The Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (“CFPOA”) – brought into force in 1999 – is Canada’s response to bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions. Since its inception, there have only been a handful of convictions under CFPOA. Lackluster enforcement of the Act means that Canada has continued to rank poorly among other member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In a 2009 Transparency International Progress Report, Canada was ranked on the same level as countries such as Mexico and South Africa, displaying “little or no enforcement” of anti-corruption legislation.

Recent federal policy statements and the creation of the RCMP Anti-Corruption Unit suggest that Canada will soon move toward increased enforcement. Therefore, it is essential that all Canadian companies operating abroad understand this changing prosecutorial landscape on bribery and corruption. They must recognize the risk factors inherent to their line of business and the bearing of Canadian and international legislation on their work, and tailor-make corporate policies to help them avoid and also respond to allegations of bribery and corruption as they arise. A compliance system may diminish their risk of being prosecuted under CFPOA. In the event that charges are laid, documented adherence to a well-designed anti-corruption policy may help individuals and/or corporations avoid prosecution, or at the very least, the policy may serve as a potential mitigating factor during sentencing.

Our Corruption Compliance and Defence Practice Leader, Joven Narwal, offers preventative advice to clients with respect to the implementation of effective compliance procedures designed to reduce exposure to CFPOA prosecution. Mr. Narwal and his Team are also available around the clock to represent clients through all stages of an investigation and prosecution.

To learn more about Joven Narwal, please visit his Profile, or contact our office to speak with him directly or schedule an appointment.