Canadian Competition Bureau fines Laval-based CIMA+ $3.2 million

Laval-based CIMA+ civil engineering announced on Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with the Competition Bureau of Canada for the settlement of a dispute with CBC regarding anti-competitive activities carried out in the early 2000s involving several players in the engineering industry.

The agreement provides for the payment of a $3.2 million fine by CIMA+. Under the settlement, no charges are brought against the firm.

“Over the past few years, CIMA+ has made considerable efforts to regain the trust of markets and public organizations,” CIMA+ said in a statement without elaborating.

However, CIMA+ was one of several civil engineering firms in Quebec whose names came up during testimony given to the Charbonneau Commission regarding bid-rigging.

“Since the early signs of allegations, the firm’s new management team has taken the necessary steps to regularize the situation.”

The company, which is the anchor tenant at a high-rise office building across the street from Laval city hall, said that in addition to renewing its senior management team, it implemented a new governance, with a board of directors comprised of several independent members.

CIMA+ said it also enrolled in the Quebec government’s voluntary reimbursement program and that it has been continously collaborating with regulatory authorities.

“The signature of this agreement, combined with the fact that strict measures in terms of ethics and integrity have been implemented over the past few years, allows for turning the page and looking forward,” said the company.

In a statement issued by the CBC, the federal agency said the settlement ends the competition bureau’s investigation of CIMA+’s role in a bid-rigging scheme that targeted municipal contracts in Quebec City, Montreal, Laval, St-Eustache and Gatineau between 2003 and 2011.

“There is a price to be paid by those who defraud taxpayers by rigging bids on municipal contracts,” said Matthew Boswell, the bureau’s Commissioner of Competition.

“This latest settlement is a reminder that we will continue to pursue all those involved in such criminal schemes.”

The CBC said CIMA+’s payment was the sixth settlement resulting from the bureau’s ongoing investigation.

CIMA+ and five other engineering firms were ordered to pay a total of $12,050,000 for their respective roles in the bid-rigging scheme. The five other firms were: