Court of Appeal of Quebec

Ville de Québec c. GM Développement inc.

March 10, 2017


Kasirer, Morin, Bélanger

Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court ordering the appellant city to pay $164,652 in damages. Allowed.

In the fall of 2005, the appellant agreed to deal exclusively with the respondent in a project for the revitalization of commercial and municipal spaces under an agreement similar to a public-private partnership. After more than three years, the appellant failed to follow through on the project and it was scuttled. In support of its application for damages, the respondent stated that the parties had entered into an implicit agreement regarding the revitalization project in the fall of 2005, even though there was no written agreement between the parties or resolution granting a contract for professional services. The trial judge allowed this application in part and ordered the appellant to pay the respondent $164,682 in damages.

First, the judge erred in finding that there the appellant adopted a resolution or a by-law ratifying the partnership agreement based on the comments and actions of the deputy director general of the appellant’s sustainable development deputy directorate. First, section 115 of the Charter of the Ville de Québec (CQLR, c. C-11.5) confers jurisdiction on a borough council respecting urban planning, but does not confer jurisdiction to enter into contracts for professional services or to perform work of a value greater than $100,000. Second, under paragraph 9(1)(c) of the Règlement intérieur du comité exécutif sur la délégation de pouvoirs (R.R.C.E.V.Q., c. D-1), the deputy director general enjoys a delegation of power not exceeding $25,000 with respect to the authorization of expenses for the provision of professional services. In addition, sections 573 et seq. of the Cities and Towns Act (CQLR, c. C-19) impose several restrictions on municipalities concerning the adjudication of contracts. According to J.E. Verreault & Fils Ltd. v. A.G. Quebec (S.C. Can., 1975-03-26), SOQUIJ AZ-77111005, [1977] 1 S.C.R. 41, the doctrine of apparent mandate is not applicable here. In this respect, this case can be distinguished from Adricon Ltd. v. East Angus (Town of), (S.C.Can., 1977-12-20), SOQUIJ AZ-78111080, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 1107, which the judge applied, because there is no contract under the law in this case, and the appellant’s municipal council performed no action ratifying a partnership agreement with the respondent. Thus, it must be concluded that there is no contractual relationship between the parties justifying the payment ordered by the judgment a quo. Finally, if the dispute is viewed from an extracontractual perspective, the respondent’s claim was prescribed under section 586 of the Cities and Towns Act.

 *Summary by SOQUIJ
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