Canada

Canada last among G7 on anti-bribery efforts

Canada is lagging behind all other G7 countries in enforcing anti-bribery measures against its businesses operating abroad, an international anti-corruption watchdog says.

Canada is lagging behind all other G7 countries in enforcing anti-bribery measures against its businesses operating abroad, an international anti-corruption watchdog says.

For the seventh year in a row, Transparency International ranked Canada as having "little or no enforcement" of foreign bribery standards set out in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Anti-Bribery Convention, which was signed by Canada and came into effect in 1999.

The Berlin-based watchdog, in a report released Tuesday, lamented a "lack of progress" by Canada and called on the Canadian government to show "more visible public commitment" to enforcement.

Transparency International blamed an overall lack of political will for the OECD's anti-bribery convention making no progress with signatory countries in encouraging their businesses to stop using bribery as a tool in foreign dealings.  

It specifically notes Canada's lack of nationality jurisdiction presents a "serious obstacle" to allowing Canadian prosecutors to pursue citizens accused of bribery or corruption abroad.

The scathing report follows similar findings by the OECD in March that called for Canada to step up the job of investigating and prosecuting the bribery of foreign public officials by Canadian companies.

The report notes that Canada has had only a single bribery conviction in the last decade. But the watchdog welcomed the 23 investigations the Canadian government launched last year as a positive sign.

"If these investigations lead to prosecutions, Canada may finally move out of the little or no enforcement category," the report said.

The report includes Canada among the countries with the most serious legal inadequacies, including those with an insufficient definition of what constitutes a foreign bribery offence, jurisdictional limitations and weak legal sanctions in law and practice.

It also hits out at Canada for not providing adequate resources and failing co-ordination of enforcement agencies, grouping it with South Africa, Mexico, Poland, Greece, Spain and the Czech Republic.