September 21, 2023

GATINEAU, QUE. — Canada Bread Co., Ltd. has been fined C$50 million ($38 million) after pleading responsible for its position in an industry-wide price-fixing association involving sure packaged bread merchandise. The fantastic, which was administered by the Ontario Superior Courtroom, is the very best price-fixing fantastic imposed by a Canadian court docket.

On the time of the price-fixing (late 2001 to March 2015), Canada Bread was underneath the possession of Maple Leaf Meals. Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV acquired Canada Bread Co. from Maple Leaf in 2014. The senior management of Canada Bread answerable for the price-fixing is not with the corporate.

Canada Bread pleaded responsible to 4 counts of price-fixing underneath the Competitors Act. In coming into its responsible plea, Canada Bread admitted that it organized with its competitor, Weston Meals (Canada) Inc., to extend costs for varied bagged and sliced bread merchandise, corresponding to sandwich bread, scorching canine buns and rolls. The worth-fixing resulted in two value will increase, one in 2007 and one in 2011, based on Competitors Bureau Canada.

“In 2014, Canada Bread was acquired by Grupo Bimbo,” Grupo Bimbo stated. “It’s essential to focus on that Grupo Bimbo was not conscious of, nor did due diligence uncover, the conduct previous to its acquisition of the Firm.  It was solely in 2017 that Canada Bread’s dad or mum firm discovered in regards to the conduct. Since then, Canada Bread has offered full and constant cooperation with the Competitors Bureau.

“Canada Bread is contemplating all authorized choices in opposition to these answerable for the conduct at situation. Canada Bread is dedicated to delivering prime quality merchandise and sustaining the belief of our clients. We take nice satisfaction that our merchandise are made for Canadians, by Canadians.”

The Competitors Bureau really useful to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada that Canada Bread obtain leniency in sentencing in return for its full cooperation with the Bureau’s investigation, in accordance with the Bureau’s Leniency Program. The fantastic represents the utmost relevant underneath the legislation, much less a leniency low cost for Canada Bread’s cooperation and responsible plea, the Competitors Bureau stated.

“Fixing the worth of bread — a meals staple of Canadian households — was a critical felony offence,” stated Matthew Boswell, commissioner of competitors on the Competitors Bureau. “Our persevering with investigation stays a high precedence. We’re doing every little thing in our energy to pursue those that interact in price-fixing.”

George Weston Ltd. and Loblaw Firms Ltd. admitted to their role in the price-fixing arrangement back in December 2017.  At the moment, Galen G. Weston, chairman and chief govt officer of George Weston Ltd. and Loblaw Firms, described the price-fixing and subsequent investigation as “a tough matter” and “clearly one thing that by no means ought to have occurred.”

“In March 2015 we uncovered data that raised issues,” he stated. “We instantly reported what we had discovered to the Competitors Bureau and have been cooperating totally with the Bureau since.”

Mr. Weston stated the Competitors Bureau was not investigating the price-fixing allegations previous to being alerted by Loblaw and George Weston in March 2015.

He added, “We are able to’t speculate on which events the Bureau will pursue or in relation to which bread merchandise or what time interval.”

In trade for his or her full cooperation with the Competitors Bureau’s investigation, Weston Meals, Loblaw Firms Ltd., each subsidiaries of George Weston Ltd., acquired immunity from prosecution.

The Competitors Bureau continues to research alleged price-fixing by different firms, together with Metro Inc., Sobeys Inc., Wal-Mart Canada Corp., and Big Tiger Shops Ltd.