Canada toughens foreign bribery law

Canada toughens foreign bribery law

Corruption has been a hot topic in Canada recently with a series of scandals involving both the public and private sectors making headlines. On 5 February, Canada’s federal government introduced amendments, which will strengthen the country’s main law aimed at bribery abroad.  The changes will make it easier for Canada to prosecute Canadians and Canadian companies who bribe or try to bribe foreign public officials.

The tightening of the legislation comes after continued pressure from Transparency International Canada, Transparency International and the OECD, which criticised Canada for failing to take a strong stance against foreign bribery.

The OECD introduced its anti-bribery convention in 1997.  The convention obliged member states to introduce legislation making the paying of bribes to foreign officials illegal.  Canada adopted its Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) to fulfil its obligations under that convention but did almost nothing to enforce the law until recently.

If legislative change follows the recent announcements by the Canadian government, as is expected, several loopholes that could allow companies to escape the anti-bribery provisions of the law will be closed and Canadian law in this area will fall into line with similar laws in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Continued improvements

Transparency International has monitored the progress of countries in implementing the OECD anti-bribery convention. We have published six yearly assessments of countries and ranked them based on the number of foreign bribery cases they prosecute. In the 2010 report Canada’s was assessed as having “little or no enforcement” and both TI Canada and the OECD stepped up its advocacy.

In the 2012 report, Canada received a ranking of ‘moderate enforcement’ and was cited for its improvement. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the national investigative agency, had about 35 investigations under way in 2012 – the highest since the CFPOA was passed.

In January this year, after an investigation and guilty plea, the courts handed out the largest fine to date, US$10.35 million, to a Calgary-based oil company for bribing an official of the government of Chad.

Once the Canadian law has been amended, organisations such as Transparency International Canada will continue to apply pressure for effective enforcement of the legislation.  “If the political will is there, Canada can become a leader in the fight against international corruption,” said TI Canada’s Chair and President Janet Keeping.

Carousel image: Creative Commons, Flickr / SqueakyMarmot

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Three priorities at the Open Government Partnership summit

This week, the Open Government Partnership is holding its 5th global summit in Tbilisi, Georgia. Transparency International is there in force, pushing for action in three key areas.

Civil society’s crucial role in sustainable development

Key players in the development community are meeting in New York for the main United Nations conference on sustainable development, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Transparency International is there to highlight how corruption obstructs development and report on how effectively countries are tackling this issue.

Comment gagner la lutte contre la corruption en Afrique

Aujourd’hui est la Journée africaine de lutte contre la corruption – une occasion opportunité pour reconnaitre le progrès dans la lutte contre la corruption en Afrique et le travail significatif qui reste encore à accomplir.

How to win the fight against corruption in Africa

African Anti-Corruption Day is an important opportunity to recognise both the progress made in the fight against corruption in Africa and the significant work still left to do.

Increasing accountability and safeguarding billions in climate finance

In December 2015, governments from around the world came together to sign the Paris Agreement, agreeing to tackle climate change and keep global warming under two degrees centigrade. They committed to spend US$100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and protect themselves against the potentially devastating effects of climate change.

After Gürtel, what next for Spain’s struggle with political corruption?

At the start of June, the Spanish parliament voted to oust Prime Minister Rajoy after his political party was embroiled in the biggest corruption scandal in Spain’s democratic history. At this critical juncture in Spain’s struggle with political corruption, Transparency International urges all parties to join forces against impunity and support anti-corruption efforts in public life.

Risk of impunity increases with outcome of Portuguese-Angolan corruption trial

A verdict last week by the Lisbon Court of Appeals in the trial of former Angolan vice president Manuel Vicente has disappointed hopes for a triumph of legal due process over politics and impunity. It also has worrying implications for the independence of Portugal’s judiciary.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media