Amendments to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials
Act (the "Act") came into force on
June 19, 2013. The amendments strengthen the government's
ability to combat corruption and bribery of foreign public
officials in international business transactions.
Summary of Amendments
The Act prohibits payments to foreign public officials in order
to obtain or retain an advantage in the course of business. The
following is a summary of the significant amendments to the
Prohibition of Facilitation Payments
Before the amendments came into force, the Act included an
exception for facilitation payments. A payment to a foreign public
official was not an offence if it was made to expedite or secure
the performance of any routine act that was part of the
official's duties or functions (e.g., the issuance of a permit
or processing of official documents). This amendment will come into
force on a date to be determined.
Establishment of Nationality Jurisdiction
The amendments establish jurisdiction over all Canadian
citizens, permanent residents and corporations incorporated in
Canada, regardless of where the alleged offence is committed. No
real or substantial connection to Canada is required for the Act to
apply to an individual or corporation.
No "For Profit" Requirement
Before the amendments came into force, the Act only applied to
businesses that carried on a business for profit. The Act now also
applies to not-for-profit organizations.
Increase in Maximum Penalties
The amendments have increased the maximum penalty under the Act
from 5 years to 14 years in prison. Unlimited fines may also be
New Books and Records Offence
The amendments create an additional offence pertaining to the
books and records of a company or person required to be kept in
accordance with accounting and auditing standards. It is an offence
establish and maintain an account that does not appear in the
books and records;
engage in transactions that are not recorded in those books and
records or that are inadequately identified;
record non-existent expenditures;
enter liabilities with incorrect identification of their
knowingly use false documents; and
intentionally destroy accounting books and records earlier than
permitted by law.
Only an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or any
person designated as a peace officer under the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police Act may lay charges for an offence under the
Practical Considerations for Businesses
In light of these amendments, Canadian companies conducting
business abroad should develop adequate internal controls, ethics
and compliance programmes or measures for preventing and detecting
bribery. These compliance programs should include a system of
financial and accounting procedures to ensure the maintenance of
accurate books and records. Companies are also encouraged to assess
the risk of bribery in the context of potential international
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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