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To cure this deficiency, the company, and their solicitor, backdated the contracts of the newly hired employees to a date before the application to unionize.

The Law Society of Upper Canada Ontario Discipline Committee determined that backdating the employment contracts was for the purpose of misleading a third party, and suspended the solicitor for a period of twelve months.

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In practice, however, use of backdated documents happens, for better or worse.

In French law, Section One of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act of 1981 states that a person can be considered guilty of forgery when he or she produces a false instrument, with the intent that he or she or another person will use it to convince another person that it is real.

An offense of this nature is subject to trial in a magistrate's court or even indictment.

According to Section 6(2), the maximum allowed penalty in the event of an indictment is 10 years in prison.

In terms of private contracts, backdating isn't normally illegal.

Where issues of legality come into play is when the parties involved in a contract, or their legal counsel, make use of backdated documents.In addition to misleading a third party, backdating may also be impermissible where it contravenes applicable rules or legislation.For example, in the Ontario Securities Commission found that RIM engaged in improper backdating practices when certain high ranked individuals backdated options to a price that was "in the money".Backdating contractual documents can be one of the most complex issues that legal professionals have to navigate.While this issue only comes up now and then, when it does, it's important to have a solid understanding of how to proceed.One common approach is to date the document only once all involved parties have signed it and to use a date that goes back no further than the date of the most recent signature.

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