Montreal city workers face charges over violent pension protest

Forty-four workers including blue collar workers' union head Michel Parent face charges after allegedly storming Montreal City Hall on Aug. 18 to protest Bill 3.

Mischief, unlawful assembly, assault charges to be laid against 44 municipal workers

Municipal workers stormed into Montreal City Hall council chambers during a protest against Bill 3 on Aug. 18. (CBC)


  • Head of blue collars' union Michel Parent faces criminal charges
  • Mayor says 39 municipal employees will be suspended without pay
  • Another 24 workers face administrative sanctions

Forty-four city employees face charges for their roles in the storming of Montreal City Hall last week to protest municipal pension plan reform.

Montreal police Chief Marc Parent said at a news conference Friday morning that summonses were sent to the employees who will face charges of assault, unlawful assembly and mischief.

"These events cannot happen again,"  Parent said.

Hundreds of municipal workers stormed city hall and trashed council chambers in a protest against Bill 3 on Aug. 18. 

Parent said investigators reviewed video and spoke with city managers to identify the individuals.

He would not specify the city departments that the accused worked for, but said no police officers were among those facing criminal charges.

However, a separate internal investigation found 13 police officers and managers acted contrary to the service's disciplinary code, he said.

Montreal police Chief Marc Parent said Friday that charges would be laid against 44 workers following a violent protest earlier this month at city hall. It's alleged protesters stormed into council chambers Aug. 18 as part of the demonstration. (CBC)

Those accusations centre on maintaining the image of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal​ (SPVM) and neglecting the responsibility of a police officer. Parent said that investigation is ongoing and wouldn't say what type of action would be taken. 

Parent has asked Quebec's Public Security Ministry to create an independent civilian committee to look at the disciplinary processes.

The day after the workers marched into council chambers chanting, blowing horns and tossing papers in the air, the police chief said he was setting up a special investigative group to look into the incident. 

Montreal's mayor immediately condemned the actions of the protesters, calling the demonstration "savage and unacceptable."

"The thing that I've been asking since Day 1... was to make sure that we protect democracy and that we have security," Mayor Denis Coderre said at a news conference Friday afternoon.

Coderre said 39 municipal employees — 30 firefighters, four white collar and five blue collar workers — will be suspended without pay in connection with the protest. 

"We'll go through the process, and at the end of the day it could mean we will fire some of them," he said. 

Another 24 employees face administrative sanctions.

Michel Parent, the head of the Montreal blue collar workers' union, is one of the 44 people facing criminal charges.

Municipal workers across Quebec are opposed to changes in provincial legislation that would mean they would have to pay a greater share of their pension to make up for ballooning deficits. 

The mayors of the island of Montreal's 15 suburban municipalities say municipal pension reform is necessary to reduce  inflated pay packages for city workers.

The suburban mayors have issued their support for Bill 3.