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CNQ Issuers to Benefit From Shorter Hold Period

CNQ ISSUERS TO BENEFIT FROM SHORTER HOLD PERIOD ON PRIVATE PLACEMENTS



Qualifying issuers now eligible for 4-month hold period



TORONTO, Ontario, October 23, 2003 ? The Canadian Trading and Quotation System Inc. (CNQ), Canada's new stock market for emerging companies, today announced that it has received orders from the securities commissions of Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Saskatchewan effectively making CNQ-quoted issuers ?qualifying issuers? under Multilateral Instrument 45-102 immediately. A similar application is pending with the Commission des valeurs mobili?res du Qu?bec.



The impact of the order is that CNQ issuers who otherwise meet the requirements of MI 45-102, including having a current Annual Information Form filed, will be eligible for a four-month hold period on prospectus-exempt offerings of securities. Currently, such offerings by CNQ issuers are subject to a 12-month hold period.



CNQ made the application to facilitate capital raising by CNQ issuers. ?We received many comments from issuers that a four month hold period is essential to raising capital and we committed to deliver it to them,? said Robert Cook, President and CEO of CNQ. ?We are pleased that we have been able to work with the securities commissions to achieve this positive result.?



?This development dovetails nicely with application to become a full fledged exchange,? said Ian Bandeen, Chairman of CNQ. ?When combined with our previously announced expansion to allow direct participation from Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec reporting issuers, the practical effect is that the significant benefits of attaining exchange designation have already been achieved. These improvements were obtained in direct response to the requests from the Issuer community and reflect our commitment to work closely with our key constituents to deliver the best market platform in the country.?



CNQ made application for the orders following consultation with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), which is the regulator of CNQ. The Alberta Securities Commission was the lead regulator on the application as the OSC does not have the statutory authority to grant an order giving blanket relief. CNQ will assist issuers who wish to make application to the OSC for similar relief on an individual basis.



About CNQ



Canadian Trading and Quotation System Inc. (CNQ) has created an innovative stock market that matches enhanced disclosure and streamlined regulation with leading edge trading technology to meet the needs of small cap Canadian companies. Combined with comprehensive regulatory oversight, this provides an efficient new equity market that fosters integrity, transparency and liquidity for investors, issuers, and investment dealers.





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For more information please visit www.cnq.ca or contact:



Timothy Baikie, General Counsel, Canadian Trading and Quotation System Inc.

T: 416-572-2000 Ext. 2282

E: timothy.baikie@cnq.ca

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