On July 30, 2012 Corporate Research Group Ltd. (CRG) pled guilty to a charge of bid-rigging under subsection 47(2) of the Competition Act. The bid-rigging was in relation to federal government contracts for real estate advisory services in Canada.
The guilty plea follows the Competition Bureau’s investigation into CRG’s activities after being contacted by the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). The specific complaint related to a Request for Standing Offers (RFSO) issued by PWGSC for real estate advisory services. In its guilty plea, CRG admitted that Louis Facchini, a company representative carrying on business as First Porter Consultancy, submitted bids, in response to the RFSO, that were arrived at through an agreement that was not disclosed to PWGSC.
Bid-rigging, which is defined in section 47 of the Competition Act, prohibits bidders from entering into an agreement not to submit bids or to submit pre-arranged bids when responding to a bid or tender call. The criminal sanction under section 47 applies if the person calling for the bids is not made aware of the agreement at or before the time when the bid or tender is submitted or withdrawn.
On conviction, CRG was fined C$ 125,000 and will also be subject to a court order.