December 8, 2016

This morning, in a dispute between the City of Windsor and the Canadian Transit Company, the federally regulated corporation that operates the international bridge crossing between Windsor and Detroit (Corporation of the City of Windsor v. Canadian Transit Company), the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that issues relating to the application of municipal bylaws to federal undertakings should be decided by the Superior Courts of each province, not by the Federal Court of Canada.

FCM intervened in this case at Windsor's request and is pleased by this outcome. As stated by the Court, resolving federal-municipal jurisdictional questions in Superior Courts is not only in keeping with the Constitution, but it guarantees greater access to justice for municipalities and community groups across the country by ensuring that such cases are heard locally.

This case relates to CTC's attempt to have the Federal Court of Canada decide whether Windsor's property standards bylaw applied to its 114 derelict properties. Windsor was of the view that this matter should be decided locally by the Ontario Superior Court, as has been the case for all federal-municipal jurisdictional disputes since Confederation. The matter can now proceed to Superior Court in Windsor to determine the real issue at play: whether the property standards bylaw applies to the CTC's properties and whether the CTC has violated these bylaws.

FCM supported the argument that the Federal Court does not have jurisdiction over issues of this type and that these must be decided in the local courthouse by a Superior Court Justice. FCM will continue to defend the constitutional rights of local governments to enact and enforce bylaws that protect the interest of their residents by making legal interventions on issues of broad national interest to Canada's municipalities.

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