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Addressing Corporate Crime in Canada 

 

ACEC supports federal government proposal to introduce Deferred Prosecution Agreements

Last fall, the Government of Canada launched a public consultation to seek input from stakeholders on a possible Deferred Prosecution Agreement process for Canada as a potential enhancement to its Integrity Regime.

ACEC supports the use of DPAs to address allegations of corporate wrongdoing because in some cases they can be more effective in addressing corporate wrongdoing than conventional prosecutions – but without needlessly jeopardizing the livelihood of employees and other parties that have no connection or complicity with any of the allegations. DPAs could also increase detection of wrongdoing through self-reporting and help improve corporate culture and compliance. For these reasons, the ACEC Board of Directors expressed a desire to speak up in favour of DPAs on behalf of our industry; ACEC-Canada participated in the consultation process by commenting on the discussion guide, which can be viewed here. The ACEC submission was shared with Transparency International – Canada which also supports the principles of DPAs.

A Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) is a voluntary agreement negotiated between an accused and the responsible prosecution authority. Under a DPA, the criminal prosecution is suspended for a set period of time. During that time, the accused must comply with the terms of the agreement. If the accused complies, the charges are withdrawn when the DPA expires and no criminal conviction results. If, however, they do not comply, charges may be revived at any point during the term of the DPA and a prosecution may be pursued, and a conviction sought. Foreign competitors who have access to such a tool in the United Kingdom and the United States have been benefiting from DPAs, which are currently unavailable to Canadian firms.

The government is expected to release a summary report in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to future Source newsletters for the release of the summary report and the government’s next steps.