The City of Ottawa is threatening to pull the plug on any gas station caught price-fixing.

Coun. Stephen Blais and Coun. Steve Desroches sent out the letter which has the backing of council. on Tuesday. 

In the letter, it states the City will consider blacklisting those companies and pulling their license.

The warning comes on the heels of charges last week against three companies that pleaded guilty to fixing gas prices.

Canadian Tire, Pioneer and Mr. Gas admitted setting prices in Kingston and Brockville. The City of Ottawa sent letters to those same gas stations in Ottawa.

It collectively cost those companies $2 million. The City of Ottawa is warning these companies it could cost them much more if caught here.

This is a copy of the letter CTV gained access to:

Dear Sir or Madam:

It is with grave concern that we write you following the news of price fixing in two Ontario municipalities following an investigation by the competition bureau. We are looking for assurances from your company that such activity is not occurring within the City of Ottawa.

For many years, there has been suspicion that this kind of illegal activity was being conducted within your industry and these most recent admissions of guilt have caused Canadians from coast to coast to collectively say "I knew it."

The City of Ottawa, under By-law 2002-189, issues licenses for gas stations within our municipality. The City licenses these venues for the purpose of protecting public health and safety and eliminating nuisance activity. When the City deems it appropriate to license certain businesses or activities, it does so for the aforementioned reasons and or for consumer protection.

As you know, the City of Ottawa is a major purchaser of fuel. In 2011, the City purchased 7.2 million litres of gasoline and 51.5 million litres of diesel at a total value of $61.7 million.

In order to protect the taxpayer, all contracts issued by the City of Ottawa include the important provision that the Contractor "shall comply with all laws applicable to the performance of the work" as well as protections to prevent fraud against the City.

In respect of these provisions, we can tell you that, should illegal price fixing or manipulation be found taking place in the City of Ottawa, we will be asking that City Council review the penalties available under our municipal bylaws including the cancellation and termination of ALL contracts with the guilty companies, their subsidiaries and affiliates.

Additionally, we will advocate for a ban on ALL purchases made from the affected companies and for the exclusion of the companies from current and future City procurement.

As such, we are asking on behalf of concerned residents and taxpayers, that you provide demonstrable assurances to us that price fixing and manipulation is not taking place in Ottawa.

Thank you to your attention to this important matter.


Stephen Blais Councilor, Cumberland Ward

Steve Desroches, Councilor, Gloucester-South Nepean

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr