In Restaurant Canada v. Ville de Montreal, the Honourable Marc St-Pierre, S.C.J. dismissed the arguments from major fast food franchisors contesting a new City of Montreal by-law that restricted the operation of fast food restaurants throughout most parts of N.D.G. and Côte-des-Neiges.
In a judgment dated October 30, 2019, Judge St-Pierre confirmed that the City of Montreal can restrict fast food restaurants to certain areas far from schools pursuant to its municipal zoning powers and that the by-law does not constitute unlawful discrimination.
The impact of Judge St-Pierre's decision on both Landlords and Tenants is significant.
From the point of view of Landlords, commercial space within the limited areas in N.D.G. and Côte-des-Neiges where fast food restaurants are allowed should increase in value and Landlords with available commercial space outside these areas may find it more difficult to find a tenant. Also, Landlords of fast food restaurants will hold the bigger end of the stick, so to speak, when negotiating lease renewals, knowing that their tenant has limited options to relocate.
From the point of view of Tenants, particularly in restauration, it will be important to know how the City of Montreal defines a fast food restaurant. The prevalence of take-out containers, disposable dishes and heat lamps, as well as table service or the absence of tables and counters will all factor into whether the establishment will be categorized as a fast food restaurant.
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