compliance programs and audits
Antitrust compliance programs and audits provide an excellent opportunity for companies and trade associations to prevent or identify competition law violations, and also uncover circumstances appropriate for companies to take more aggressive competitive actions. A small investment can reduce the risk of prolonged and costly investigations and proceedings under the Competition Act, and provide opportunities to receive immunity or lenient treatment if a violation is detected.
Our lawyers help clients develop compliance strategies that protect against business risks, meet the scrutiny of government authorities, and offer proactive protection in an increasingly harsh competitive and regulatory environment. Effective compliance programs are often the foundation for helping us effectively represent clients in obtaining merger clearances, advertising reviews and a wide range of advisory opinions from the Competition Bureau. They are also crucial in helping us make presentations and submissions to federal and provincial government departments and in representing clients who are the subject of government searches or other inquiries.
Customizing each compliance program to suit the nature of the client's business, we prepare, review and implement procedures that generally include:
- An initial "needs assessment" of compliance with the Competition Act
- Concise and up-to-date written guidelines
- Effective records collection and retention programs
- On-site group seminars addressing real and hypothetical situations
In compliance audits, we review relevant documents and interview company officials to determine whether past business practices have created legal exposure under the Competition Act. We can tailor the scope of the audit to areas of the organization (for example, sales and marketing) and types of conduct (for example, conspiracy and bid-rigging) most likely to involve serious risks.
Our Competition Group has hosted a seminar on Managing Competition Risks with a discussion about promoting competition law compliance, detecting competition law deviations, responding to Competition Bureau investigations, and defending competition-based litigation. Please click here to request a video presentation of this seminar.