Effective Compliance Programs

An organization can reduce the probability of an investigation or investigation and reduce the probability of a negative outcome through having an effective compliance program:

Fundamental Elements

  1. Management Involvement and Support;
  2. Corporate Compliance Risk Assessment;
  3. Corporate Compliance Policies and Procedures;
  4. Training and Education;
  5. Monitoring, Auditing and Reporting Mechanisms;
  6. Consistent Disciplinary Procedures and Incentives for Compliance; and
  7. Compliance Program Evaluation.

Effective Whistleblower Programs

Whistleblowers can provide a valuable source of information to the organization about potentially problematic contact and can provide an opportunity for the organization to correct any problems before they become serious issues. If an organization does not encourage and protect whistleblowers, potential whistleblowers have other options that are more likely to hurt an organization (i.e., Crimestoppers, Canada Revenue Agency’s offshore tax informant program, the Competition Bureau’s hotline, tipping off the media, etc.).

Elements of an Internal Whistleblower Program

  1. Anonymity is offered to whistleblowers;
  2. Whistleblowers have easy means to report problematic conduct;
  3. Whistleblowers are protected from potential retaliation and will not suffer any employment consequences for coming forward (with a exception for coming forward with a false allegation);
  4. Organization can reserve the right to take employment action in relation to improper conduct engaged in by the whistleblower, but such consequences should be lessened in acknowledgement of the employee’s decision to come forward
  5. Note that there may be statutory protections that apply to whistleblowers as well

Effective Document Retention Program

An organization can reduce its risk and cost in a search or inspection by implementing an appropriate records retention program. The scope of a search will necessarily be impacted by the number, location and form of documents that an organization has. A well-designed program ensures that records are kept to the extent required to meet legal requirements and where relevant to support the organization’s business, but also provides for ststemic disposal of records when they are no longer needed. Maintaining an appropriate records retention program will reduce the number of available documents that can be searched and will make privileged records easy to identify.

Elements of a Records Retention Program

  1. Appropriate retention / destruction timelines for physical and electronic documents
  2. Relevant documents marked as privileged and/or confidential
  3. Proper systems for maintianing compliance
  4. Effective management oversight