Osler’s pro bono work helps delay eviction of Ville-Marie Expressway encampment

Éric Préfontaine, Emily Lynch, Marie-Laure Saliah-Linteau, Anabel Semerdzhieva

May 24, 2023

Osler’s pro bono work representing the Mobile Legal Clinic of Montréal resulted in a safeguard order on April 24, 2023, delaying until June 15, 2023, the eviction of 20 people experiencing homelessness living in two encampments under the Ville-Marie Expressway in Montréal. The order was obtained after Osler had initially secured an interim injunction on April 11, 2023. The Mobile Legal Clinic is a community organization that provides assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness.

Osler’s Éric Préfontaine, Emily Lynch, Marie-Laure Saliah-Linteau and Anabel Semerdzhieva mobilized in early March, when the Québec Transport Ministry informed the occupants of the encampment that they would be evicted by April 1, 2023, for construction work on the expressway. Most of the people living in the encampment suffer from substance abuse, mental health problems or other serious health issues that make them ineligible for temporary shelters.

As Éric Préfontaine told CTV News on March 18, 2023, “Because they live in this little community, they can look out for one another. They have known each other for several years.” He continued, “They know their special needs.”

On behalf of the clinic, Osler filed an application for an injunction which aimed to delay the eviction, ideally until July 15, 2023, to find alternative housing solutions for the occupants. On April 11, 2023, Osler successfully obtained an interim injunction delaying the eviction for a duration of 10 days.

After the judgment was released on April 11, 2023, Éric told Global News, “[The Judge] concluded, in a nutshell, these people would suffer irreparable harm if they were forced to be evicted at this point in time and that they need more time.”

At the following hearing on April 24, 2023, Osler successfully secured a safeguard order further delaying the eviction until June 15, 2023.