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Canadian Court Shifts Corporate Liability to Managers

Jaclyn Jaeger | May 8, 2015

Canadian companies can be held criminally liable for the wrongful actions of their middle managers, even when the head office has no knowledge of the misconduct. So says a recent ruling by the Quebec Superior Court, which imposed a $1 million fine against Global Fuels for engaging in a price-fixing scheme carried out by its managers.

The April 17 decision in the case R. v. Global Fuels by Justice François Toth “mark[s] a fundamental change, if not a revolution, in the law of corporate criminal liability,” Kenneth Jull, a partner with law firm Baker & McKenzie in Toronto, wrote in a client alert. “It will no longer be necessary for prosecutors to prove fault in the boardrooms or at the highest levels of a corporation: the fault even of middle managers may suffice.”

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