Montréal assists CDPQ Infra Inc. and Projet REM s.e.c. in dismissing a motion to authorize a class action related to the temporary shutdown of the Mount Royal tunnel

May 12, 2020

Client: CDPQ Infra Inc. and Projet REM s.e.c.

Our Montréal office assisted CDPQ Infra Inc. and Projet REM s.e.c. in dismissing a motion to authorize a class action that Ms. Magali Barré, a resident of Laval, had filed against our client, in addition to Exo, ARTM and the Attorney General of Québec. The motion was dismissed on April 1, 2020.

The construction of the REM (Réseau express métropolitain), Québec’s largest public transit infrastructure project since the Montréal subway, will require the modernization and temporary shutdown of the Mount Royal tunnel, thus suspending the passage of commuter trains under the Mount Royal until the REM’s operation begins. In order to alleviate this temporary shutdown, mitigation measures of almost C$200m were announced with a view to maintain a competitive public transit offer to commuter train users that will be affected.

In her motion on behalf of some of the users of the Mascouche and Deux-Montagnes train lines, Ms. Barré submitted that the mitigation measures were insufficient because the time spent commuting to her work in downtown Montréal would be increased regardless.

The Superior Court’s judgment accepted the Defendants’ arguments and ruled that the facts alleged by Ms. Barré could not support the conclusions she sought. After analyzing the decrees and agreements concerning the REM, Justice Pierre-C. Gagnon confirmed that CDPQ Infra Inc. – as well as Exo – did not bear obligations regarding the management of mitigation measures with respect to the consequences flowing from the REM’s construction.

In regard to Projet REM s.e.c. and other Defendants, the Superior Court found in particular that Ms. Barré had not successfully identified any civil fault and had instead merely complained about the insufficiency of the mitigation measures offered to her: “One does not demonstrate a civil fault by blaming public authorities for not doing enough. Rather, one ought to identify a legal duty that applies to them and the violation of such a duty.” [Our translation.]

The team included Jean G. Bertrand, Ad. E., Andres C. Garin and Jean-Christophe Martel.