Professor Jennifer Quaid explores issues of corruption and corporate accountability across three new partnerships

Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

In a rapidly evolving legal landscape where big corporations leverage their economic power and influence to avoid being criminally prosecuted for their crimes, Professor Jennifer Quaid stands out as one of only a select few scholars in Canada actively conducting research on how the criminal law is applied to organizations. As a part of three newly-funded research projects, she is set to further contribute to our understanding of how law can be used to stimulate good governance and ethical business practices, while reaching across disciplines to establish compelling new research partnerships.

Firstly, Professor Quaid was recently awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant for a project that will inject new ideas into how issues of corruption and other economic crimes perpetrated by business organizations can be resolved. The project takes the form of a comparative empirical study that will see Professor Quaid collaborating with partners from three countries. Entitled Resolving corruption prosecutions with negotiated settlements: a comparative study of Canada, France and Switzerland, the four-year tri-country project will study the effectiveness of non-trial resolutions like remediation agreements in prosecutions of business organizations charged with corruption and other economic crimes. Specifically, the project will look at cases in Canada, France and Switzerland, three countries that have a significant stake in the fight against corruption, but whose approaches have not previously been compared. The study will aim to generate evidence-based data from which to make proposals to remodel Canada’s flawed remediation agreement regime, while also building 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. Professor Quaid’s project brings together the following international research collaborators: Professor Véronique Magnier of the Université Paris-Sud (Paris XI), Professor Isabelle Augsburger-Bücheli of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts – Western Switzerland (Neuchâtel), Professor Ursula Cassani of the Université de Genève, and Sara Albertin of the Paris-based research centre Institut des hautes études sur la justice.

Professor Quaid is also a co-investigator on an Insight Grant project entitled Corporate Corruption in Canada, led by Professor Steven Bittle of the Department of Criminology at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Joining with researchers in criminology and sociology, Professor Quaid will bring her legal perspective to the project’s aim of exploring and explaining Canada's reluctance to address corporate corruption. The researchers hope to provide an understanding of the nature and scope of corporate corruption in Canada and state responses that make it possible and probable.

In addition to her work on projects dealing with corruption, Professor Quaid is also a co-investigator on a research team that has recently been awarded funding to investigate the risks and pressures at play in mass evacuations. In this instance, Professor Quaid brings her expertise in corporate accountability for catastrophic events to a team of researchers led by Professor Kevin Quigley, Director of the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy & Governance at Dalhousie University. The project, entitled Working across Disciplines to Understand and Improve Mass Evacuations: Examining Different Types of Risk and Contextual Pressures, has received a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. Professor Quaid will join scholars and practitioners drawn from the public, private and NGO sectors with expertise and experience in risk and evacuation. The project aims to partner leading risk scholars with those that are responsible for mass evacuation to develop a shared understanding of evacuation risks.

The Civil Law Section congratulates Professor Quaid on her involvement in these innovative, interdisciplinary projects!

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