Unethical business practices to watch for

Fraud, collusion and corruption in Government of Canada contracts and real property agreements come in many forms. On this page, learn about common types of unethical business practices people should report.

On this page

Bid-rigging in procurement processes

Bid-rigging is a form of anticompetitive activity. Under the Competition Act, bid-rigging is a criminal offence. It occurs when businesses secretly rig the outcome of competitive procurement processes.

Bid-rigging schemes can cause serious economic harm to the government departments or agencies involved in the bidding process. As taxpayers or consumers, the public ultimately bears the costs of these schemes.

Visit the Competition Bureau's tools and resources for more information on bid-rigging.

Conspiracies, agreements or arrangements between competitors

Businesses can harm buyers throughout the supply chain, including the Government of Canada, when they conspire to:

Competitors may agree to raise or fix prices they will charge the government for their goods or services. They may also set a minimum price that they will not sell below. Sometimes, businesses reduce or eliminate discounts. These practices lead to inflated prices.

Market division is another example of a conspiracy, where competitors allocate markets among themselves. They then agree not to compete in each other's designated area.

Visit the Competition Bureau's tools and resources for more information on conspiracies, agreements or arrangements between competitors.

Bribery to influence business decisions

This unethical business practice involves offering, giving, receiving or soliciting anything of value to influence an official or business decision. A kickback is one example of bribery in which someone gives money or something valuable to a purchasing entity, or related entity, in return for favourable treatment.

Undisclosed conflict of interest

A "conflict of interest" occurs when a government employee has an undisclosed interest in a transaction that adversely affects their professional role. This conflict of interest may become corrupt influence in the form of:

A conflict might also occur if an employee receives "illegal gratuities," that is, money or something of value, that reward a decision after the fact, rather than influencing the decision beforehand.

Fraudulent contract performance schemes

This type of fraud occurs after the contract is awarded. Signs of fraudulent contract performance schemes could include:

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