key Takeaways

  • Like the U.S. SEC's EDGAR database, Canada's SEDAR is designed to make financial markets more transparent to investors.
  • You can access SEDAR filings online where they can be searched, saved, shared, and printed.
  • Before you invest in a company, review its annual reports, financial statements, MD&A, prospectuses, and NI 43-101 reports.

How Does SEDAR Work?

SEDAR is an acronym for System for Electric Document Analysis and Retrieval. The database is run by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), which regulates securities in Canada. SEDAR works very much the same as the U.S. SEC's EDGAR database.

Canadian companies must use SEDAR to file documents such as financial statements and prospectuses in PDF format. The goal is to increase transparency by making the data available to the public and easy to access.

CSA also allows companies to submit filings in XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) as well as PDF. But, regulators have not yet required public companies to make these updated filings, as in the United States. XRBL is a business reporting language designed to make it easier to share and analyze financial data.

How to Access SEDAR

You can access filings in either English or French at SEDAR's homepage. Once you choose a section, you can search records by clicking on the "Search Database" link under the SEDAR logo. Selecting either "company" or "investment fund" to search records.

The company records search page provides many options. You can search for specific companies, look into industry groups, search by filing date, or look for only certain documents.

Document names differ from their counterparts in the United States (SEC filings) but many of the same categorizations exist.

Once you find what you're looking for, click to view the filing and agree to the terms and conditions. Open the PDF file and you can save, search, print, or share it using Adobe Acrobat's built-in tools.

The process is a little less streamlined than the United States' EDGAR system, but it's still a good way to find and read company filings. Unfortunately, there are no third-party services that offer access to SEDAR filings given the way that they must be accessed and the lack of an API.

Important SEDAR Filings

To use SEDAR to help you identify potential investment opportunities, it's important to know what to look for. Know which filings are most useful and you can sort through the clutter to find the data you need to do your due diligence.

Here are some important filings to watch:

  • Annual Report - Annual reports summarize a company's progress and financial condition over the course of a year. These documents provide you with a great overview of a company and its operations.
  • Financial Statements - Financial statements provide key insights into a company's growth via its income statement and cash flow statement. Learn about a firm's financial health by looking at its balance sheet.
  • Management's Discussion & Analysis - These reports are often filed with financial statements. They contain an in-depth discussion of the financial results and related information.
  • Prospectus - A prospectus provides information about companies looking to raise capital or undergo an initial public offering (IPO). These include both business descriptions and financial statements.
  • NI 43-101 Reports - NI 43-101 reports are highly regarded reports in Canada's resource sectors, which account for a significant part of the country's economy.

You can find many other filings covering any number of different circumstances. Canadian investors should familiarize themselves with all of these filing types in order to better research potential investments and existing holdings.