LEGAL ADVICE FOR OFFICERS, DIRECTORS & CORPORATIONS
Corporate Legal Advice and Responding to Regulatory Agencies
In some cases, a regulatory agency may receive information about a breach of the rules or regulations of your industry by you or your company. They may contact you and request more information or provide you with notice that you have been non-compliant. Regulators will often conduct regular inspections for which you receive little to no notice of. If inspectors believe that you or your company has breached one of the rules or regulations, they can issue a written warning or notice of corrective action required. If you or your company has any interactions with inspectors or investigators, you should have a plan to respond to any concerns or issues before regulatory or quasi-criminal charges are laid. Consulting with lawyers who are familiar with the rules and regulations and who understand the agencies that regulate your business is the best way to protect your business and reputation.
The proper handling of regulatory inspections and inquiries provides you and your business with an opportunity to convince the agency regulating your business not to take any action against you. Having a plan to ensure compliance to prevent enforcement action is how businesses stay ahead of the competition. Taking the time to ensure that your compliance program and policies will withstand the scrutiny of regulatory agencies is a worthwhile investment. It is equally important to ensure that your company’s management, including officers and directors, understand what is required of your business by regulators and that proper oversight and controls are in place to avoid incidents of non-compliance.
Can we be held responsible for our employees and agents behavior?
There exist provisions for vicarious liability of owners, officers, and directors of companies where their agents or employees have committed regulatory or quasi-criminal offences and they had some knowledge or involvement in those actions. There is currently a trend in Canadian regulatory law by Parliament and the regulatory agencies to sometimes pursue charges against the directors of a corporation in addition to those directly responsible for the occurrence of an offence. There are some provisions that allow for investigators to charge directors and officers with offences even if they had no knowledge or involvement in the commission of the offence. For example, there are new provisions in the Safe Food for Canadians Act that can hold officers and directors personally liable for offences whether they are involved in the offence or not.
The potential penalties that individuals and organizations can face for regulatory and quasi-criminal offences can be staggering. The Safe Food for Canadians Act has maximum penalties of $5 million and periods of imprisonment of up to 5 years. Even without a prosecution or conviction, any incident of non-compliance can devastate your business and expose individuals to significant financial penalties. The mere presence of investigators at your business can undermine your clients’ or consumer confidence in your company.
Inspections by regulators and investigations can also cause unwelcome attention. Regulatory agencies can publish incidents of non-compliance and post prosecution bulletins. If you believe that you or your company is being investigated by a regulatory agency or that you are at risk of being inspected for non-compliance, take proactive steps to ensure that your standard operating procedures and policies are compliant and that your management is aware of its obligations to comply with the rules and regulations of your industry. Our office provides effective, strategic legal advice to officers and directors in a discreet manner that can help protect your business. There is no risk to scheduling a free consultation with our lawyers. We can help identify areas of exposure to your business. We can also help provide strategic advice to your company’s management if you are considering an expansion of operations to a new industry or you simply want to take your business to the next level. Let our lawyers help you today, by booking a free consultation.
Legal Advice for Corporations and Board of Directors
You or your business may have experts or a management team that knows your product and your industry better than anyone else. Our expertise comes from our background in dealing with regulatory and quasi-criminal offences on a regular basis. Our lawyers are well-versed with the inspection, investigation, and enforcement procedures of regulatory agencies. Sometimes, even experts need an outside opinion or assistance dealing with specific compliance-related issues. Our lawyers can help craft specific due diligence plans and procedures to ensure that your expertise and technical knowledge can be applied to the legal criteria necessary should the worst case occur, or should your company be audited, inspected, or investigated.
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Seeking strategic legal advice proactively is vital. If you or your company is charged with regulatory of quasi-criminal offences, your best defence will be one of due diligence. The evidence required to demonstrate due diligence must be in place prior to the occurrence of the alleged violation. Therefore, there are significant incentives to engage in proactive compliance and ensure that policies and procedures are in place before an incident occurs. This is the only way to ensure that you have an opportunity to demonstrate due diligence. No amount of sophisticated equipment, excellent products, or stellar customer service will be sufficient to establish due diligence. Taking proactive steps to ensure compliance with your industry’s rules and regulations is good for business. Stay ahead of the competition by getting strategic legal advice from our lawyers today. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help your business.
I was accused by my former employer of interfering and damaging their computer systems. I was charged under the Criminal Code for mischief, unauthorized access and destruction of data, which was a very scary, stressful, and upsetting experience. I thought that my world was over and all the hard work I had done in my life was coming to an end. Mr. Frost's initial consultation (which was no obligation and free of charge) helped a lot to calm my nerves and comfort me and my family in trying times. His team was very understanding, sympathetic, concerned and supporting, she always took my frantic phone calls with calmness and assurance and helped me understand the progress of my case clearly. At every step, I received sound professional advice. At the end of the case, the charges were dropped. As a result, I do not have a criminal record, my reputation is intact, and my current job is still secure. Words cannot truly express my gratitude for having such amazing lawyers. From explaining the terminology used in court, to sitting with me outside the court room when I couldn't hold back my tears, they stood by my side. Thank you for exceeding my expectations, and then some.J.S.
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and Advocates' Society.