Corporate Compliance Programs

The Bureau publishes various guidelines, bulletins and pamphlets to provide information and to promote compliance with the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

The Bulletin on Corporate Compliance Programs provides guidance to help Canadian businesses design their own program to prevent or minimize their risk of contravening the Acts, and to detect contraventions, should they occur.

The Bureau recognizes that certain businesses may already have a program in place and encourages them to take the opportunity to ensure that the essential components highlighted in the Bulletin are reflected in their program.

Businesses should take a proactive approach when promoting compliance. All businesses should recognize the value of a well-designed, credible and effective program.

  • To be credible, a program must demonstrate the company's commitment to conducting business in conformity with the law.
  • To be effective, it needs to inform employees about their legal duties, the need for compliance with internal policies and procedures as well as the potential costs, actual and opportunity (i.e., the cost of not complying with the law) of contravening the law and the harm it may cause to the Canadian economy.

A good corporate compliance program helps to identify the boundaries of permissible conduct, as well as identify situations where it would be advisable to seek legal advice. In some cases, courts have recognized a credible and effective compliance program as a mitigating factor when assessing remedies in the event of a breach.

Some of the specific benefits of a well-designed program include:

  • helping to maintain a good reputation;
  • reducing costs related to litigation, fines, adverse publicity and the disruption to operations resulting from Bureau investigation and proceedings before the court;
  • reducing the exposure of employees, senior management and the corporation to criminal, civil or penal liability;
  • assisting a company and its employees in assessing the competition risks they may face;
  • assisting a company and its staff in their dealings with the Bureau; for example, by identifying contraventions of the Acts early enough to request immunity or lenient treatment;
  • improving a business' ability to recruit and retain staff — an ethical company is likely to attract higher-quality employees and have positive retention rates;
  • improving a business' ability to attract and retain customers and suppliers who value companies that operate ethically; and
  • assisting a business to qualify, in certain circumstances, for a reduced sentence or other lenient treatment where a contravention of any of the Acts has occurred.
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