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Review of 2016 case law in municipal law


Review of 2016 case law in municipal law

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Freeimages.com / Jason Morrison

In 2016, more than 1,100 decisions dealing with municipal law have been rendered by specialized and judicial courts. Of this number, 189 have been or will be summarized by SOQUIJ’s legal advisers, ie those with a high legal interest. In this post, I will deal with the decisions that most caught my attention during 2016, notably in matters of by-law and municipal responsibility, planning and town planning as well as contract and municipal taxation.

Municipal by-law

How to make an overview of the jurisprudence of the year 2016 without talking about the regulation 16-060, wearing on animal control of the City of Montreal? 1er Last December, the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of the Superior Court which had suspended the entry into force of certain sections of this by-law, namely those relating to pit bull type dogs. The judges of the Court concluded, in particular, that the judge, when analyzing the balance of convenience, had failed to take for granted that this regulation had been adopted for the public good and that it served a general interest objective valid; this was a material error allowing the latter to quash his stay order.

On June 22, 2016, Masse J., of the Superior Court, in the case of Villeneuve c. Montreal (City of), a declared inoperative of article 2.1 of the by-law on the prevention of disturbances of the peace, security and public order, and on the use of the public domain of the City of Montreal, which requires communication, beforehand, of the exact location and route, if any, of an assembly, parade or other gathering, but only as it applies to instant protests. As for article 3.2 of the regulations, which prohibits anyone participating in or being present at a meeting, parade or other gathering in the public domain, to have your face covered without reason, it was declared void because it is overbroad, unreasonable and arbitrary within the meaning of administrative law, and unconstitutional because it unjustifiably violates the freedoms of expression and assembly. This judgment has been appealed: notice of appeal, 2016-08-03 (C.A.), 500-09-026262-162.

Responsibility

In matters of liability, on October 18, 2016, the Superior Court ruled that the City of Montreal had committed an abuse of rights with regard to the plaintiffs, former senior executives of the City of Lachine having been integrated into the City of Montreal following the municipal merger of 2002 because, before being able to validly suspend the effects of regulations and agreements relating to their retirement conditions, a competent authority had to declare them void, which has never been done. The City was then ordered to apply to the plaintiffs the by-laws and resolution adopted by the City of Lachine, as well as to comply with the contractual obligations it had inherited from them by the 2002 merger with respect to relates to the terms of their retirement benefits. Finally, having had a improper conduct to claimants already retired by communicating to them, on Christmas Eve, by registered mail, its decision to stop applying the regulations adopted by the City of Lachine and the resulting agreements relating to their retirement conditions, the City of Montreal has was ordered to pay each of them $ 25,000. For their part, the three claimants still in the service of the City of Montreal were entitled to moral damages of $ 15,000 each.

Planning and town planning

On September 22, 2016, article 487.1 of urban planning by-law 01-277 of the borough of Le Plateau-Mont-Royal as well as articles 13 and 14 of by-law 2010-14, which modify section X of chapter I of title VII of urban planning by-law 01-277 of the borough of Le Plateau-Mont-Royal and which prohibit billboards in this borough, have been declared void and unconstitutional because they violate the right to freedom of expression. Although wanting to prevent visual pollution and limit distractions for motorists constitute real and urgent objectives, it has been concluded that the total prohibition of the presence of billboards on the territory of the borough of Le Plateau-Mont -Royal is a serious violation of this fundamental right (Declaration of Appeal, 2016-11-04, and declaration of cross-appeal, 2016-11-14 (CA), 500-09-026440-164).

Call for tenders

In the causes CRH Group Canada Inc. (Demix Construction) c. Montreal (City of), the City of Montreal was ordered to award major construction contracts to two companies that had been unfairly excluded from tenders even though they had submitted the lowest bids. Before rendering this decision on the requests for a permanent declaratory injunction, the court had, on March 21 and April 11, 2016, issued three interim injunctions ordering the City to stay its decision to award contracts for the three projects.

Elected municipal

In Gingras c. Quebec Municipal Commission, it was about the mayor of Ville de L’Assumption, the plaintiff Gingras, who was severely blamed following an investigation by the Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ). The latter filed a motion to institute proceedings for judicial review of the CMQ report. Seen the City’s refusal to bear its representation costs in this litigation, Gingras filed a motion before the Superior Court based on the article 604.6 of the Cities and Towns Act. Provencher J. then emphasized that by adopting this provision and section 604.7 of the Act, the intention of the legislator was to avoid elected municipal officials from having to bear personally the costs associated with the exercise of their functions. Although this protection regime is exorbitant from ordinary law, the fact remains that it must be interpreted broadly and liberally to be able to fulfill its objective. However, the person applying for financial protection must meet the three conditions set out in article 604.6 of the law, namely: 1) he must be an elected official; 2) the elected official must be a defendant, respondent, accused or implicated in proceedings before a court; and 3) the procedure must be based on the allegation of an act or omission in the exercise of the functions of the elected member of the municipal council. In addition, the person against whom the request is made must not be the instigator of the remedy or procedure. In this case, the judge concluded that Gingras had, in the context of his application for judicial review, the same status as he held during the CMQ’s investigation, which enabled him to benefit from financial protection. He is therefore entitled to it as long as the judgment has not reached the final stage, that is, the state of the res judicata.

Municipal taxation

Finally, on April 15, 2016, in the matter 9185-6617 Quebec inc. vs. Longueuil (City of), it was decided that the discovery of a serious latent defect which substantially reduces the value of an immovable cannot constitute an event justifying the modification of the assessment roll within the meaning of Article 174 (6) of the Law on municipal taxation. An appeal for judicial review has been filed (2016-05-16 (C.S.), 500-17-093886-169).

This brief overview shows that several significant judgments were rendered in 2016. To see the number of those who have been appealed, the year 2017 risks being as rich in matters of municipal law jurisprudence!

References

  • Montreal (City of) c. Bear (C.A., 2016-12-01), 2016 QCCA 1931, SOQUIJ AZ-51346354, 2016EXP-3873, J.E. 2016-2133. As of the date of broadcast, the judgment has not been appealed to the Supreme Court.
  • Lours c. Montreal (City of), (C.S., 2016-10-05), 2016 QCCS 4770, SOQUIJ AZ-51329190, 2016EXP-3245, J.E. 2016-1763.
  • Villeneuve c. Montreal (City of), (C.S., 2016-06-22), 2016 QCCS 2888, SOQUIJ AZ-51298968, 2016EXP-2119, J.E. 2016-1178.
  • Saved c. Montreal (City of), (C.S., 2016-10-18), 2016 QCCS 5232, SOQUIJ AZ-51337667, 2016EXP-3785, J.E. 2016-2085.
  • Astral Media Outdoor c. Montreal (City of), (C.S., 2016-09-22), 2016 QCCS 4541, SOQUIJ AZ-51324985, 2016EXP-3098, J.E. 2016-1676.
  • CRH Group Canada Inc. (Demix Construction) c. Montreal (City of), (C.S., 2016-05-20), 2016 QCCS 2332, SOQUIJ AZ-51289553, 2016EXP-1779, J.E. 2016-979.
  • Gingras c. Quebec Municipal Commission (C.S., 2016-08-23), 2016 QCCS 3958, SOQUIJ AZ-51316945, 2016EXP-2946, J.E. 2016-1591.
  • 9185-6617 Quebec inc. vs. Longueuil (City of), (C.Q., 2016-04-15), 2016 QCCQ 2397, SOQUIJ AZ-51279352, 2016EXP-1458, J.E. 2016-789.
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One Response to “Review of 2016 case law in municipal law”

  1. Richard Hénault says:

    Me Pomerleau,
    Lately, I seem to have read a judgment or doctrine to the effect that there was exemption from the tax on property transfers in the case of a sale of a building by the Estate of a father to his son.
    I ignore the reference.

    Thank you for your attention
    Richard Hénault

    Reply

    • Geneviève Gélinas says:

      Hello Mr. Hénault,

      Are you saying that this decision would have been interesting to include in Me Pomerleau’s text or rather that you are looking for the reference of this decision? In the latter case, you can trace it at http://citoyens.soquij.qc.ca.

      Thank you for your interest in the SOQUIJ Blog.

      Reply

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