Montreal will have to pay nearly $2 million to a snow removal contractor it shunned despite its competitive prices, the Quebec Court of Appeal has just ruled.

Twice, in 2018 and 2020, the City preferred to reject the winning bids from the TMD company for snow transport lots and instead negotiate by mutual agreement with the Transvrac company. It was to the latter that she entrusted major contracts for the borough of Ville-Marie.

“The City failed in its ‘legal and contractual obligations, it is neither transparent nor fair, and trades its contracts'”, has just ruled the Court of Appeal, citing the decision of the Superior Court challenged by Montreal. “Relying on two methods of contract award simultaneously is clearly inconsistent with the purpose of the public tendering process. »

The City could have canceled the calls for tenders in which TMD had participated, then negotiated with Transvrac, but it could not carry out the two operations simultaneously as it did, ruled justice.

The $1.99 million award obtained against the City represents the profits TMD would have made had the contracts been awarded to it.

The decision does not explain the reasons why the City of Montreal acted in this way. A TVA article dated 2019 reports that the company had attracted thousands of dollars in fines and thousands of complaints from citizens because of its poorly done work in the east end of Montreal. “In the middle of winter, it’s unfortunately inconceivable to change supplier, we can’t afford to have a period of uncertainty,” said the mayor of the borough of Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles at the time. , Caroline Bourgeois. TMD defended itself by arguing the labor shortage.

In its decision, the court also notes that the City chose to deprive TMD of the contract even though its trucks were equipped with pedestrian protection side bars, while Transvrac refused to install them. The company was therefore unable to participate in the tenders.

Through the voice of his lawyer, TMD did not want to comment on his legal victory.

“The City’s Legal Affairs Department is analyzing the options at this stage,” City of Montreal publicist Gonzalo Nuñez said by email. In this context, the City of Montreal will not make any comments. »