Compliance programs: Doing it right
June 3, 2015
Doing it right for your company
Having a corporate compliance program tailored to your company’s operations is a great way to be aware of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act and how they apply specifically to you and your business. An effective compliance program will reduce the risk of violating these laws and will, by extension, also help to protect your company’s reputation for honesty and integrity in the marketplace. Basically, it’s a risk management tool. A compliance program will allow you to focus on running your business by helping you avoid costly and time‑consuming pitfalls that come with breaking the law.
A credible and effective compliance program starts with a commitment by those who run the company to do the right thing, and to use smart management tools to make sure that everyone in your company knows what to do—that they will actually follow through.
From there, how a compliance program will look will depend on the nature of the business and its compliance risks. For example, your company will likely benefit from a compliance program if it has any of the following characteristics or engages in any of the following activities:
- Is a member in a trade association.
- Bids on contracts, or accepts bids on contracts.
- Sells goods or services to customers who are also competitors.
- Advertises its goods or services.
- Sells and packages any consumer products, textiles or articles made from precious metals (e.g., jewelry).
- Engages in telemarketing.
- Has a leadership or a dominant position in any market in Canada.
Even then, not all of your company’s operations might put you at risk of breaking the law. A compliance program might only need to focus on the activities of certain segments of your company, or even on the activities of certain staff. For example, if your company has a management team and/or marketing department, it will benefit from having a corporate compliance program that is appropriate for its size and activities, even if there are only a handful of people in these positions.
If you decided that your company is too small to have a formal program, then the responsibility for compliance rests with the company’s leaders. You need to demonstrate and communicate to your employees that you’re prepared to compete fairly and that violations of the law will not be tolerated.
For more information, see the Competition Bureau’s Corporate Compliance Programs bulletin, available on its website.
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