Archived — Guilty Plea and $425,000 fine for bid-rigging in Montreal
OTTAWA, July 19, 2011 — The Competition Bureau announced today that Les Entreprises Promécanic Ltée has pleaded guilty to three charges of bid-rigging and has been fined $425,000 for its role in an agreement to rig bids for private sector ventilation contracts for residential highrise buildings in the Montreal area.
Promécanic pleaded guilty in the Quebec Superior Court to three criminal charges of rigging bids on three calls for tenders issued by general contractors in 2004 and 2005 to install ventilation systems. Promécanic admitted that it had secretly participated in the coordination of its bids with competitors to pre-determine the winners of the contracts. The illegal agreements also included compensation between the participants to ensure that the contract was awarded to the designated company.
Bid-rigging deprives Canadians of the benefits of a competitive market, including lower prices and product choice" said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. "The Competition Bureau will continue to vigorously seek prosecution against those who thwart the forces of competition."
As part of the guilty plea, Promécanic and its estimator, Joël Perreault, are subject to a court order for a period of ten years. The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed that the charges of bid-rigging against Mr. Perreault be stayed. Going forward, Promécanic and Mr. Perreault must fully cooperate with the prosecution of the remaining accused in this case.
For additional information on the Bureau's investigation, please see our announcement at the time charges were laid in December 2010.
Attacking cartels, including bid-rigging offences, is one of the Bureau's top priorities. 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.
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 250 educational presentations to procurement agencies across Canada since 2005.
The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
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