Canada’s efforts to fight foreign bribery are “shockingly low,” particularly when compared to key allies such as the U.S., United Kingdom and France, a new report says.
“There’s unfortunately a persistent belief that corruption is not something Canadian companies need to think about, either because some companies just don’t understand the risk, or worse, some companies think they won’t get caught,” said James Cohen, executive director of Transparency International Canada, in a statement.
“The truth is that Canada needs to drastically step up its efforts in ensuring we are not the source of corruption, or the place to hide the money from corruption.”
The organization on Tuesday published its biannual study assessing how nearly 50 major exporting countries have fared when it comes to enforcement against foreign bribery.
It also assesses how well many participating countries have implemented the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, which requires them to criminalize bribery of foreign officials and put in place measures to sanction such crimes.
The study, which covers 2016 to 2019, concludes that only four countries actively enforce against foreign bribery: the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland and Israel.
Canada, on the other hand, ranks well lower and is considered to be a country with “limited” enforcement since 2016. That puts us on par with Denmark, Costa Rica, Argentina, Colombia, and well below other major allies such as Germany, France and Australia.
Over the past three years, Canada has only “opened two new investigations, commenced one new case and concluded four cases with sanctions. This is based on the limited information available, as there are no official publicly available statistics on the number of investigations commenced,” the report details.
“I’m not surprised by the findings, but I’m certainly disappointed,” Cohen said in an interview.