Archived — Charges laid in residential construction bid-rigging scheme in Montreal

Backgrounder

December 21, 2010


The Investigation

The Competition Bureau began investigating this matter in 2005, following a tip from a former employee of one of the companies charged. The investigation is independent from the Operation Hammer squad created by the Quebec government in 2009.

The evidence indicates that the bidders' objective was to pre-determine the winners of the contracts, while blocking competitors who were not part of the conspiracy.

Bid-rigging conspiracies are, by their nature, difficult to detect and to prove to the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. Over the course of the investigation, the Bureau used a number of investigative tools. Bureau officers searched 14 sites, seized thousands of documents and interviewed numerous witnesses.

Bid-rigging and the Competition Act

Bid-rigging is a serious criminal offence that harms everyone but the perpetrators who cheat the system. It hurts buyers of products and services, competing businesses and ordinary Canadians who ultimately pay the bills. Some recent studies suggest that in cases where bid-rigging occurs, the price paid for goods or services typically increases by approximately 20 per cent.

Under the Competition Act, it is a criminal offence for two or more bidders, in response to a call for bids or tenders, to agree that one party will refrain from bidding, withdraw a submitted bid, or agree among themselves on bids submitted, without informing the person calling for the bids of this agreement. Penalties for bid-rigging include a fine at the discretion of the court and/or a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Attacking cartels, including bid-rigging offences, is one of the Bureau's top priorities.

In addition to its enforcement activities, and in an effort to prevent and detect such criminal activity, the Bureau offers educational sessions to businesses and all levels of government regarding bid-rigging. The Bureau has given over 200 educational presentations to procurement agencies across Canada since 2005.

For information on how to detect, prevent and report suspected incidences of bid-rigging, please see the Bureau's presentation, Bid-Rigging: Awareness and Prevention.

Charges Laid
Building Contracts Companies Charged Individuals Charged
Faubourg St-Laurent Phase II
  • March 2004
  • $900,000
Les Entreprises Promécanic Ltd.

Les Entreprises de Ventilation Climasol Inc.

Lys Air Mécanic Inc.

Les Industries Garanties Ltd.
Joël Perreault, Estimator

Roch Raby, President

France Sergerie, Vice-President

Houmam Nashar, Estimator
Le Cambridge
  • April 2003
  • $1,160,000
Les Entreprises de Ventilation Climasol Inc.

Lys Air Mécanic Inc.
Roch Raby, President

France Sergerie, Vice-President
Tour St-Antoine
  • June 2005
  • $2,500,000
Les Entreprises Promécanic Ltd.

Les Industries Garanties Ltd.

9201-2640 Québec Inc.Footnote *
Joël Perreault, Estimator

Houmam Nashar, Estimator

François Lemay, President
Le Roc Fleuri
  • June 2004
  • $3,200,000
Les Entreprises Promécanic Ltd.

Les Industries Garanties Ltd.
Joël Perreault, Estimator

Houmam Nashar, Estimator
Westmount One
  • February 2004
  • $740,000
Les Industries Garanties Ltd.

Ventilation G.R. Inc.

Kolostat Inc.

Ventilex Inc.
Houmam Nashar, Estimator
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