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If you have any questions or comments about this blog post, please contact John Pirie at john.pirie@bakermckenzie.com.

Ontario has established a new agency to combat fraud. The Serious Fraud Office (the “SFO”), modelled on the UK’s anti-fraud agency of the same name, will place police investigators and fraud prosecutors under one umbrella to ensure the proper expertise and enforcement coordination is applied to cases of high-value fraud in Ontario.
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Canada has formally repealed its exception for “facilitation payments” under its foreign anti-corruption legislation (the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act).

Canada’s anti-bribery law prohibits anyone from giving or offering a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind — directly or through intermediaries — to a foreign public official as consideration for an act or omission by the latter to obtain or retain a business advantage.
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On July 3rd, 2015, the Canadian government announced a new Integrity Framework (the “Integrity Regime”), which applies to all federal procurement and real property transactions, and debars suppliers who have been convicted of “integrity offences” from contracting with the federal government for a set period of time ranging from 5-10 years.

The previous regime, first introduced in 2012 by Public Works and Government Services Canada (“PWGSC”) was then revised in March of 2014. At the time, the updated Integrity Regime was seen by many as inflexible and unduly harsh. In particular, a number of respected commercial and legal organizations criticized the Integrity Regime for providing for an automatic 10-year ban on government contracting for suppliers who were found guilty (or discharged) in relation to offences included on an enumerated list from a diverse set of laws, including the Financial Administration Act, the Criminal Code, the Competition Act, and the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, among others[1].
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As of February 24, 2014, prosecutors in the United Kingdom will have a new tool in their arsenal to combat corporate criminal wrongdoing. After a lengthy consultation process, and with the benefit of observing a longstanding U.S. practice, the British Parliament amended its Crime and Courts Act to allow for Deferred Prosecution Agreements (“DPAs”). Canadian lawmakers should carefully review this new legislation, as well as the U.S. DPA program, as either system would be a step in the right direction for Canada.  

To date, federal officials in Canada have not shown an interest in introducing a DPA system for use by Canadian prosecutors tasked with combatting commercial crime. A DPA system, however, has many advantages for both the regulator and the regulated that Canada should consider. For the regulator, it provides the benefit of internal investigations that are funded by industry and disclosed voluntarily, which saves massive government resources. For the regulated, they avoid a conviction and admission of liability, which minimizes legal and reputational damage. The newly adopted U.K. regime provides a new model for Canada to consider alongside the American regime.
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