On December 14, 2012, the Competition Bureau announced that it
had withdrawn criminal charges related to the breach of a consent
agreement in a waste-collection company merger due to the
accidental leak of privileged information during the course of the
The Bureau said in its statement that on September
19, 2012, it "became aware of an unfortunate procedural error,
where certain information subject to solicitor-client privilege had
been inadvertently shared with investigators." As previously
covered on this blog, on September 11, 2012, the Bureau laid criminal charges against Progressive
Waste Solutions Ltd. and its subsidiary BFI Canada Inc. (known
together as Progressive). The Bureau alleged that Progressive had
violated the terms of a consent agreement it had entered into with
the Bureau in 2010. The Bureau concluded at the time that the
merger would result in a substantial lessening or prevention of
competition in the waste collection market in several Canadian
Upon discovery of the inadvertent disclosure, Progressive's
counsel was immediately alerted. The Bureau concluded that it was
no longer appropriate to continue court proceedings due to the leak
of privileged information to Bureau investigators. As such, the
Bureau withdrew the criminal charges against Progressive.
Breaching a consent agreement is a serious offence pursuant to
section 66 of the Competition Act, with fines of up to $25,000 or
imprisonment of up to one year. Due to the "unfortunate
procedural error," the Bureau was unable to continue its
investigation of Progressive, but companies should take note that
the Bureau remains active in monitoring compliance with consent
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about your specific circumstances.
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