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Criminal Investigations & Prosecutions

The Blakes Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment group has frequently been called upon to represent clients investigated and/or charged under the criminal cartel provisions of the Competition Act. We have been involved in the majority of the major cartel investigations in Canada and have secured immunity, leniency or a discontinuous ruling in relation to some of Canada's most high-profile cartel cases, including many of the recent trans-border criminal cartel investigations related to auto parts. In light of the tremendous demand that immunity and leniency applications impose on Competition Bureau resources, the Bureau has been scrutinizing such applications and insisting on strict compliance with designated timelines and information production requirements.

We have extensive experience defending corporations in court proceedings under the criminal cartel provisions of the Competition Act, including some of the most high-profile criminal conspiracy, bid-rigging and price maintenance cases in Canadian history, beginning with the PANS case that proceeded to the Supreme Court of Canada. By way of example, Blakes acted as co-counsel for RhônePoulenc Biochimie S.A. in a matter under section 45 of the Competition Act that was resolved through Federal Court proceedings; negotiated a resolution for Toyota Canada, the first time that a payment to a charity has been accepted in settlement of a Competition Act matter; and represented Nestlé Canada Inc. in its successful defence of alleged violation of criminal cartel provisions.

Blakes lawyers have also been involved in numerous investigations and prosecutions in respect of misleading advertising and promotional contest provisions of the Competition Act and have extensive experience litigating these matters, such as in Bell Aliant v. Rogers, Church & Dwight v. Sifto and UPS v. Purolator. We are also experienced in negotiating resolutions, including with respect to consent agreements for clients such as Bell, Forzani, Sears and GoodLife.

Much of the Firm's work in this area involves preventing problems before they arise. We do this by providing prudent advice concerning the structuring of business transactions and the conduct of business affairs, and the work is accordingly not public.


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