Statement by the Minister of Transport on the acquisition of land required for the Lac-Mégantic rail bypass


February 13, 2023                        Lac-Mégantic                   Transport Canada

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, issued today this statement on the Lac-Mégantic bypass:

"The event of July 6, 2013, which claimed 47 lives, is a tragic episode in the history of Quebec and all of Canada. The completion of the Lac-Mégantic bypass remains a priority for our government. This will finally mean that no trains will travel through downtown Lac-Mégantic.

"Today, we are at a turning point in the advancement of this project. Important steps must be made now so that the rail bypass becomes a reality as soon as possible, including the acquisition of the necessary parcels of land for the project. These lands are essential to the construction of the bypass.

"As Minister, I have to make decisions, and sometimes they are very difficult decisions. The one I am announcing today was particularly challenging.

"First, I would like to reiterate that the Government of Canada was firmly committed to reach an agreement with all landowners affected by the acquisition process. Since the beginning of negotiations in 2021, we have extended the negotiation period three times to allow landowners more time to properly evaluate their offer, to use the services of experts, and to obtain reports related to the value and sale of their property, if necessary, while fostering constructive exchanges during the negotiations. Unfortunately, for various reasons, the Government of Canada has not been able to finalize purchase and sale agreements with all the landowners.

"I recently asked the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, Helena Jaczek, to initiate the expropriation process in order to acquire the necessary lands for the construction of the Lac-Mégantic rail bypass. The request was accepted by Minister Jackzek, and a notice of intent to expropriate was published today in the Registre foncier du Québec (Quebec’s land registry) for the land parcels required for the project.

"Over the past few hours, Public Services and Procurement Canada has contacted landowners by e-mail or telephone to inform them of this notice. The landowners have also been made aware that they will receive an official notice by registered mail. This official notice will contain detailed information about the expropriation process and what it means for each landowner.

"I understand that some of the landowners are angry, saddened or anxious about this decision. Believe me, it was not taken lightly. However, we must not lose sight of the project’s core objective, eliminating trains travelling through downtown Lac-Mégantic. To make this project a reality, we must move forward.

"I would like to assure the landowners that we will be at their side throughout this process. We will continue to answer their questions and work with them every step of the way. Our government remains committed to providing landowners with fair and equitable value for their properties.

"Recently, I visited Lac-Mégantic, Nantes and Frontenac. I met with the mayors Julie Morin, Daniel Gendron and Gaby Gendron, as well as with François Jacques, MNA for Mégantic. I heard the various perspectives and reiterated that we want to continue working together in a constructive manner. I also had a very emotional meeting with citizens who lived through the tragedy and who told me how much they are counting on our government to make this bypass a reality. The decision to proceed with the expropriation, as difficult as it is, is my commitment to the community members who want this project to move forward, especially as we mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy in July of this year.

"Our government is fully committed to this project, and we will remain so until it is completed. We will continue to make every effort to complete this project."


Valérie Glazer
Director of Communications and Issues
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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