Canada: Projet De Loi 107 : Québec Accorde De Nouveaux Et Larges Pouvoirs À L'upac Et Au DPCP

En 2011, le gouvernement du Québec créait l'Unité permanente anticorruption (l'« UPAC ») et adoptait la Loi concernant la lutte contre la corruption, RLRQ c. L-6.1 (la « LLC ») en réponse aux allégations médiatisées de collusion et de corruption dans le milieu de la construction et de l'octroi des contrats publics. Le 8 juin dernier, soit près de cinq ans plus tard, le ministre de la Sécurité publique du Québec a présenté le projet de loi no 107, Loi visant à accroître la compétence et l'indépendance du commissaire à la lutte contre la corruption et du Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes ainsi que le pouvoir du directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales d'accorder certains avantages à des témoins collaborateurs (le « PL no 107 ») à l'Assemblée nationale. Ce projet de loi propose notamment deux changements majeurs :

  1. il accorde des pouvoirs discrétionnaires au Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (le « DPCP ») pour suspendre différentes procédures légales (civiles, déontologiques ou fiscales) à l'encontre de témoins collaborateurs; et
  2. il accorde à l'UPAC le statut officiel de « corps de police spécialisé » ayant des pouvoirs élargis en matière de prévention et de lutte contre la corruption et ce, dans l'ensemble du secteur public.

Témoin collaborateur : un nouvel outil pour le DPCP

Le PL no 107 propose d'accorder un nouveau pouvoir discrétionnaire au DPCP « lorsqu'à son avis l'intérêt de la justice le requiert » pour mettre fin, suivant une entente de collaboration, à des poursuites civiles introduites par un organisme public, des poursuites déontologiques devant le conseil de discipline d'un ordre professionnel ou encore le recouvrement de sommes dues à Revenu du Québec, contre une personne qui accepterait de témoigner dans une instance pénale ou criminelle. Par exemple, le DPCP pourrait accorder la suspension de poursuites civiles introduites par le ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l'Électrification des transports du Québec contre une personne à laquelle le gouvernement réclame des sommes payées en trop sur un contrat de construction donné, si cette personne accepte de témoigner contre d'anciens partenaires d'affaires accusés de fraude, de collusion ou de corruption. Le DPCP pourrait faire suspendre l'instruction de la plainte déontologique portée à l'endroit d'un ingénieur devant le conseil de discipline de son ordre professionnel s'il accepte de témoigner dans un procès où il y aurait eu malversation ou abus de confiance. Ou encore, le DPCP pourrait mettre fin au processus de cotisation de sommes réclamées par Revenu Québec en vertu de la Loi sur l'administration fiscale, RLRQ c. A-6.002, suivant certaines conditions.

Dans ce contexte, le DPCP acquerrait un outil puissant pour inciter certains témoins à collaborer dans le cadre de procédures judiciaires pénales et criminelles, qu'elles soient déjà en cours ou à venir.

Il est opportun de noter que le PL no 107 prévoit également le pouvoir du DPCP de résilier une entente de collaboration d'un témoin « pour un motif prévu à celle-ci et lié à son témoignage ou à toute autre déclaration qu'il a faite », auquel cas les procédures judiciaires pourront reprendre contre ce dernier. Demeureront toutefois à établir dans la pratique ces motifs pour lesquels une entente de collaboration pourrait être résiliée.

Au surplus, l'impact potentiel de telles ententes de collaboration sur le programme de remboursement volontaire de la Loi visant principalement la récupération de sommes payées injustement à la suite de fraudes ou de manSuvres dolosives dans le cadre de contrats publics, RLRQ c. R-2.2.0.0.3, dont les entreprises et personnes intéressées ont jusqu'au 1er novembre 2016 pour se prévaloir et jusqu'au 1er novembre 2017 pour en arriver à un règlement, demeure à évaluer.

L'UPAC : vers un véritable corps de police spécialisé

Si le PL no 107 est adopté, Québec créera une nouvelle catégorie de corps policier en vertu de la Loi sur la police, soit les corps de police spécialisés, dont ferait partie l'UPAC. Le Commissaire de l'UPAC passerait de « coordonnateur » des activités d'enquête de l'UPAC à « directeur » du corps de police spécialisé qui serait ainsi créé. L'UPAC obtiendrait ainsi les services de membres de corps de police réguliers qui lui seraient prêtés sur entente de collaboration et ce, en sus des services d'autres groupes d'enquête ou de vérifications formés de personnes travaillant dans des ministères et organismes gouvernementaux.

Sous la LLC actuelle, la mission de l'UPAC est limitée principalement, d'une part à la lutte et la répression de la collusion et corruption en matière d'octroi de contrats publics et, d'autre part, à la répression de contraventions aux dispositions de la Loi sur les contrats des organismes publics, RLRQ, c. C-65.1 en agissant comme chien de garde de concert avec l'Autorité des marchés financiers (sous peu l'Autorité des marchés publics si le projet de loi no 108 est également adopté) contre les entreprises inadmissibles à contracter avec l'État en raison de condamnations.

Le PL no 107 élargirait la mission de l'UPAC de manière à combattre la collusion, la corruption, l'abus de confiance et l'octroi de privilèges et ce, dans l'ensemble du secteur public. Les « actes répréhensibles », définis à l'article 2 de la LLC, engloberaient ainsi désormais « l'administration de la justice et l'octroi de droits et privilèges, tels une autorisation, une nomination ou une subvention, par un organisme ou une personne du secteur public ».

Finalement, le PL no 107 introduit une obligation nouvelle aux différents corps de police du Québec ainsi qu'à l'inspecteur général de la ville de Montréal, soit celle d'aviser l'UPAC dès qu'ils auront des motifs de croire qu'un « acte répréhensible », tel que défini à la LLC, aura été commis.

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