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Defence counsel Pawel Milczarek said the breach of the act was simply due to the company’s director, Yan Gong, not completing his due diligence by ensuring employees knew not to sell the items at those prices.
Gong had earlier indicated the pricing was based on inflated purchase prices from suppliers.
The lawyer also noted CCA Logistics received significant adverse publicity as a result of initially being charged for an offence labelled as price gouging by public officials.
Milczarek said his client was singled out by Premier Jason Kenney after the allegations first surfaced.
“CCA Logistics became a scapegoat for price gouging (allegations),” he said, quoting an online article in which Kenney responded to the company being charged.
“If you think you are going to gouge your fellow Albertans with ridiculous price increases, exploiting the pandemic, you’ve got another thing coming,” the premier said.
But Milczarek said the pricing was a reflection of the cost his client was paying to the supplier.
“The market price for the product spiked at that time,” he said.
“At the time, the prices offered by CCA Logistics were similar to prices offered in eBay.”
He said the bad publicity could take years to get over.
Lamoureux, in accepting a joint submission for a $1,500 fine, acknowledged the company paid a hefty price because of the coverage.
“It sounds like your client has already sustained potential adverse consequences,” she said.