Pandemic fuels white-collar crime – Lexpert

Lawrence E. Ritchie

Nov 29, 2021

Economic instability during the pandemic has increased the risk of white-collar crime and reinforced the need for compliance in organizations. In a recent Lexpert magazine article, senior editor Elizabeth Raymer reports that good compliance means a reduced chance of receiving criminal charges or even an investigation if there is fraud, corruption or threats from “whistleblowers.”

Lexpert spoke with Osler’s Lawrence Ritchie who says Canadian regulators and authorities don’t dedicate as many resources into investigating and prosecuting white-collar matters as they should.

This approach contrasts to the United States, he says. “Part of this is political accountability or a lack of it,” says Lawrence, a partner in the Litigation practice at Osler and Chair of the firm’s Risk Management and Crisis Response team, noting that Canada has a very diffused regulatory and law enforcement structure because expertise is spread among the various provinces and the federal government. He has advocated for a national and collaborative enforcement approach across the country.

Lawrence says that pandemic-related delays in the supply chain can create incentives for wrongdoing and corruption as people try to jump the queue and bribe foreign officials.

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