Biz Briefs

Published January 9, 2006

Record fines levied in price setting conspiracy

By CO Staff

Cascades Fine Papers Group Inc., Domtar Inc. and Unisource Canada have each been fined $10 million for their illegal activities in Ontario and an additional $2.5 million for their illegal activities in Quebec after the companies pleaded guilty in the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto to two counts of conspiring to lessen competition unduly contrary to section 45 of the Competition Act.

The previous record fine for a domestic corporation in a conspiracy was $2.5 million.

Each corporation admitted that the illegal agreements extended to:

  • respecting each other's market share to stabilize prices;
  • coordinating a response to a new market entrant;
  • implementing a common discount program;
  • maintaining price discipline to avoid a price war; and
  • sharing sales and pricing data.

The Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency, initiated an investigation into the activities of the three firms in 2002. The investigation revealed that the convicted companies conspired to avoid competing with one another in the carbonless sheet markets in Ontario from October 1999 to September 2000, and during 2000 in Quebec. Carbonless sheets are used by commercial printers in the manufacture of forms and receipts.

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