Canada’s debarment regime: Arbitrary, punitive, and opaque

Akin Gump litigation associate Samantha Block has co-written “Canada’s debarment regime: Arbitrary, punitive, and opaque,” which was published on The FCPA Blog.

In it, Block and her co-author discuss the case of the company SNC-Lavalin, which pled guilty to charges of bribing Libyan officials but was allowed a plea deal under which it could continue competing for Canadian government contracts. Had the company been convicted under the Canadian Integrity Regime, they write, it would have been debarred from receiving government contracts for 10 years.

The authors claim this highlights flaw in the Integrity Regime, whose approach to debarment they characterize as “unworkable and draconian,” and Canada’s debarment policy as “arbitrary, overly punitive and lacking in transparency.”

Block and her co-author note the “chilling” effect of “rigid and punitive” debarment regimes. They also note that such regimes “disincentivize companies to spend resources on remediation,” and that exclusion of companies such as SNC leaves taxpayers with a “less competitive procurement process.”

The authors close by writing that they “strongly encourage the Canadian government to reform its current debarment policies” by learning from more flexible debarment regimes.

To read the full piece, click here.