Major victory for private property owners in disguised expropriation case

Montreal, September 29, 2022 – In a decision filed this morning, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the application for leave to appeal filed by the Ville de Mascouche against the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal rendered on March 16, 2022 in Dupras v. Mascouche, 2022 QCCA 350.

Sylvain Bélair, partner in municipal law and expropriation, successfully represented Mrs. Ginette Dupras before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

The Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), the Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ) and various environmental groups wished to intervene before the Supreme Court to support the City’s claims.

As a result, the decision of the Court of Appeal is now incontestably res judicata. The Court of Appeal concluded that a municipal by-law that has the effect of dispossessing a person or corporation of land or removing any reasonable use of that land constitutes disguised expropriation. She concluded that the regulatory powers granted to municipalities in matters of the environment and urban planning, however broad and legitimate, do not have the effect of allowing them to appropriate a citizen’s property without fair compensation. When the owner of a property is faced with a situation of disguised expropriation, he may turn to the Superior Court to obtain compensation. The principles of compensation in matters of expropriation will then be applied in order to ensure full compensation to the owner.