The City of Ottawa wants to unfairly keep the Rideau Transit Group under a constant threat of being turfed from the LRT maintenance job, the company claims in new court filings.
According to RTG’s written arguments filed Tuesday, the company believes the city is trying to skirt the dispute resolution process in their LRT contract as a way to push, and leave, the company on the ropes during their public-private partnership.
“(The city) is requesting this Court’s confirmation of the default, not because it intends to terminate, but because it wants leverage against RTG for the remainder of RTG’s term. This Court should suborn this conduct,” RTG’s factum says.
In December, the city filed an application asking the court to declare a default under the LRT contract based on two derailments in 2021.
In its own court filings, the city has accused RTG and its affiliate Rideau Transit Maintenance, which is responsible for Confederation Line upkeep, of performing their jobs poorly.
RTG wants the court to stay the city’s application because the company believes the dispute should first be handled by an adjudication process.
The company claims the city trying to get a court decision before going through the dispute process in the contract is “unique” for the industry.
According to RTG’s factum, “no public authority has taken the brazen position that it is entitled to skip a mandatory step in the (dispute process) unilaterally and proceed directly to court.”
The company accuses the city of acting “for tactical and political reasons.”
A judge has not yet tested the allegations made by RTG and the city in their respective court filings.
The legal dispute between the city and RTG is happening as the provincial LRT inquiry commission is poised to begin hearings in mid-June.
The Ontario Progressive Conservative government ordered the inquiry in December and appointed Justice William Hourigan as inquiry commissioner. The commission, which is looking into the technical and procurement circumstances of Stage 1 LRT, has so far identified 40 witnesses who will provide testimony in the open hearings.
RTG has accused the city of filing the court application as a way to get out in front of the inquiry. The city has rejected RTG’s allegation, saying the inquiry is happening because of RTG’s inability to properly maintain the LRT system.
RTG, which is a partnership of ACS Infrastructure, EllisDon and SNC-Lavalin, is also fighting with the city over costs related to construction delays.
The $2.2-billion Stage 1 LRT system launched in September 2019. RTG is contracted to maintain the electric rail system for 30 years.