36869  Attorney General of Canada v. Daniel Thouin and Automobile Protection Association

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Ultramar Ltd., Olco Petroleum Group Inc., Irving Oil Inc., Alimentation Couche-Tard inc., Dépan-Escompte Couche-Tard inc., Couche-Tard inc., Pétroles Cadrin inc., Global Fuels Inc., Global Fuels (Quebec) Inc., Philippe Gosselin & Associés ltée, Céline Bonin, Carole Aubut, Claude Bédard and Daniel Drouin v. Daniel Thouin and Automobile Protection Association (Que.)

Civil procedure – Examination on discovery – Immunity of federal Crown

In 2004, the Competition Bureau launched an investigation following allegations of a conspiracy by oil companies and retailers to fix the price of gasoline at the pump in certain areas of Quebec. The investigation was codenamed “Octane”. In the course of the investigation, the Bureau obtained judicial authorizations to intercept and record over 220,000 private conversations, to seize thousands of paper and electronic documents and to take numerous statements. In the aftermath of the investigation, the respondents, Daniel Thouin and the Automobile Protection Association, instituted a class action against the oil companies, distributors and retailers that had allegedly conspired to agree on a sale price for gasoline at the pump. For the purposes of that class action, the respondents filed a motion in the Superior Court seeking permission to summon the Competition Bureau’s chief investigator to be examined on discovery on all facts relevant to the case that related to the Octane investigation. They also sought permission to ask the investigator to disclose the recordings made and the documents obtained during that investigation.

The Quebec Superior Court allowed the motion for permission to examine the Competition Bureau’s chief investigator and for an order requiring the third party to disclose certain documents. The Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals brought by the Attorney General of Canada and Philippe Gosselin & Associés Ltée.