MONTREAL – POLITICS – Recent statements and comments, mostly one-liners aimed at summarising complex issues, by the media and others in the public arena have created incorrect impressions of recent in-depth interviews by SNC-Lavalin CEO Neil Bruce.
To clarify, Mr. Bruce indeed stated the Government of Canada was never threatened by SNC-Lavalin, however, the company had made it very clear to the Government through its advocacy campaign that the implementation of a remediation agreement (RA) — also known as a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) — was the best way to protect and grow the almost 9,000 direct Canadian SNC-Lavalin jobs, as well as thousands of indirect jobs through its more than 5,000 suppliers across Canada. The company still asserts this position.
The Prime Minister and the Government of Canada are correct in noting that a RA is the path forward that best protects innocent and hardworking Canadians as well as retirees and shareholders.
An RA is not a get out of jail free card as a few commentators have stated. It is an internationally recognized tool for protecting innocent stakeholders from the criminal actions of a few bad actors in a company. The Canadian RA/DPA allows the judicial system to force companies to admit the facts, pay major fines and other penalties while setting up a compliance system and monitoring program. The agreement once reached between a company and the prosecution service requires approval by the court, which then monitors the commitments made by companies and ensures they follow the terms of the agreement. Countries around the world have implemented this additional and efficient tool available to the prosecution. Canada was at a competitive disadvantage on the global stage until it passed its own version of the DPA.
The Government of Canada engaged in a public consultation process, introduced the remediation agreement in the federal budget, which was followed by parliamentary debates and votes in both the House of Commons and Senate on a change to the criminal code drafted by the Justice Department.
Many of the stories in the media do not clearly state that the alleged corruption occurred more than seven years ago. SNC-Lavalin came forward to authorities in 2012 with extensive disclosures of what it then knew, without the benefit of any prior agreement to protect the company from the consequences of its open approach to disclosure. SNC-Lavalin has demonstrated in open and transparent interactions with the Government of Canada and others in the public arena that it has taken the appropriate steps to effect the needed transformation within the company. SNC-Lavalin is an ethically, restructured company with a completely new leadership team and new board of directors. In fact, SNC-Lavalin is incredibly honoured to have earned the prestigious Compliance Leader Verification from the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing standards for ethical business practices.
SNC-Lavalin believes strongly that the RA path is the best tool to protect thousands of Canadian direct and indirect jobs from British Columbia to Newfoundland.
“We see ourselves as part of Team Canada. We are a global champion, in Canada. There’s not many and we’re proud to be Canadian,” Neil Bruce, CEO SNC-Lavalin.
“We want to be able to address the issues of the past and be clear. We have apologized on a number of occasions for what went on prior to 2012. Everything you see are things that happened between seven and 20 years ago and we want to move on and create an even bigger, better Canadian champion,” he said. “That’s our objective”, Neil Bruce, CEO SNC-Lavalin.
A RA would lessen the tremendous uncertainty for SNC-Lavalin’s workforce and would ensure that its headquarters can remain and prosper in Canada.
SNC-Lavalin is a Canadian success story. The company has become a global leader with over 53,000 jobs worldwide.
If the RA is not available to SNC-Lavalin, the company will continue to vigorously pursue a path that allows it to move forward and defend its innocent employees to the fullest as it moves forward through the Canadian court system.