White Collar & Regulatory Crisis Response
Corporations, boards of directors, officers and in-house legal counsel are, more than ever, impacted by a rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, both domestically and internationally. This new reality of heightened regulatory scrutiny and increased enforcement activities, along with the risk of civil liability and reputational risk that accompany allegations of misconduct requires corporations to proactively identify and address risks through effective compliance and respond effectively when problems arise. Stikeman Elliott's White Collar & Regulatory Crisis Response Group advises corporations, executives and directors with respect to these critical issues, with particular emphasis on securities and insider trading, competition law, anti-corruption and bribery, anti-money laundering, tax, accounting fraud and regulatory activities in the financial services, insurance, environmental and energy sectors.
Members of our firm include a former Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, a former Commissioner of Competition, multiple lawyers who have been seconded in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia to public and quasi-public administrative tribunals, regulators and agencies, and numerous lawyers who have first-hand experience gained through advising and defending clients regarding investigations and enforcement proceedings and related litigation both domestically and abroad. This experience, public policy insight and credibility with decision-makers adds an important dimension to the services we offer.
Our Group has experience representing clients in matters investigated and prosecuted by the Department of Justice, Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Competition Bureau, Securities Commissions across Canada, Canadian stock exchanges, Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), RCMP, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Financial Services Commission of Ontario and other provincial insurance regulators, Canada Revenue Agency, Health Canada, Environment Canada and provincial environmental authorities, and the National Energy Board and provincial energy regulators. To the extent that international regulators may be a concern, Stikeman Elliott's international experience and office network are there to assist.
Our Group supports corporate clients in a wide range of activities including:
Our team has the legal knowledge, practical experience and discretion to deal effectively with situations in which hard-earned reputations are at stake and serious penalties are possible. Our approach is highly strategic and tailored to the unique situation and concerns of each of our clients. We have unmatched experience in guiding boards and senior management through the implications regarding potential approaches to a crisis situation, and providing specifically tailored recommendations on the best course of action. We are equally comfortable taking the lead of a multi-disciplinary crisis response team, or working to supplement the efforts of a client's existing business or public relations consultant.
Members of the Group have a broad range of global and domestic experience in conducting internal investigations on behalf of clients. Our work in this area has included proactively and transparently addressing whistleblower complaints, responding to regulatory inquiries, interviewing witnesses, document collection and review, coordinating legal representation for individuals who require their own counsel, conducting early case assessment and ensuring general counsel, senior management, boards and special committees are fulfilling their duties and responsibilities as part of an investigation. We also provide strategic recommendations for actions and best practices at the conclusion of an investigation, and provide support for their implementation.
Enforcement Proceedings and Litigation
We offer significant breadth and depth of experience in defending allegations of "white collar" or corporate misconduct, having acted as lead counsel in a wide variety of contested matters before a range of regulatory tribunals and courts. Our group also consists of highly skilled and experienced negotiators that have assisted corporations in resolving matters, often as part of a global settlement strategy. We are also one of Canada's top-rated firms for class action defence, with such actions frequently following these kinds of allegations of corporate misconduct and have extensive experience developing coordinated strategies to address the multi-faceted risks posed by concurrent criminal and civil actions.
Our enforcement work has included defence against allegations of regulatory, criminal, quasi-criminal and civil fraud offences in securities, tax, competition, financial services and environmental law, among others, and the interpretation of Canadian and provincial legislation such as the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, Criminal Code, Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, Income Tax Act, Competition Act and Customs Act Integrity in Public Contracts Act (Quebec). We have advised clients during and in relation to the execution of search warrants in competition law, securities law and other contexts, as well as in executing Mareva injunctions.
Advisory and Compliance
Knowing that most clients prefer to arrange their affairs to avoid litigation or regulatory scrutiny, members of our Group frequently and comprehensively support our clients' compliance functions. If you are not yet facing a crisis situation and want to keep it that way, our Group can help your company develop policies, programs and controls that meet and exceed the latest standards set by legislators and regulators. We are highly experienced in the development and management of programs compliant with securities, competition, energy, environmental, financial services regulatory and tax legislation in Canada, as well as anti-corruption, anti-terrorist and money laundering legislation in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
In collaboration with our clients' legal and operations teams, we frequently develop and lead compliance training programs for employees and executives. These services often include audits of existing procedures or policies, conducting seminars to educate staff on compliance pitfalls common in their industry, and advising with respect to document management policies.