Bid-rigging, price-fixing and other agreements between competitors — Incentives for cooperating with an investigation

Potential for immunity or leniency

The Immunity and Leniency programs offer immunity from prosecution or lenient treatment to an individual or business who is willing to terminate their participation in serious criminal activity under the Competition Act and provide significant cooperation to an investigation.

The programs are administered jointly by the Competition Bureau and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC), which is responsible for prosecuting federal offences.

Under the Immunity Program, the first party to tell the Bureau about anti-competitive and unlawful activities, such as bid-rigging or price-fixing, and provides evidence of the offence, may receive immunity from prosecution.

When immunity is not available, individuals and corporations (corporate persons) who are prepared to provide full, ongoing cooperation and plead guilty to an offence under the Competition Act can apply for lenient treatment in return for their cooperation. The Bureau will recommend to the PPSC that the leniency applicant’s sentence be reduced. If the first leniency applicant is a corporation and leniency is granted, cooperating individuals from that business may qualify for immunity from prosecution.

If you have engaged in activities prohibited under the criminal provisions of the Competition Act, you are encouraged to come forward, share what you know, and cooperate fully throughout the investigation and any subsequent prosecution. You should also seek legal advice.

Note: The Immunity Program applies only to offences under sections 45 to 49 (cartel offences) and sections 52 through 55.1 of the Competition Act. The leniency program is available only with respect to cartel offences.

Further reading