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Client Work

Acting for Rogers Communications regarding radiocommunications tower placement in Montreal suburb

Reading Time 2 minute read



Rogers Communications Canada Inc.

After establishing a search area to build a telecommunications tower in Châteauguay, Rogers informed Châteauguay in March 2008 that it intended to build the tower at 411 Saint-Francis, which it had been renting since December 2007. Châteauguay initially opposed the project but eventually issued a construction permit. The population of Châteauguay mobilized, and the public consultation process required by federal standards then resumed. The City proposed an alternative site that suited Rogers, namely 50 Industriel, but the City first had to expropriate the owner. Faced with a prolonged contestation, Rogers decided to move forward with 411 Saint-Francis. The City then issued a notice of land reserve on the 411 Saint-Francis site. The lawfulness and constitutionality of the notices of expropriation and reserve were contested in the Superior Court. Perreault J. began by finding that the City had not abused its expropriation authority in relation to 50 Industriel. She also held that the expropriation of 50 Industriel did not amount to unconstitutional interference with federal jurisdiction over radiocommunication. However, she found that, by issuing the notice of reserve on 411 Saint-Francis, the City had acted in bad faith and abused its authority, which made the notice null. The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision except with respect to the lawfulness of the notice of reserve. In its opinion, when the two notices were considered together, it had to be concluded that the City had acted for a legitimate municipal purpose, namely protecting the welfare of its citizens and ensuring the harmonious development of its land. In a judgment rendered on June 16, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada granted Rogers’ appeal. The Court held that the pith and substance of the measures taken by the City was the choice of location of a radiocommunication system. The purpose was to prevent Rogers from installing its system at the location of its choice. The measures were invalid because they constituted the exercise by a municipality of the exclusive federal power over radiocommunication while impairing the core of such power under the doctrine of jurisdictional immunity.