Competition Bureau lays criminal charges related to infrastructure projects in Quebec

January 27, 2014 — Ottawa, ON — Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau today announced that criminal charges have been laid against one company and one individual for their role in an agreement to rig bids for contracts involving road construction, water treatment and other infrastructure projects in the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu region of Quebec between January 2008 and December 2009.

Alain Courville and Construction Beaudin & Courville Inc. were each charged with one count of bid-rigging under the Competition Act. These charges were laid following a joint investigation by the Sûreté du Québec’s Service des enquêtes sur la corruption, a division of the Unité permanente anticorruption (permanent anti-corruption squad, known by the acronym UPAC), and the Bureau.

Quick facts

  • The investigation uncovered a complex bid-rigging scheme that ensured preferential treatment for a group of contractors seeking to obtain municipal contracts for infrastructure projects.
  • In Quebec, the Bureau participates in the operation of UPAC by allocating resources and providing expertise in conducting investigations of alleged bid-rigging.
  • As a result of this partnership with UPAC, a total of 77 criminal charges were laid in June 2012 against 11 individuals and nine companies for their role in a collusion scheme, mainly for infrastructure projects in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and surrounding areas.
  • 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.

Quote

"Bid-rigging hurts healthy competition, as it favours a small number of contractors to the detriment of new players in awarding public contracts. We are thankful for the collaboration with our domestic law enforcement counterparts, such as the Sûreté du Québec, as these partnerships help us better fight collusion and corruption in Canada."

John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition

Associated link

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