Ontario Gas Price Fixing: Class-Action Lawsuit Targets Canadian Tire, Mr. Gas, Pioneer

Posted: 04/10/2012 5:22 pm Updated: 04/10/2012 5:25 pm

LONDON, Ont. -- A class-action lawsuit is seeking millions in damages for the alleged victims of a gas price-fixing scheme five years ago in eastern Ontario.

The suit stems from a Competition Bureau case that saw Canadian Tire (TSX:CTC) and others plead guilty last month to colluding to fix the price of gas sold in Kingston and Brockville.

In a notice of action filed with the court, Law firm Siskinds says it wants the pump operators to refund any profits from the scheme to consumers.

Competition Bureau investigators found that gas retailers, or their representatives, phoned each other and agreed on the price they would charge.

Pioneer Energy LP, Canadian Tire Corp., and Mr. Gas Ltd. pleaded guilty to price fixing between May and November 2007 and were fined a total of more than $2 million.

However, Siskinds it will continue to investigate and could amend the suit to expand the scope of the allegations to other gas stations, or for a longer period of time.

5 REASONS WHY WE PAY SO MUCH FOR GAS
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  • 1. Crude Oil Prices

    It starts with crude oil. Although Canada may produce more oil than it consumes, the country is at the mercy of global markets for the commodity. Increased Middle East instability, sparked by popular uprisings, has lead to concerns about supply. Better-than-expected economic growth, especially in developing nations such as China and India, has also increased demand. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

  • 2. Refining Oil into Gas

    The next link in the supply chain is refining. In order to turn thick, black crude oil into useful products such as gasoline, diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, it must be sent through a mind-boggling array of pipes and tanks, heaters and condensers to sort the components of the substance from lightest to heaviest. This is a complex and costly process, and is paid for by what is known as the "crack spread," or refining margin. This represents the difference between prices fetched for the products produced, and the cost of crude oil inputs.. (AP File Photo)

  • 3. Transportation to Retailers

    Once the oil has been refined into gasoline, it must be transported to retail outlets across the country. This is accomplished through a network of 23 terminals - from St. John's to Nanaimo, B.C. -- forming the backbone of the distribution network. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

  • 4. Retail Mark-Up

    The retail mark-up averaged 7.6 cents per litre in April. This national average masks wide variation, from lows of 4.6 cents in Calgary up to highs of 25.8 cents in Whitehorse, according to Kent Marketing Services, an industry consulting group. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • 5.Taxes at the Pump

    Emily Corbett of Mechanicville, N.Y., pump gas at a station in Mechanicville, on Wednesday, May 11, 2011. New York, Indiana, Illinois and New Hampshire are among the first states talking about temporarily suspending part or all of the state and local taxes that can add 14 cents to nearly 50 cents to a gallon of gas. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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Filed by Daniel Tencer  |