Engineering firm to pay $4 million in Quebec bid-rigging settlement
March 13, 2019 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau
Engineering firm Genivar (now WSP Canada) has been ordered to pay $4 million for bid-rigging on municipal infrastructure contracts in Quebec.
The payment is part of a settlement filed with the Superior Court of Quebec today that concludes the Competition Bureau’s investigation of the company’s role in a bid-rigging scheme between 2002 and 2011, when the firm was operating as Genivar Inc. The scheme targeted public infrastructure contracts in the cities of Québec, Laval and Gatineau, as well as certain municipalities in the Montreal region.
The settlement takes into account the fact that WSP Canada previously reimbursed overpayments related to the bid-rigging through the Government of Quebec’s Voluntary Reimbursement Program. It also takes into account the fact that the company has implemented a corporate compliance program designed to prevent further anticompetitive activity by employees. As part of the settlement, the Court has ordered the company to take the necessary steps to maintain and ensure the program’s effectiveness.
This is the second settlement with an engineering firm resulting from the Competition Bureau’s ongoing investigation. The investigation has also led to charges against four individuals, including a former Genivar executive, in connection with bid-rigging on City of Gatineau infrastructure contracts. One of those charged, a former executive of engineering firm Dessau, has since pleaded guilty and received a one-year conditional sentence.
“This outcome shows that there is a significant price to pay for rigging bids. We will continue to crack down on all those who take part in these criminal bid-rigging schemes.”
Commissioner of Competition
The bid-rigging scheme targeted municipal infrastructure contracts awarded from 2002 to 2011, the period varying for each municipality.
The $4 million payment will be made to the Receiver General for Canada.
Bid-rigging raises the cost of products or services. Bid-rigging on municipal contracts amounts to a theft of taxpayers’ money that could otherwise be spent on important public needs.
If you suspect that you are a victim of big-rigging or have information about a bid-rigging scheme, please contact the Competition Bureau.
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