December 3, 2015 – The United States’ neighbor to the north, Canada, has commenced steps to adopt a law similar to the False Claims Act to protect government contracts and promulgate a culture of protections for those individuals willing to come forward and report fraud. A commission comprised of individuals from the Quebec government recommends reform against companies and individuals who commit fraud and protection for whistleblowers who come forward. The commission was charged with investigating the bidding and awarding of government contracts in the construction sector, and found that organized crime had infiltrated the industry. In an almost 2,000 page report, the commission recommended:
Creation of an independent authority to oversee public contracts.
Better protection for whistleblowers.
Requirement that construction companies report acts of intimidation or violence.
Increased penalties for construction companies that break the law, up to and including cancelling their license under Quebec's building authority, la Régie du bâtiment du Québec.
Increased penalties for people who make use of so-called "strawman" schemes.
During the course of its investigation, the commission heard from over 291 witnesses, most of whom blew the whistle on illegal activities. By placing an emphasis on whistleblower protections, the commission intends to support and foster an environment where individuals can come forward when they see wrong doing. Of the many false claims act statutes enacted throughout the United States, the commission recommended enacting a law similar to New York State's False Claims Act. This is definitely a step forward in eliminating and reducing corruption.
Contact Waters & Kraus to Report False Claims and Medicare Fraud
At Waters & Kraus, LLP, our lawyers are well versed in the application of the False Claims Act. If you are aware of a company or individual engaging in unlawful conduct to purposefully increase the claims paid for with public funds, there are remedies recognized by many states as well as the federal government. Please contact us.
This article was contributed by Louisa Kirakosian, a qui tam attorney at Waters & Kraus, in the firm’s Los Angeles office. She represents whistleblowers who have uncovered fraud against the government in the pharmaceutical, Medicare/Medicaid, and government contracting industries.