Irving pleads guilty in Quebec gasoline cartel case

News Release

November 6, 2017 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

Irving Oil Limited pleaded guilty today to one count of retail price maintenance in the gasoline industry in Thetford Mines and Sherbrooke (Quebec) and will pay a $287,583 fine.

The decision to accept this guilty plea was taken independently by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC). It follows a wider Bureau investigation that resulted in charges being laid against 39 individuals and 15 companies in 2008, 2010 and 2012 for their role in a gasoline price­fixing conspiracy in Victoriaville, Magog, Thetford Mines and Sherbrooke.

To date, 33 individuals and eight companies have pleaded or were found guilty with fines totalling over $4 million. Of the 33 individuals who have pleaded or were found guilty, six have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment totalling 54 months.

Quick Facts

  • Generally speaking, for criminal matters, the Competition Bureau conducts investigations and makes recommendations, in the form of referrals, to the PPSC.

  • The PPSC makes all decisions regarding the laying of charges, whether a prosecution should take place or a settlement should occur.

  • This guilty plea for retail price maintenance relates to the Competition Act that was in force before the 2009 amendments. Among other things, these amendments decriminalized price maintenance conduct under the Act.

  • Price maintenance may occur when a supplier prevents a retailer from selling a product below a minimum price by means of a threat, promise or agreement.

  • Further criminal proceedings relating to this investigation are scheduled in the coming months.

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