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Dessau to pay $1.9 million in settlement over bid rigging on public contracts

The Canadian Press
Dessau to pay $1.9 million in settlement over bid rigging on public contracts

OTTAWA — Canada’s competition watchdog says defunct engineering firm Dessau will pay $1.9 million in a settlement over bid-rigging on public contracts in Quebec.

The settlement, filed Feb. 19 in the Superior Court of Quebec, marks the end of a Competition Bureau investigation into Dessau’s role in a bid-rigging conspiracy that set its sights on municipal infrastructure contracts in Quebec City, Laval, Gatineau and Montreal-area municipalities between 2003 and 2011.

Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell says the settlement ensures “that Dessau takes responsibility for its actions,” and that cracking down on bid-rigging remains a top priority.

Dessau, once among the largest engineering and construction firms in Canada, sold its engineering assets to Alberta design firm Stantec in 2015 for an undisclosed price and is now in the process of dissolving, according to the Competition Bureau.

The battered firm is not the only Montreal-based engineering company to see its reputation tainted by corruption.

In 2013, a government-mandated commission looking into corruption in the Quebec construction industry heard that both SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and WSP Global Inc. — then known as Genivar Inc. — were part of a bid-rigging scheme for awarding public contracts in Montreal in the 2000s.

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