GATINEAU, QC, Aug. 29, 2019 /CNW/ - The Commissioner of Canada Elections has entered into two compliance agreements, with Groupe AXOR Inc. and Axor Experts-Conseils Inc., for illegal contributions made to federal political entities between June 19, 2004, and December 31, 2009. The full value of these contributions was reimbursed to the Receiver General of Canada by the registered parties. Both Groupe AXOR Inc. and Axor Experts-Conseils Inc. cooperated fully with the Commissioner during the investigation.
As part of the terms and conditions of the agreements, Groupe AXOR Inc. and Axor Experts-Conseils Inc., agreed to pay $248,712.80 and $199,163.15 respectively, to the Receiver General. These amounts correspond to triple the amount of the illegal contributions and also include reimbursement of a portion of the Commissioner's investigative costs.
"This is the first time, since the Act was recently amended, that we have been able to include payment of a sum to the Receiver General as a condition of a compliance agreement," stated Mr. Côté. "To have the ability to impose real consequences as part of these agreements will allow us much greater flexibility and will be extremely useful going forward. Canadians should expect to see us make full use of this new tool from this point on."
The signing of this compliance agreement concludes the Commissioner's investigation into Groupe AXOR Inc. and Axor Experts-Conseils Inc.
- Amendments to the Canada Elections Act which came into force on April 1, 2019, now allow the Commissioner of Canada Elections to negotiate any terms and conditions that he considers necessary, including a requirement that the contracting party pay a specified amount to the Receiver General.
- As a result of this investigation:
- The political parties repaid $115,958.65 in total, resulting in all of the illegal funds being removed from the political financing system.
- Liberal Party of Canada: $67,418.65
- Conservative Party of Canada: $48,540.00
- There was no evidence that the parties were aware of the illegality of the contributions.
- Each company has made payments totaling three times the amount of the illegal contributions to the Receiver General of Canada:
- Groupe AXOR Inc.: $198,712.80
- Axor Experts-Conseils Inc.: $149,163.15
- In addition, each company also paid $50,000 towards the cost of the investigation.
- As a condition of the compliance agreement, Groupe AXOR Inc. and Axor Experts-Conseils Inc. both made changes to their internal policies to prevent illegal contributions at the federal level from taking place in the future, and to ensure protection for whistleblowers.
- These new policies are subject to an audit by a firm approved by the Commissioner and at each company's own expense. Groupe AXOR Inc. and Axor Experts-Conseils Inc. must also file reports, verified by the auditing firm, with the Commissioner in 2020 and 2021 to demonstrate that they continue to comply with their new policies.
- Both companies are required to publish a notice reproducing the exact terms preauthorized by the Commissioner in a wide-circulation, French-language newspaper in Quebec and a wide-circulation, English-language newspaper in Quebec, to be published on a Saturday in a format acceptable to the Commissioner.
- Failure to comply with the terms of the compliance agreement could result in a prosecution for the illegal contributions as well as the imposition of administrative monetary penalties.
The full text of the compliance agreement is available on the Commissioner of Canada Elections' Web site at: www.cef-cce.ca.
Compliance agreements are voluntary and outline the terms and conditions that the Commissioner considers necessary to ensure compliance with the Canada Elections Act. These agreements may include a statement by the individual or organization ("contracting party") admitting responsibility for the act or omission constituting the offence. The admission of responsibility does not constitute a criminal conviction by a court of law and does not create a criminal record for the contracting party. More information about compliance agreements can be found at sections 517 to 521 of the Canada Elections Act.
The Commissioner of Canada Elections is the independent officer responsible for ensuring compliance with, and enforcement of, the Canada Elections Act and the federal Referendum Act.
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SOURCE Commissioner of Canada Elections
For further information: For information specific to this matter: Commissioner of Canada Elections Media Relations, 819-939-2278 or by email at: [email protected]