City to seek out-of-court settlement with RTG over light rail contract

Ottawa’s city council has directed its head of transit services to negotiate a settlement with Rideau Transit Group (RTG) in a long-running dispute over whether the light rail builder has lived up to the terms of its contract.

The direction came after council spent five hours behind closed doors Wednesday getting a legal update about the fight over Stage 1 of LRT.

The city had previously filed two notices of default against RTG: one in March 2020, roughly half a year after the problem-plagued Confederation Line launched, and a second in September 2021 following a pair of derailments. 

Those two derailments were among the motivating factors that led to the decision to launch a public inquiry into the LRT network.

More than a year ago, the city went to court asking a judge to rule that RTG had not met the contract’s obligations.

A hearing with a judge had been scheduled for sometime in the next few weeks. Had a court ruled RTG was in fact in default, it could have paved the way for the city to end its 30-year maintenance contract — one that’s worth more than $1 billion. 

But on Wednesday, council asked transit services general manager Renée Amilcar, in consultation with other high-ranking city officials, to instead forge a settlement with the consortium.

Council did not share any other details from their closed session.

RTG had previously argued, among other things, that the city was going to court to distract attention from the LRT inquiry.

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