04 Mar, 2024
2 mins read

The group fights eviction of homeless people under the Ville-Marie expressway

A legal team is attempting a last-ditch effort to delay the conviction of a group of people living in tents under the Ville-Marie expressway, but Quebec’s transport ministry says it can’t wait any longer.

Advocates for the homeless say for years the most destitute among the roughly 3,000 people without a home have called the Ville-Marie expressway their home.

But with the spring thaw and imminent repairs from Quebec’s Ministry of Transport (MTQ), they were given until last week to leave their improvised campground. Now, a legal-aid group specializing in helping the homeless has taken up their case.

“We’re trying to avoid the MTQ to the dismantle of the encampment, so we’re trying to get an order from the Quebec Superior Court,” said Éric Préfontaine, a member of the Mobile Legal Clinic.

Homeless shelters are full, he argued, and don’t have room for this specific clientele. Some have addiction and mental health issues, one has cancer, and another is pregnant.

Some are living as couples, while others won’t let their pets go to shelter.

The tent occupants are arguing that the transport ministry promised them a solution last week so they would have somewhere to go after the eviction. But that hasn’t happened.

“There was no solution that was proposed and there was no final agreement and that’s why we’re before the court today to argue on our request for an injunction,” Préfontaine said.

The Ministry of Transport is arguing that this isn’t its responsibility and that the city and the province are responsible for providing resources to the homeless.

The ministry‘s lawyers argued that important repair work is needed, adding that the small community was tolerated for years, but never had the right to live there in the first place.

Lawyers for the homeless are asking for a

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