The Criminal Liability of Organizations for Economic Crimes

Canadian Competition Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring, 2014)

53 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2014 Last revised: 27 Sep 2014

Date Written: May 12, 2014


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When Bill C-45 came into force in 2004, it introduced major modifications to the Canadian penal law system concerning the participatory liability of organizations for the commission of criminal offences. The main purpose of the Criminal Code amendments was to facilitate the conviction of organizations further to the commission of offences by its representatives, to induce them to do more to protect their employees and the public. Meanwhile, recent case law developments, more specifically the cases of R. v. Pétroles Global Inc. and Canada v. Maxzone Auto Parts (Canada) Corp., demonstrate that, going forward, organizations will face a greater risk of criminal prosecution and conviction for the acts and omissions of their representatives, especially for subjective mens rea offences under the Competition Act and the Criminal Code. Although the changes made to the Criminal Code are now nearly 10 years old, it was only recently that the courts were called upon to analyze the effect and scope of the changes. In light of recent case law, this article discusses the impacts of the 2004 amendments in terms of subjective mens rea offences. In addition, this article analyzes and comments on the scope of the Bill C-45 amendments as they relate to economic offences and the participatory liability of organizations, the determination of the sentence, and the imposition of probation conditions suitable to organizations.

Keywords: competition law, antitrust, criminal law, white collar crime, competition policy, corporate criminal liability, economic crimes

JEL Classification: K14, K20, K21

Suggested Citation

Collins Hoffman, Pierre-Christian and Pinsonnault, Guy, The Criminal Liability of Organizations for Economic Crimes (May 12, 2014). Canadian Competition Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring, 2014) . Available at SSRN:

Guy Pinsonnault

McMillan LLP ( email )

Brookfield Place
181 Bay Street, Suite 4400
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2T3

No contact information is available for Pierre-Christian Collins Hoffman

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