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The recent SNC-Lavalin scandal and its political fallout have drawn
public attention to an existing culture of impunity enjoyed by corporate
criminal wrongdoers, despite the 2004 changes to the Criminal Code of
Canada that intended to make corporate prosecutions easier. In this article,
I argue that the conceptual problems with corporate criminal liability may
lie in the criminal justice system’s general misapprehension of the nature of
corporate crime; especially of the distinct nature of the harm experienced
by white collar victims. I further argue that, therefore, part of the solution
to under-enforcement may be evidentiary: the Crown and courts should,
where applicable, allow and particularly, encourage the victims of corporate
crime to testify at sentencing hearings, on the occasions that corporations
do go to trial. This will increase public awareness of the harms suffered by
corporate victims and may thus increase support for greater enforcement
generally, through both prosecutions and plea bargains. Finally, I consider
the challenges to a victim-oriented understanding of corporate crime posed
by the introduction of the remediation agreement in Canada. I compare the
Canadian context to that of the United States — where deferred
prosecutions agreements have long been in use and long caused such
problems — to suggest how these problems may be avoided given the
differences between the two countries’ substantive law on corporate crime.