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Guilty plea in the Quebec sewer services cartel

December 17, 2015 — OTTAWA, Ontario — Competition Bureau

Groupe Esthétix has pleaded guilty and been fined $10,000 for its participation in a bid‑rigging scheme to obtain municipal contracts for specialized sewer services in Quebec.

To date, four companies and one individual have pleaded guilty for their participation in this bid‑rigging scheme. The companies have been fined a total of $150,000 and the individual has been ordered to do 100 hours of community service.

Bid‑rigging is a serious criminal offence that harms all Canadians by reducing competition. Healthy competition shapes the market by encouraging low prices, high quality services, greater efficiency and continuing innovation.

Quick facts

  • On November 22, 2011, as part of an investigation by the Competition Bureau, criminal charges were laid against six companies and five individuals for rigging bids for 37 calls for tenders for municipal and provincial sewer services in 2008 and 2009, with a total value of over $3 million.
  • Additional criminal charges were laid against one other company and two individuals in December 2012.
  • The municipalities were unaware of the bid‑rigging scheme; they are its victims.
  • The Bureau learned of this scheme by way of its Immunity Program. Another competitor co‑operated with the investigation by way of the Bureau’s Leniency Program.

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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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