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New integrity regime will add 'flexibility' to procurement bans: minister

Public Services and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons, Tuesday, February 26, 2019 in Ottawa. Qualtrough says the Trudeau government wants to add flexibility to its integrity regime for corporate wrongdoing - a change that could help beleaguered SNC-Lavalin avoid a lengthy ban from bidding for public contracts.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Canada’s minister in charge of procurement says the Trudeau government wants its integrity regime for corporate wrongdoing to be more flexible — a change that could help beleaguered SNC-Lavalin.

The engineering and construction giant faces corruption and fraud charges over bribery allegations while pursuing business in Libya and, if the company is convicted, the new integrity regime could reduce the punishment it faces.

Carla Qualtrough says proposed changes to the federal government’s integrity rules were brought forward after hearing from industry players who felt the existing tool was too rigid.

The current regime automatically disqualifies most offenders from getting federal contracts for 10 years, though the period is sometimes reducible to five years.  

Qualtrough says the updated policy would still carry a potential ban from federal contracts of up to a decade, depending on a number of factors including the severity of the transgression, but much shorter periods would be allowed.

Speaking to a parliamentary committee, Qualtrough said the new policy will be finalized in four to six weeks and will cover a wider range of offences.

 

The Canadian Press