GATINEAU, QUE. — Canada Bread Co., Ltd., which also does business as Bimbo Canada, has been put on a Canadian government ineligible and suspended suppliers list for its role in an industry-wide price-fixing arrangement involving certain packaged bread products.

The decision by the government of Canada to put Canada Bread Co. on the list comes two months after the company was fined C$50 million ($38 million) after pleading guilty for its role in an industry-wide price-fixing arrangement. The fine, which was administered by the Ontario Superior Court, is the highest price-fixing fine imposed by a Canadian court.

As an ineligible and suspended supplier, Canada Bread is ineligible to be awarded a contract or real property agreement by the government of Canada. The company in the past has supplied products to the Defense Department and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The ban is set to last until Aug. 22, 2033.

Canada Bread joins four other companies on the list: Les Enterprises Chatel Inc.; R.M. Belanger Ltd.; Guaranteed Industries Ltd.; and 3682021 Canada Inc. (Sports Max). In exchange for their full cooperation with the Competition Bureau’s investigation in the bread price-fixing arrangement, Weston Foods and Loblaw Companies Ltd., both subsidiaries of George Weston Ltd., received immunity from prosecution.

At the time of the price-fixing (2007 and 2010-2011), Canada Bread was under the ownership of Maple Leaf Foods. Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV acquired Canada Bread Co. from Maple Leaf in 2014. The senior leadership of Canada Bread responsible for the price-fixing is no longer with the company.

Canada Bread pleaded guilty to four counts of price-fixing under the Competition Act. In entering its guilty plea, Canada Bread admitted that it arranged with its competitor, Weston Foods (Canada) Inc., to increase prices for various bagged and sliced bread products, such as sandwich bread, hot dog buns and rolls. The price-fixing resulted in two price increases, one in 2007 and one in 2011, according to Competition Bureau Canada.

“In 2014, Canada Bread was acquired by Grupo Bimbo,” Grupo Bimbo said. “It is crucial to highlight that Grupo Bimbo was not aware of, nor did due diligence uncover, the conduct prior to its acquisition of the company. It was only in 2017 that Canada Bread’s parent company learned about the conduct. Since then, Canada Bread has provided full and consistent cooperation with the Competition Bureau.”

The Competition Bureau recommended to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada that Canada Bread receive leniency in sentencing in return for its full cooperation with the Bureau’s investigation, in accordance with the Bureau’s Leniency Program. The fine represents the maximum applicable under the law, less a leniency discount for Canada Bread’s cooperation and guilty plea, the Competition Bureau said.

“Fixing the price of bread — a food staple of Canadian households — was a serious criminal offence,” said Matthew Boswell, commissioner of competition at the Competition Bureau. “Our continuing investigation remains a top priority. We are doing everything in our power to pursue those who engage in price-fixing.”