In the recently released tape the government was pressuring the attorney general not to prosecute SNC-Lavalin because of potential job loss and all that. The figure of 9000 jobs was mentioned at one point (if you listen to the tape).

Are there examples of Canadian judges/juries closing down entire firms for violating bribery laws? Or giving them fines so big as to cause that?

Or is it just hyperbole?

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    As I understood there also were potential criminal charges. I don't recollect the details, but Vox covered the scandal in a recent podcast (transcipt). Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


So it seems nobody really knows that, or those who know don't speak:

ReNew Canada, which covers public infrastructure in the country, says that while a conviction would hit the firm's bottom line, there's no clear indication those jobs would disappear from the Canadian marketplace.

In a series of interviews this week, SNC-Lavalin's CEO warned that there could be some risk to jobs though gave no clear figures.

Penny Collenette, with the University of Ottawa's law faculty and a former Liberal senior political aide, told the BBC the job loss defence by the prime minister is "one piece of evidence that's troubling people".

She added: "We seem to lack evidence about whether or not these 9,000 jobs are really going to be lost. We don't know exactly where that narrative came from," she said.

In the transcript indicated by Denis, there's some hint how that might go, but it seems other (above) don't quite buy:

So we're starting to get a clearer picture of what his motivation might have been. And it looks like it's to save the jobs involved in all of this. So SNC employs 9000 Canadians and a whole bunch of other ones indirectly. And it looks like they had been threatening to move their headquarters let's say away from Quebec or move jobs away from Canada because as a consequence of being criminally convicted, this company would be banned from bidding on any federal infrastructure projects and that's like a big portion of their business. So the way in which the Prime Minister at least has framed it so far is that he was he was motivated to pursue this you know get this case to go away to save the company.

The latter point (federal bidding ban) is brought by a journalist, as far as I can tell, Vassy Kapelos from the CBC. But it seems there's plenty of contrary opinion on that issus of the ban:

Canada’s recent free trade deal with the EU allows European companies to bid on Canadian government contracts, potentially opening a door to SNC-Lavalin through subsidiaries, such as the London-based WS Atkins, that are not listed in the criminal case, analyst Derek Spronck of RBC Dominion Securities said in a research note.

Other experts say that even if the company shifts its focus further abroad, a criminal conviction in Canada could land it on blacklists in other countries.

In Canada, the restriction would apply to contracts that are “issued by a federal department or agency and contain the integrity provisions,” Public Services and Procurement Canada said in an email.

Provincial or municipal contracts that happen to receive federal funding would not be affected, according to According to Infrastructure Canada, in an email.

One possible workaround lies in the public services minister having the power to reduce or waive bidding bans under certain circumstances, said international trade lawyer Lawrence Herman.

“This is not a law but rather a policy under the government’s integrity regime,” he said in an email.

Moreover, the government is now considering changes to those ethical procurement rules, with Public Services holding a month-long public consultation last fall on a proposed “ineligibility and suspension policy” that would give officials more flexibility to set the ban period.

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