Update to Immunity and Leniency Programs clarifies status of cooperating witnesses

News release

March 15, 2019 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) issued updated Immunity and Leniency Programs today to provide increased clarity on the status of cooperating witnesses.

The update includes revisions to clarify that participants in the programs are cooperating witnesses and not confidential informers (for example, see “Status of witnesses” in Part 3). This clarification does not change how the programs function. The identity of participants will continue to be kept confidential, except in the specific circumstances outlined in the programs.

The update reflects a commitment by the Bureau and the PPSC to provide clarity, predictability and transparency, and to ensure that the programs keep pace with the evolving competition law environment.

Quick facts

  • The updated programs contain clarifications in paragraphs 34(e), 54, 159 and 206, as well as in the template documents in Appendix 3.

  • The Bureau and the PPSC will continue to review the programs and update them as required in light of changing circumstances and decisions by the courts.

  • The Immunity and Leniency 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.

  • The programs are the Bureau’s most powerful tools for detecting and stopping unlawful conduct prohibited by the Competition Act.

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