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November 24, 2012

Competition/antitrust law penalties in Canada, of course, do not compare to the magnitude of those in the EU or U.S. (where fines can reach hundreds of millions of dollars or Euros).

Having said that, given that 2012 is drawing to a close, I was curious what the fines in Canada have been over the past year.  In this regard, though not exhaustive, the following is a brief tiptoe through the cartel, bid-rigging and misleading advertising fine landscape in the last year in Canada:

$12.5 million – Two companies sentenced in relation to a price-fixing cartel for polyurethane foam (January, 2012) (see: here).

$9 million – Five companies and three individuals held to have violated the misleading advertising provisions of the Competition Act (March 2, 2012) (see: here).

$5.5 million – An airline sentenced in relation to an international air cargo price-fixing cartel (July 19, 2012) (see: here).

$2 million – Three companies sentenced in relation to a gas price-fixing conspiracy in Kingston and Brockville, Ontario (March, 2012) (see: here).

$1.5 million – A company sentenced in relation to a price-fixing conspiracy in the aftermarket automotive lights market; part of the ongoing global auto parts cartel investigation (May, 2012) (see: here).

$500,000 – A company sentenced in relation to a gas price-fixing conspiracy in Belleville, Ontario (April 13, 2012) (see: here).

$125,000 – A company sentenced in relation to a bid-rigging cartel for federal government contracts (July 30, 2012) (see: here).

$124,000 – A company sentenced in relation to a gas price-fixing conspiracy in Victoriaville, Quebec (April, 2012) (see: here).

$50,000 – Construction firms sentenced in relation to bid-rigging cartels in Quebec (February and June, 2012) (see: here and here).

$15,000 – A company sentenced in relation to a bid-rigging cartel for municipal contracts in Quebec (August, 2012) (see: here).

$10,000 – An individual sentenced in relation to a gas price-fixing conspiracy in Sherbrooke, Quebec (January, 2012) (see: here).

$7,500 – An individual sentenced in relation to a gas price-fixing conspiracy in Thetford Mines, Quebec (March, 2012) (see: here).

$3,000 – $5,000 – Individuals sentenced to pay fines in relation to gas price-fixing conspiracies in Thetford Mines, Victoriaville and Sherbrooke, Quebec (January and April, 2012) (see: here, here and here).

Given that a number of other recent developments also show heightened competition/antitrust law enforcement in Canada – including Criminal Code sentencing amendments eliminating conditional sentences for some competition law offences, integrity rule changes tightening the ability of convicted companies to bid on Public Works contracts, enhanced criminal enforcement as a continuing priority for the Bureau’s Criminal Matters Branch and Acting Commissioner (see: here and here) and signals from the Federal Court that it will no longer accept mathematical sentencing submissions or automatically carve out individuals from sentencing (see: here) – it remains important for companies and associations to adopt and, perhaps more importantly, effectively deliver competition compliance programs.

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