Bribery and corruption

On December 17, 1997, Canada signed the Convention on Combating Bribery in International Business Transactions of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD Convention). In 1998 Parliament passed the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) to implement Canada’s obligations under the OECD Convention into Canadian law.

The OECD Convention aims to stop the flow of bribes and to remove bribery as a non-tariff barrier to trade, producing a level playing field in international business.  The OECD Convention came into force on February 15, 1999, following Canada’s ratification. To date, 44 states have ratified the OECD Convention, including the 36 member states of the OECD and eight non-member states: Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Russia and South Africa.

In June 2013 Parliament amended the CFPOA to increase the maximum penalty for convicted individuals, to create a new books and records offence and to expand jurisdiction based on nationality.  In addition, the 2013 amendment stated that at a later date the Government would eliminate the exception for facilitation payments. Facilitation payments are those made to foreign public officials to secure or expedite the performance of acts of a routine nature that are within the scope of the official's duties. The repeal came into force on October 31, 2017 and such payments are now included under the foreign bribery offences listed in the CFPOA.

In September 2018, a Remediation Agreement (RA) regime came into force through the creation of a new Part (Part XXII.1) of the Criminal Code. An RA is a new tool available for use by prosecutorial authorities – at their discretion, in the public interest and in appropriate circumstances – to address corporate criminal wrongdoing. It is an agreement, between an organization accused of committing a listed offence and a prosecutor, to stay any proceedings related to that offence, if the organization complies with the terms of the agreement.

Related links