Launch of revised Immunity and Leniency Programs will enhance effective enforcement and prosecution

News release

September 27, 2018 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) launched updated Immunity and Leniency Programs today that will enhance Canada’s ability to detect, investigate and prosecute unlawful conduct that may violate the criminal provisions of the Competition Act.

These programs set out incentives for parties to come forward to seek immunity or leniency in return for their cooperation with the Bureau’s investigation—and the PPSC’s subsequent prosecution—of others involved in unlawful conduct.    

As part of a shared commitment to keep pace with changes in the competition law environment, the programs have been updated to clarify the Bureau’s and the PPSC’s approach. This will increase transparency and predictability for potential applicants. It will also enhance the ability of both organizations to prepare cases for prosecution by requiring credible and reliable evidence from applicants earlier in the process.

Notable updates to the programs, which incorporate input received during two rounds of public consultations, include:

  • Automatic coverage under a corporate immunity agreement for all directors, officers and employees will no longer be provided. Instead, individuals that require immunity will need to demonstrate their knowledge of or participation in the unlawful conduct and their willingness to cooperate with the Bureau’s investigation.

  • Documentary and testimonial evidence will be provided under a Grant of Interim Immunity. Final immunity will be provided when the applicant’s cooperation and assistance is no longer required.

  • Every leniency applicant may now be entitled to a cooperation credit of up to 50%, to be applied to the base fine. Rather than providing credit on a first-come, first-served basis, the amount of credit awarded will also be based on the value of the applicant’s cooperation.
Joint endorsement of the updated programs by both the Bureau and the PPSC will provide greater certainty and predictability to potential applicants.

The Competition Bureau first implemented a formal Immunity Program in 2000 and a formal Leniency Program in 2010. The programs have consistently proven to be the Bureau’s most effective tools for detecting and stopping unlawful conduct prohibited by the Competition Act. The Bureau will continue to review the Immunity and Leniency Programs as necessary and update them as required in light of changing circumstances and decisions by the courts.

Quotes

“These updated programs will enhance our enforcement efforts while continuing to offer some of the strongest incentives in the world for coming forward with evidence that might otherwise remain hidden. The Bureau extends its thanks to the PPSC for its close collaboration and to the legal and business communities for their valuable input throughout our consultations.”

Matthew Boswell
Interim Commissioner of Competition
Competition Bureau of Canada

“The PPSC works in partnership with the Competition Bureau to prosecute offences under the Competition Act.  We expect the updated programs to be an asset to us in putting robust cases to the court, as well as in managing cases in an efficient and timely manner.”

Kathleen Roussel
Director of Public Prosecutions
Public Prosecution Service of Canada

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