Changes To Anti-Corruption Legislation Give Federal Government New Powers


Amendments to Canadian anti-bribery legislation drastically increase the Federal Government's ability to lay corruption charges and the penalties for conviction.

Recent amendments to Canada's Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (the "Act") give added weight to the anti-bribery Act which was formerly riddled with loopholes. The amendments expanded the scope of "corruption" constituting an offence and improved the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's (the "RCMP") ability to crack down on offenders.

The four most significant amendments to the Act passed by Parliament on June 19, 2013 are:

Increased penalties for offences committed under the Act; Expanded the scope of the offence of bribery, now including facilitation payments; Created a new offence for falsifying or destroying records to hide evidence of bribery; and Established nationality jurisdiction, allowing the RCMP to prosecute offenders with ties to Canada, whether the offence occurred in Canada or not. Increased Penalties

Fourteen years imprisonment is the new maximum penalty for corruption offences under the Act, a sharp increase from the former five year maximum.

Facilitation Payments Now an Offence

Facilitation payments are payments made to lower-level public officials to expedite or secure the performance of routine tasks which that public official was required to perform anyway.

Prior to the amendments, facilitation payments were the one exception to the anti-bribery law. The amendments eliminated the facilitation payment exception, making these types of payments an offence punishable under the Act.

Although this amendment has been passed by Parliament, it will not take effect until a date yet to be named by the Governor General. This allows businesses time to adjust their policies regarding facilitation payments and phase out the practice, so as to be compliant with the amendment when it does take effect.

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