Update: International Anti-Corruption Day Recap

Open discussion at the CCEAC Launch.

Open discussion at the launch of CCEAC. Credit: Nathan Seef (Freedom Observatory). December 9, 2015

The unseasonably warm weather in Ottawa on International Anti-Corruption Day – December 9, 2015 – brought with it a renewed effort to change the climate of corporate culture in Canada with the launch of the Canadian Centre of Excellence for Anti-Corruption (CCEAC) at the University of Ottawa’s Alex Trebek Alumni Hall. 

CCEAC was co-founded by Garrick Apollon (Legal Counsel for the Centre of Expertise on Dispute Resolution at the Department of Justice Canada headquarters) and Sgt. Patrice Poitevin (Senior Investigator — Outreach Coordinator, RCMP Sensitive and International Investigations, National Division) and is hosted by the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Continuing Education and supported by the RCMP.

With a full house of attendees and key partners, including Freedom Observatory and Ethics Without Borders, CCEAC was received with an air of optimism and promise to a hall with standing-room only. 

Moving forward, CCEAC is planning on offering several practical tools and resources for leaders and their companies to utilize in efforts to

Ethics Without Borders/Freedom Observatory executive team with Garrick Apollon, Co-Founder and Project Director CCEAC. Credit: Ethics Without Borders

Ethics Without Borders/Freedom Observatory executive team with Garrick Apollon, Co-Founder and Project Director CCEAC. Credit: Ethics Without Borders. December 9, 2015.

bolster their ability to detect and deter corrupt and unethical behaviour. A wealth of resources can already be accessed in their online toolbox. Further, starting in 2016 CCEAC will be offering non-credited courses on ethical and anti-corruption best practices for both the private and public sectors.

In addition, the Centre is offering a pro bono service in conjunction with the Global Anti-Corruption University Project for SMEs and NGOs. The program will partner graduate students from the Law and MBA programs at the University of Ottawa and participants of the CCEAC certificate program, with SMEs or NGOs to develop a framework for anti-corruption within their organisation. These groups will be supervised by a lawyer, professor, or expert in the field, of which there is no dearth at CCEAC. The Centre is supported by 30 experts in the field of anti-corruption. 

There is certainly a lot of opportunity to progress in this area, and CCEAC is well positioned to provide strong leadership and education for current and future leaders to bolster anti-corruption efforts. 

Nathan Seef, Associate Managing Editor and Vennesa Weedmark, Managing Editor were able to ask questions of several of the leaders and experts at the launch of the Centre to gain a deeper insight into the challenges they face and the goals they plan to achieve.

Here are some of the highlights:

Question: “Are you worried about your certificate programs being used as a ‘mask’ or ‘veneer’ for organizations to give a false appearance of caring about ethical and anti-corruption practices?”

Serge Blais, Director of Continuing Education at the University of Ottawa

“No, we don’t want to be used…. Remember, we have a group of thirty corruption experts, the best in the field are working with us. They can sniff out such behaviour.”

Question: “How do you instill long term thinking in new graduates who are increasingly involved in startups and under immense pressure to seek the lucrative, shorter term goals?”

Sergeant Patrice Poitevin, Senior Investigator RCMP

“For a lot of people, they just focus on profit. Ethics is fluff. I don’t have to bother with this. In their excitement, and their passion of their idea, they forget to set up their parameters for long-term success….Compliance or ethics is not fluff….[Profit] is not the basis for long term success anymore. If somebody wants to buy you in the future, and you have a foundation of unethical behaviour, you are starting at disadvantage.”

Question: “With regards to a ‘knowledge-gap’ on behalf of those interested in tracking down and enforcing against corruption, how do you get people to identify the intricacies of corruption to understand it and track it down?”

Garrick Apollon, LLB, JD, LLM, LLCM

It’s all about awareness and education….There is [sic]

knowledge-gap, and there is a cultural gap. People don’t like to talk about ‘anti-corruption’…. You need to talk about the real issue. You can talk all day about the business case….but at the end of the day it is about us, as a society. Who we want to be as having core values of anti-corruption, aspiring to be good people.”


To listen to the interviews in full, click here.




Nathan Seef (4 Posts)

Nathan Seef is Associate Managing Editor of Freedom Observatory. Nathan earned a Master of International Criminology with Merit from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from York University in Toronto, Canada. He specializes in transitional organized crime and environmental harms. Nathan has given several guest lectures on green criminology and is passionate about finding ways to reduce the negative impacts of mass production. He has strong interests in issues of global governance, international law, and international affairs. Nathan is also an Associate Editor at iAffairs Canada, an online publication affiliated with the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.


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