Resolving corruption prosecutions with negotiated settlements: a comparative study of Canada, France & Switzerland (2020-2024) (SSHRC Insight Grant)
Principal investigator of a 4-year tri-country study of the effectiveness of non-trial resolutions like remediation agreements in prosecutions of business organizations charged with corruption and other economic crimes.
This study will collect and analyze data about the effectiveness of non-trial resolution mechanisms used to settle corruption cases in Canada, France and Switzerland, three countries that each have a significant stake in the fight against corruption, but whose approaches have not previously been compared. The goal of this study is to inject new ideas into scholarship, policy and public debate in this area and generate two potentially transformative outputs: (1) evidence-based data from which to make proposals to remodel Canada’s flawed RA regime into an operational settlement mechanism that fits seamlessly with other corporate accountability measures and (2) a tri-country network of researchers and stakeholders that can be mobilized to champion broader efforts to promote ethical business conduct on a global scale.
This comparative empirical study is being conducted with support and collaboration of the following international partners:
- Sara Albertin – Institut des hautes études sur la justice – France (with the support of the IHEJ Director, Justice Antoine Garapon)
- Ursula Cassini – Professor, Université de Genève, Droit
- Véronique Magnier – Professor, Université Paris-Sud (Paris XI); Faculté de droit Jean-Monnet, droit et gestion - Grande École du Droit and the Director of the Institut Droit Ethique Patrimoine (IDEP)
- Isabelle Augsburger-Bücheli – Professor, Université de Fribourg (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland; Haute école de gestion Arc) - and the Founding Director of the Institut de lutte contre la criminalité économique (ILCE)
Corporate Corruption in Canada (2020-2024) (SSHRC Insight Grant)
Co-investigator in a study led by Steven Bittle (uOttawa Criminology). Other co-investigators are: Jonathan Frauley (uOttawa Criminology) and Laureen Snider (Professor Emerita, Sociology, Queen's University).
The overall purpose of this research is to explain Canada's reluctance to address corporate corruption. The research conducted in this project will fill a gap in the literature since there is a paucity of research that contemplates the state-corporate nexus in the production of corporate corruption and none that has considered it within the Canadian context. The research will provide an understanding of the nature and scope of corporate corruption in Canada and state responses to it by situating the corporation corruption phenomenon within the broader context -- the context that makes corruption possible and probable and which shapes (but does not determine) related legal and policy measures. It is expected that the research will inform social, political, and academic debates on how Canada can and "should" respond to corporate corruption.
Working across Disciplines to Understand and Improve Mass Evacuations: Examining Different Types of Risk and Contextual Pressures (2020-2023) (SSHRC Partnership Develpment Grant)
Co-investigator on a partnership development project led by Kevin Quigley, Professor, Dalhousie University and Scientific Director of the MacEachen Institute of Public Policy.
The research team, which comprises 8 academic co-investigators, 2 collaborators and 11 organizations drawn from the public, private and NGO sectors, brings together practitioners and scholars with expertise and experience in risk and evacuation. The project will be structured according to two interdisciplinary risk frameworks to examine the interplay between social context and risk characterization to determine the combined impact the two have on government risk regulation regimes. The project objectives are: 1. Partner leading risk scholars with those that are responsible for mass evacuation to develop a shared understanding of evacuation risks. 2. Examine what guides the thinking and actions of those responsible for evacuation, considering the knowledge we have of certain risks and the contextual pressures that are exerted on the regime. 3. Improve dialogue between researchers, practitioners and communities. 4. Contribute to training tools, such as online tests and a tactical decision game, that help to train emergency managers to address risks during mass evacuations.
Analysis of Antibody Neutralization Efficiency and Cellular Immunity in SARS-CoV-2-Positive Individuals Identified in At-Risk Individuals (2020-2021) (CIHR Operating Grant: COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity - Diagnostics )
Collaborator (legal issues) on a one-year surveillance study of at-risk individuals led by Marc-André Langlois (uOttawa, Medicine, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology) examining variabilities and durations of immune responses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
A Critical Assessment of the Impact of Canada's New Remediation Agreement Regime on the Effectiveness of Criminal Enforcement against Organizational Offenders (2019-2020)
This purpose of this study, funded by a grant from the Foundation for Legal Research, is to conduct a critical examination of Canada’s new “Remediation Agreement” regime, set out in a new Part XXII.1 of the Criminal Code. These court-approved agreements are a made-in Canada form of the deferred prosecution agreements developed in the US and the UK. They enable organizations to avoid a conviction if they abide by the terms of the agreement negotiated between prosecutors and the organization.
We are nearing completion of our assessment of the merits and shortcomings of the regime against the broader backdrop of general trends in the sentencing of organizations that have emerged since the 2004 Westray reforms were integrated into Canadian criminal law as well as recent developments that have emerged from on-going foreign and local corruption prosecutions.
Sentencing Organizational Offenders: Building a Creative Sentencing Framework (2018-2021) (SSRHC Insight Development Grant)
This project examines whether the sentencing process applicable to organizations can be better tailored to address the structural and cultural causes that tend to be at the root of serious violations of the law by organizations.
The first part of the study, which sets out promising avenues for reframing the sentencing process based on an in-depth analysis of the findings which emerged from our sentencing trends study (see below) is forthcoming in a special issue of the Revue juridique Thémis de l'Université de Montréal (University of Montreal Law Review).
Taking Stock of Trends in Sentencing Organizations since the Bill C-45 Amendments to the Criminal Code (2016-2018)
This project, now complete, was funded through a grant from the University of Ottawa Seed-Funding Program. It assessed the state of sentencing practice in Canada against organizations following the 2003 addition to the Criminal Code of specialized sentencing tools designed for organizational offenders. The study compiled and analyzed a representative sample of the written reasons for sentence issued by Canadian courts in fraud and corruption, competition, criminal negligence and federal regulatory matters.
Our findings, which have been shared at national and international conferences, have pointed to the need for additional guidance and support to make the Westray sentencing framework operational. These questions form the foundation of the Creative Sentencing project described above.