Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Arbitration between Montréal and Génieau for cancelled water management contract


Linda Gyulai reports in the Montreal Gazette here that the City of Montreal and Génieau have begun arbitration to settle the company’s $34-million claim for compensation on its cancelled $355.8-million water-management contract. Background for this dispute is described in Gyulai's article as follows:

«Mayor Gérald Tremblay announced the city was cancelling the 25-year contract in September 2009, less than two years into the deal, after a report by the city’s auditor-general found irregularities in the way it was awarded.

Auditor-general Jacques Bergeron found overspending, administrative laxity and poor communication in the awarding of the contract, which the city council approved unanimously and without debate in November 2007. His findings included that competition was narrowed during the bidding process in 2006 and 2007.

The contract provided for the city and the company to call in an arbitrator in case of dispute instead of going to court, Sabourin said.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Briefing note by David Boyd on the human right to water


briefing note by Professor David Boyd on the human right to water has been published following the InterAction Council's initiative on the global water cirisis reported in a previous post.

Particularly interesting is the brief review of Canada's opposition to the international recognition of the human right to water. In identifying the reason for Canada's position on this subject, Prof. Boyd states that:

«The more likely rationale is (...) that Canada is failing to meet its obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to water. Thousands of Canadians lack access to safe drinking water, predominantly Aboriginal people living on reserves. The federal government estimates that there are approximately 5,000 homes in First Nations communities (representing an estimated 20,000+ residents) that lack basic water and sewage services. Compared to other Canadians, First Nations’ homes are 90 times more likely to be without running water. As of 2010, 49 First Nations communities have high-risk drinking water systems and more than 100 First Nations face ongoing boil water advisories (out of roughly 600 First Nations in Canada). The federal government admits that “The incidence of waterborne diseases is several times higher in First Nations communities than in the general population, in part because of the inadequate or non-existent water treatment systems.” Many of these deplorable situations have been dragging on for years and in some cases decades.» (References omitted)

Of note is the fact that the McGill Law Journal will soon publish the following article referenced as endnote 53 in the briefing paper:

D.R. Boyd. 2011. “No Taps, No Toilets: First Nations and the Constitutional Right to Water in Canada,” McGill Law Journal, in press.