The Government of Canada has unveiled the long-anticipated Bill C-70, An Act respecting countering foreign interference in the House of Commons. If adopted, this bill would create a Foreign Influence Transparency Registry, among other measures proposed to help Canada better manage national security threats arising from foreign interference. Bill C-70 is the government’s direct response to allegations of foreign interference and follows a year-long consultation process conducted by Public Safety Canada.

The bill proposes enacting the Foreign Influence Transparency and Accountability Act (FITAA), which would set up a publicly accessible Foreign Influence Transparency Registry meant to enhance transparency over any activities undertaken by foreign actors to influence our government. The registry would require individuals and entities that have arrangements with a foreign principal to register. 

If enacted, the bill would have significant implications for corporations operating in Canada with ties to foreign states. Essentially, anyone conducting lobbying or advocacy work on behalf of a foreign entity will have to register. Individuals and corporations that communicate with public office holders will have to carefully consider whether the registration requirement applies to them. Similar legislation already exists in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

An independent Foreign Influence Transparency Commissioner would oversee administering the FITAA. To ensure compliance, the FITAA provides for administrative penalties, including administrative monetary penalties and criminal penalties for serious violations.

Bill C-70 also provides additional tools to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to respond to evolving threats in the digital world; it modernizes criminal law to better address the impact of foreign interference in Canada and standardizes the approach for protecting and using sensitive information in federal administrative proceedings. 

The bill will amend existing statutes, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Act, the Security of Information Act, the Canada Evidence Act and the Criminal Code, and makes consequential amendments to other acts.

The authors would like to thank Miteau Butskhrikidze, articling student, for his assistance in preparing this legal update. 


Senior Partner, Canadian Head of White-Collar Crime
Of Counsel

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