A number of Canada’s most loved chocolate bar makers are accused of conspiring to fix prices for chocolate bars and other chocolate snacks. Nestlé Canada Inc., Mars Canada Inc., and IWAL, a national network of independent wholesale distributors, as well as three executives, two from Nestlé and one from ITWAL, were charged with price fixing offences contrary to section 45 of the Competition Act, the Competition Bureau announced recently.
The Bureau also announced that Hershey Canada Inc. was expected to plead guilty to price fixing on June 21, and receive lenient treatment in exchange for cooperating with the Bureau’s inquiry.
Section 45 currently makes price fixing a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to $25 million or up to 14 years in jail.
However, the chocolate cartel members face penalties of up to $10 million or five years in jail under section 45 as it stood at the time of the alleged cartel.
The chocolate makers have already reached class action settlements totaling about $23.2 million.