Notice of Motion to Council to call for a judicial inquiry on the LRT

On September 22, 2021, I tabled a Notice of Motion, seconded by Councillor Carol Anne Meehan, calling for a judicial inquiry into the contracts and management of Ottawa's problem LRT system. The motion should be discussed and voted on by City Council on October 13, 2021.

Item / Article: Notices of Motion for Consideration at Subsequent Meeting

Re: Judicial Inquiry

Moved by / Motion de: Councillor C. McKenney
Seconded by / Appuyée par: Councillor C. A. Meehan

WHEREAS on December 19th, 2012, Council voted unanimously in favour of
awarding a $2.3-billion construction contract to the Rideau Transit Group (RTG)
to build the City’s east-west Light Rail Transit (LRT) system; and

WHEREAS in 2018 and 2019, RTG missed at least four deadlines to “handover”
the LRT system to the City; and
WHEREAS the LRT system was finally accepted by City staff and open the
residents on September 14, 2019; and

WHEREAS, over the last two years, there have been numerous reliability issues
and costly setbacks related to the City’s LRT system, including problems with the
automated doors, systems integration, electrical failures, switch heater failures,
wheel issues and brake problems, in addition to two derailments; and

WHEREAS, although City Council is exercising its rights under the Project
Agreement, much of that work is necessarily confidential to protect the City’s
interests, there is a legislative instrument in the Municipal Act, 2001 that Council
can use to provide itself and the public with a truly independent review that will
determine what has happened with the City’s much-needed and very costly light
rail system and why, as well as what we, as City Council, should do to ensure it
doesn’t happen again; and

WHEREAS Section 274 of the Municipal Act, 2001, expressly provides a municipal
council with the statutory authority to request by resolution, that a Judge of the
Superior Court of Justice shall:

a) Investigate any supposed breach of trust or other misconduct of a member
of council, an employee of the municipality or a person having a contract
with the municipality in relation to the duties or obligations of that person
to the municipality;

b) Inquire into any matter connected with the good government of the
municipality; and/or

c) Inquire into the conduct of any part of the public business of the
municipality; and

WHEREAS the mandatory legal procedures to summon witnesses and to give
evidence on oath or an affirmation for such a judicial inquiry are set out in
Section 33 of the Public Inquiries Act, 2009; and

WHEREAS the Judge “may engage [legal] counsel and other persons to assist in
the investigation or inquiry”; and

WHEREAS the “Council may hire [legal] counsel to represent the municipality”;

WHEREAS “any person whose conduct is called into question in the investigation
or inquiry may be represented by [legal] counsel”; and
WHEREAS the Judge “shall report the results of the investigation or inquiry to
the council as soon as practical”; and

WHEREAS the residents of Ottawa both require and deserve to know the
complete and unvarnished truth of how and why their Confederation Line LRT
transit system is now the City’s largest, flawed capital project;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT City Council approve the following:

1. That a judicial inquiry be formally requested to be conducted pursuant to
Section 274 of the Municipal Act, 2001, which authorizes a Judge of the
Superior Court of Justice to investigate or inquire into any matter regarding
a supposed breach of trust or misconduct by a Member of Council, a City
employee or any person having a contract with the City of Ottawa, or to any
matter connected to the good government or the conduct of any part of the
City’s public business; and

2. That the Honourable Geoffrey B. Morawetz, Chief Justice of the Superior
Court of Ontario, be requested to designate a Judge of the Superior Court
of Justice for this statutory inquiry and the Judge so designated as the
Commissioner be authorized to conduct the inquiry as follows:

a) To obtain, bearing in mind the cost and principles of proportionality,
all records and documents necessary to investigate and understand
the following:

i. The facts and sequence of events from 2012 to the present
regarding the approvals, development, costs, timelines and
operation of the City’s LRT system;

ii. The nature, extent and application of the delegation of
authority provided to City staff in all of these matters;

b) Having conducted the documentary and records review to determine
what, if any, public hearings should be held into the matters
designated for this inquiry; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Terms of Reference of the judicial inquiry
shall include: to inquire into all aspects of the LRT transit system as it relates to
the good government of the municipality, or the conduct of its public business,
including any impacts, financial or otherwise, on the residents and taxpayers of
the City; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Judge, in conducting this inquiry make any
recommendations that they consider appropriate and in the public interest as a
result of the inquiry; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Judge, in conducting this inquiry, is
empowered to ask any questions which they consider as necessary to obtain a
complete understanding of these matters including:

1. Did Council maintain sufficient oversight of the LRT transit project?;

2. Was the delegation of authority provided by Council to City staff

3. Did Council receive sufficient, independent expert advice on the LRT
transit project, including the comprehensive procurement processes and
any criteria or factors used?; and

4. Did those processes or criteria serve the public interest of the residents of
the City of Ottawa.

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