Canada Strengthens its Laws Against Bribery of Foreign Public Officials

The Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (S.C., 1998, c.34 [Can.]) (the “Act”) was enacted in 1999 and made it an offence in Canada to bribe a foreign public official in order to obtain or retain an advantage (in relation to its competitors) in the course of business.

This paper discusses the elements of the offence or bribing a foreign public official, the exceptions to the bribery prohibitions (i.e., technically lawful payments, reasonable promotional expenses, and facilitation payments), and the penalties under the Act.  The paper also discusses the first three convictions under the Act in the cases of R. v. Watts (Hydro Kleen), R. v. Niko Resources Ltd. and R. v. Griffiths Energy International Inc.  Finally, the paper suggests the use of anti-bribery policies and compliance programs for companies conducting business abroad.

This paper was originally published in the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Journal [Vol. 50, No. 2, 2013 at p. 225].

Related Practices