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April 20, 2017

Earlier today, the Canadian Government announced increased enforcement measures to detect and combat fraud in relation to federal government contracts (i.e., federal procurement).

In particular, the Federal Government announced that it was launching a new anonymous telephone tip line (1-844-365-1616) and online form (see here) to allow the reporting of tips from Canadians that suspect “fraud, collusion or corruption in federal government contracts and real property agreements” (e.g., bid-rigging, price-fixing, bribery or fraud).

In making this announcement the Government said:

“Unethical business practices in public procurement undermine fair competition, threaten the integrity of markets, increase the cost and risk of doing business, and undermine public confidence in government.”

This new Federal Government initiative is a joint effort to crack down on federal procurement anti-competitive activities and fraud between the Competition Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada and RCMP.

It follows similar efforts by leading international competition and antitrust law enforcement authorities to both encourage whistleblowers to report potential competition/antitrust law and fraud violations and to protect whistleblower identities.

Implications

In general, this new whistle-blower related initiative means that there is increased risk for companies, associations and other organizations involved in competitive government tendering that are not complying with Canadian competition, procurement and fraud rules.

As a practical matter, this new joint competition law and fraud enforcement initiative also means that it is more important for companies, associations and other organizations involved in bidding and tendering for federal infrastructure projects to ensure that they have credible and effective competition compliance programs in place.

For more information see: Government of Canada launches tip line to help Canadians report federal contracting fraud and the online reporting form: Report wrongdoing in government contracts and real property agreements.

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    WELCOME TO THE CANADIAN COMPETITION & REGULATORY LAW BLOG

    I am a competition and advertising lawyer based in Toronto who blogs on competition and advertising law and interesting legal and policy developments relating to business, white-collar crime, corruption and Internet and new media law.

    I offer business, association, government and individual clients efficient and strategic advice in relation to competition/antitrust, advertising, regulatory and new media law. I also offer compliance, education and policy services.

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