Update: Canada Tackles Foreign Corruption and Bribery with Amendments to the Corruption of Foreign Officials Act
Davis LLP International Corporate Governance Bulletin
July 5, 2013
Canada has recently enacted amendments to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (the “Act”), which may suggest a renewed vigour for taking action against Canadian agents of foreign corruption.
On February 5, 2013, Bill S-14 (the “Bill’) was introduced into the Senate to amend the Act. On June 19, 2013, the Bill received Royal Assent, and these amendments were enacted into law.
The Bill’s enactment has amended the Act in five key ways.
First, the amendments have raised the maximum custodial sentence for offences under the Act from five to fourteen years.
Second, the amendments have introduced a series of new offences targeting business records. These new offences criminalize any of the following activities when done for the purpose of enabling the bribery of foreign public officials:
Third, the amendments have broadened the jurisdiction of the Canadian Courts under the Act. Prior to the amendments, Canadian Courts had jurisdiction if there was a “real and substantial” link between the offence and Canada. The amendments have replaced this “real and substantial” test with a “nationality jurisdiction”, which gives Canadian Courts jurisdiction over all persons or companies with Canadian nationality, regardless of where the alleged offence has taken place.