Corporate investigations trends 2017

What your organization needs to know


Over the past 25+ years, we’ve seen lots of changes in the corporate investigations space. While some of the basic issues remain the same – like corporate fraud, workplace conflict and insurance investigations – the ways in which investigations are approached, and the related risk management, has seen some big shifts.

So what do Canadian companies need to know about corporate investigations right now? Here are our 6 top trends for 2017.

Changes in workplace harassment legislation. Ontario’s Bill 132, which included changes to the way employers are required to handle workplace sexual harassment, calls for employers to be fined if they don’t handle sexual harassment claims appropriately. While the case law is still emerging, it’s becoming clear that employers who don’t conduct objective, arm’s length investigations of any report of sexual harassment in the workplace could find themselves in trouble.


Ongoing privacy concerns. As data breaches and ransomware attacks become more widespread – and more damaging – privacy and security around investigations is more crucial than ever. Companies need to ensure that the information they share with an investigations company is properly protected, and that communications regarding the investigation (both internally and between the company and the investigations firm) are properly encrypted and stored.


Workplace violence concerns. It may surprise you to learn that studies rank Canada #4 in the world for workplace violence. And more senior executives are recognizing the toll that workplace bullying can take on productivity and the bottom line. When incidents of violence or bullying happen outside of direct supervision by senior staff or management, companies are increasingly turning to investigations to ensure that appropriate information is gathered before employee-related action is taken.


Substance abuse. This isn’t a new challenge, but the increased availability of marijuana, the over-prescription of opioid painkillers, and the lowered cost of many street drugs like cocaine and heroin mean that workplace substance abuse costs Canadian businesses as much as $20 billion annually. We’re seeing more businesses undertaking corporate investigations – both of management and employees – to determine the scope of the problem in their workplaces, and to help in creating policies and situational guides to reduce the impact on their business and to get employees the help they need.


Understanding data as an asset that can be stolen - online. Data security has always been important to businesses: Client lists, proprietary product information, financial details, etc. have always been vulnerable to theft by unscrupulous employees. Now that so many organizations store all of their data on internet-based enterprise-based systems which are accessed from multiple locations and devices, it’s often easier for the information to be stolen, copied and transmitted without the company ever being aware of the theft. We’re seeing an increased number of risk management investigations designed to prevent data loss.


Better documentation. With more legislation, case law, and privacy rules to follow, it’s increasingly important for all investigations to be properly and thoroughly documented, both by the company who commissions them and by the investigations firm itself. We’re seeing a trend toward standardized, virtually real-time reporting and documentation for all corporate investigations.


Considering engaging an investigations partner for your business challenges? Get in touch .