Ville de Trois-Rivières v. Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, et al.

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)


Municipal law — Civil liability — Damage resulting from intervention of fire safety service during fire — Immunity of municipality from civil liability for damage that may result from its intervention during fire or emergency — Conditions for application of immunity under s. 47 F.S.A. in absence of intentional or gross fault — Whether immunity provided for in s. 47 F.S.A. should be interpreted broadly as suggested by Justice Simon Ruel, dissenting, and as held by Doyon, Kasirer and Gascon JJ.A. in Compagnie canadienne d’assurances générales Lombard v. St-Jérôme (Ville de), 2013 QCCA 1107, or narrowly as held by Justice France Thibault, writing for majority of Court of Appeal — Fire Safety Act, CQLR, c. S-3.4, s. 47.


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On June 22, 2012, a fire broke out in a commercial and industrial sector of Ville de Trois-Rivières. The intervention timeline showed that only 6 firefighters were at the scene of the fire 10 minutes after the alarm was transmitted to the safety service. The respondents sued the applicant for $1,174,045.19 as reimbursement for damage incurred as a result of the fire. They alleged mainly that the intervention of the applicant’s firefighters had been faulty. The applicant invoked its immunity under s. 47 of the Fire Safety Act, CQLR, c. S-3.4 (“F.S.A.”). The Quebec Superior Court determined that the applicant’s fire safety cover plan had not been complied with and that the applicant had therefore breached its undertakings by not sending 10 firefighters to the scene within 10 minutes after the alarm was transmitted. The court held that the applicant was not immune under s. 47 F.S.A. and that it was 25 percent liable for the damage incurred by the respondents. The majority of the Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed the applicant’s appeal, finding that it could not enjoy immunity because it had breached the undertakings made in its plan for the implementation of its fire safety cover plan. However, Ruel J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal. In his view, the applicant was immune under s. 47 F.S.A.

Lower Court Rulings

July 22, 2019
Superior Court of Quebec

2019 QCCS 3181, 400-17-002977-128
Applicant found to be liable for 25 percent of damage incurred by respondents
August 15, 2022
Court of Appeal of Quebec (Québec)

200-09-010083-191, 2022 QCCA 1105
Appeal dismissed