Preventing bid-rigging: Tips for bidders

Before you bid


Everybody loves to be a winner.

Sometimes it's by luck.

Most times it's by good old-fashioned hard work.

Just ask any businessperson.

Business - any type of business - is very competitive,

especially when bidding for jobs.

Well, at least bidding is supposed to be competitive...

Some companies try to avoid competition by rigging bids.

And THAT'S illegal!

Let's put our heads together on this one.

If you make some changes to your bid and let me win this job,

I'll fix my bid to your advantage on the next one!

Make sense?

It's illegal to submit cover bids

to give the impression of a competitive bidding process.

Your punishment can include a big fine, even jail time!

Psst! Did you see that latest call for tenders? Look,

no need for us to compete against each other!

You bid higher than me this time, so I win.

I'll bid higher than you next time, and it's yours! Agreed?

We'll make a bundle!


Or you could simply find yourself in jail with a criminal record.


So I heard you submitted your bid yesterday.

Me too!

Tell you what... if you withdraw your bid on this one,

I'll do the same for you on the next one!


Bad deal!

Think of your reputation and credibility ruined!

Busted as a cheat!

OK then, what about this...

You can bid on all the jobs in this area here,

and I'll bid on all the jobs over there. Sounds good?

Sounds like trouble.

It's illegal for suppliers to agree not to compete in designated geographic regions

or for specific customers.

One more example!

Well, how about I alone bid on this call for tenders,

and won't bid on the next one so that you get your chance?

Nope! That's called bid suppression. Bad move!

But here's a great way to come clean!

If you have been involved in cover bidding,

bid rotation, bid withdrawal, bid suppression or market division,

you could be eligible for immunity from prosecution

if you are first to report the offence to the Competition Bureau.

Others who self-report early in the Bureau's investigation

may also qualify for lenient treatment.

If you suspect someone of bid-rigging,

contact the Competition Bureau immediately to report it.

Bid-rigging is a criminal offence under Canada's Competition Act.

Whether this occurs on government projects or in the private sector,

the increased costs are ultimately passed on to the public.

Firms and individuals convicted of bid-rigging

face fines at the discretion of the court

or jail time up to 14 years, or both.

So be a winner.

Compete to win.

Do things the right way; the legal way.

For more information, visit our website.

Video length: 3 minutes, 09 seconds

When preparing your bid

  • Make independent pricing decisions. For example, do not exchange pricing or other competitively sensitive information with your competitors.
  • Seek legal advice before deciding to enter a joint bid with a competitor.

If you are approached by another business

If you are asked to discuss any of the following, raise an immediate objection, leave the discussion, and report the incident to a lawyer or another appropriate individual:

  • pricing
  • allocating customers or markets
  • limiting production or supply
  • not submitting a bid, withdrawing a bid, or submitting a bid arrived at by agreement.

Further reading