Corruption in Canada:Reviewing Practices from Abroad to Improve Our Response
The impact of corruption and the associated costs to society are better understood today than eventwo decades ago.
It’s been said that we are now in a “new world of international anti
standards and enforcement”.
The last twenty years have seen a fundamental shift in attitudes aboutcorruption.
This is reflected in the increased efforts at the international and national levels to reduceand fight corruption. Some countries have introduced broad jurisdictional reach in theircriminalization of transnational official bribery and others have expanded and updated their domesticbribery laws, pursuant to treaties or simply due to an enhanced focus on combating corruption.
Canada, like many other States, is confronted with the challenge of determining how best to respondand effectively combat corruption. The perception of Canada as an honest corrupt-free society isslipping, somewhat.
It is telling that Canada’s
ranking on the Transparency International (TI)Corruption Perceptions Index has gone from 6
place out of 183 countries in 2010 to 10
Further, from another TI Survey, we see Canada going from being tied for first place in 2008for honesty abroad to being tied for sixth place in 2011.
Another survey by TI shows that Canadiansthink corruption is on the rise and that the government is not doing enough to stop it.
With the establishment of a commission of inquiry into alleged corruption in the constructionindustry in Quebec, the media reports regarding federal spending related to the G20 summit in 2010,the Mulroney-Schreiber affair, the sponsorship scandal and the recent criticism by the OECD WorkingGroup of
poor enforcement record relating to bribery of foreign public officials, questionsarise including whethe
r Canada’s current legal framework and policies are sufficient to combat
In particular, what impact does this expansion of transnational and domestic laws haveon Canadians and Canadian companies? How does the Canadian legal framework fare in comparisonwith this complex compliance and enforcement environment? What can we learn from othercountries to improve our own legal response?
International Bar Association
f the Task Force on Extra-
Chapter 4: Bribery and Corruption, February 6, 2009 at p. 202.
Omphemetse Sibanda “The South African corruption law and bribery of foreign public officials in international business transa
ctions: A comparative
005) 18 S. Afr. J. Crim. Just. 1.
IBA Task Force report,
note 1 at p. 202.
ding to TI, “the index scores 183
countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 17 surveysthat look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, acc
ess to information and conflicts of interest”.
The TI Bribe Payers 2011 Index, retrieved from http://bpi.transparency.org/.The TI Index is a self reporting poll of 3000 business executives from 30
countries around the world who were asked to talk confidentially about bribes paid to foreign governments or companies. The Globe and Mail,
“Canadaloses ground in bribery ranking”
“Canadians think corruption is on the rise: survey”
Further questions about the resourcing and implementation of prevention, prosecution and other enforcement issues are not the focus of this paper.