OTTAWA - Hershey Canada Inc. will pay a $4-million fine after pleading guilty to working with other companies to fix the price of chocolate products.

Hershey had previously agreed to make the guilty plea and co-operate with the Competition Bureau's investigation into the alleged conspiracy.

It admitted to being involved in fixing the price of chocolate confectionery products in Canada in 2007.

Hershey has also agreed to co-operate with federal prosecutors in return for lenient treatment from the Competition Bureau.

The agency laid charges earlier this month against three other companies and three high-ranking individuals within the businesses.

Also charged by the Competition Bureau are Nestle Canada and two of its former executives, Mars Canada, and national wholesale network ITWAL Ltd. as well as ITWAL's chief executive officer.

The Competition Bureau has a leniency program for the first party to disclose an offence that hasn't been detected, provided it co-operates fully with the agency's investigation and later prosecution.

"Price-fixing is a serious criminal offence, regardless of whether it is in the chocolate confectionery market or any other industry," John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition, said in a statement Friday.

"The collaboration of organizations or individuals is one of our best weapons to bring to light illegal agreements between competitors, which are secretive in nature and very difficult to detect."

Under the Competition Act, it is a criminal offence for two or more competitors or potential competitors to conspire, agree or arrange to fix prices, allocate customers or markets, or restrict the output of a product.

The activity in the current case occurred when the maximum penalties were a fine of up to $10 million, a five-year jail sentence or both.

Under newer provisions of the act, however, a conviction could result in a fine of up to $25 million or a prison term of up to 14 years, or both.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Chocolate Lover’s Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Lover’s Cupcakes recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet recipe</a> by Genius Recipes via Food52</strong>

  • Chocolate Caramel Tart

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Caramel Tart recipe</a> by Annie's Eats</strong>

  • Gooey Chocolate Coconut Truffles

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Gooey Chocolate Coconut Truffles recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Chocolate-Chocolate Cookies

    <strong><a href="" target="_hplink">Watch the video here.</a></strong> <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_hplink">Chocolate-Chocolate Cookies recipe</a></strong>

  • Chocolate Thin Mint Mini Pies

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Thin Mint Mini Pies recipe</a> by Foodiecrush</strong>

  • Rocky Road Cheesecake

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Rocky Road Cheesecake recipe</a> by Bakers Royale</strong>

  • Velvety Dark Chocolate Pudding With Candied Orange Peel

    <strong>Get the <a href="">Velvety Dark Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Peel recipe from Flourishing Foodie</a></strong>

  • Double Dark Chocolate Cake

    <strong>Get the <a href="">Double Dark Chocolate Cake recipe from Wee Eats</a></strong>

  • Chocolate Zucchini Bread

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Mississippi Mud Pie

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Mississippi Mud Pie recipe</a> by Annie's Eats</strong>

  • Warm Double-Chocolate Brownie Cakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_hplink">Warm Double-Chocolate Brownie Cakes recipe</a></strong>

  • Chocolate Dipped Clementines

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Dipped Clementines recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Salted Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Salted Dark Chocolate Cupcakes recipe</a> by Gimme Some Oven</strong>

  • Do-Si-Dos Pie

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Do-Si-Dos Pie recipe</a> by Bakers Royale</strong>

  • Chocolate Liege Waffles

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Liege Waffles recipe</a> by Bakingdom</strong>

  • Milk Chocolate Ice Cream With Brownie Bits

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with Brownie Bits recipe</a> by Annie's Eats</strong>

  • Brownie Mudslide Layer Cake

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Brownie Mudslide Layer Cake recipe</a> by Annie's Eats</strong>

  • German Chocolate Cake

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">German Chocolate Cake recipe</a> by Annie's Eats</strong>

  • Chocolate-Bourbon Tart

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_hplink">Chocolate-Bourbon Tart recipe</a></strong>

  • Chocolate Covered Bourbon Soaked Cherries

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Covered Bourbon Soaked Cherries recipe</a> by Jackie Dodd via Food52</strong>

  • No Bake Milk Chocolate Bailey’s Truffle Cake

    <strong>Get the <a href="">No Bake Milk Chocolate Bailey’s Truffle Cake recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Glazed Chocolate Cake Donut Holes

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Glazed Chocolate Cake Donut Holes recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Fudge Mountain Cake

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Fudge Mountain Cake recipe</a> by Yammie's Noshery</strong>

  • Dark Chocolate Yogurt Cake

    <strong>Get the <a href="">Dark Chocolate Yogurt Cake recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Dark Chocolate Truffles

    <strong>Get the <a href="">Dark Chocolate Truffles recipe by Flourishing Foodie</a></strong>

  • Smash Chocolate Cake

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Smash Chocolate Cake recipe</a> by Bakers Royale</strong>

  • Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

    <strong>Get the <a href="">Dark Chocolate Ice Cream recipe from The Faux Martha</a></strong>

  • Ischler Cookies

    <strong>Get the<a href="" target="_blank"> Ischler Cookies recipe</a> by QueenSashy via Food52</strong>

  • Chocolate Bundt Cake With Snicker Chocolate Glaze

    <strong>Get the <a href="">Chocolate Bundt Cake with Snicker Chocolate Glaze recipe from Simply Reem</a></strong>

  • Milk-Chocolate-Frosted Layer Cake

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_hplink">Milk-Chocolate-Frosted layer Cake recipe</a></strong>

  • Milk-Chocolate Pots De Creme

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_hplink">Milk-Chocolate Pots de Creme recipe</a></strong>

  • Lavender-Honey-Cardamom-Lemon Dark Chocolate Tart

    <strong>Get the <a href="">Lavender-Honey-Cardamom-Lemon Dark Chocolate Tart recipe from Dessert for Breakfast</a></strong>

  • Chocolate Cannoli

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Cannoli recipe</a> by Bakers Royale</strong>

  • Dark Chocolate Frosted Yellow Cake

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_hplink">Dark Chocolate Frosted Yellow Cake recipe</a> by Tidy Mom</strong>

  • Dark Chocolate Muffin Top Pan Cookies

    <strong>Get the <a href="">Dark Chocolate Muffin Top Pan Cookies recipe from Have Cake Will Travel</a></strong>

  • Chocolate Swirl Meringue

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Swirl Meringue recipe</a> by Manger</strong>

  • Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Triple Chocolate Cupcakes recipe</a> by Annie's Eats</strong>

  • Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake With Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_hplink">Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake with Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze recipe</a> by Sweetapolita</strong>

  • Caramel Brownies

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Caramel Brownies recipe</a> by Annie's Eats</strong>

  • Chocolate And Banana Tart

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate And Banana Tart recipe</a> by Give Me Flour via Food52</strong>

  • Stout Chocolate Brownies

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Stout Chocolate Brownies recipe</a> by Foodiecrush</strong>

  • Chocolate Crème Brûlée

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Crème Brûlée recipe</a> by Bev Cooks</strong>

  • Sachertorte

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_hplink">Sachertorte recipe</a></strong>

  • Roasted Almonds, Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Bark

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Roasted Almonds, Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Bark recipe</a> by whatever's left via Food52</strong>

  • Loaded Chocolate Bourbon Fudge

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Loaded Chocolate Bourbon Fudge recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Hot Chocolate Layer Cake With Marshmallows

    <strong>Get the <a href="">Hot Chocolate Layer Cake With Marshmallows recipe from Not Quite Nigella</a></strong>

  • Chocolate Fudge

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Fudge recipe</a> by Foodiecrush</strong>

  • Chocolate Fondue

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_hplink">Chocolate Fondue recipe</a></strong>

  • Flourless Chocolate Cake

    <strong>Get the <a href="" target="_hplink">Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe</a></strong>

  • Frozen Hot Chocolate

    <strong>Get the <a href="">Frozen Hot Chocolate recipe from Neighborfood</a></strong>