Alarmed by McGill study, citizens group wants to fight air pollution at Trudeau Airport, along with noise

A group of Montreal homeowners who has taken its fight against airplane noise to the courts is seeking leave to launch a second class-action suit, this one against air pollution caused by airline traffic.

Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau intends to launch 2nd class-action suit due to heavy metals study found in air

Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau said pollution caused by air traffic is 'a major concern,' so members were keenly interested when a recent McGill study found high levels of airborne nanoparticles containing heavy metals at the airport. (Daniel Slim/Getty )

A group of Montreal homeowners who live along the flight paths of Trudeau International Airport is seeking leave to launch a second class-action suit to fight air pollution caused by airline traffic.

The same citizens' group, Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau, already has a lawsuit before the courts, alleging noise caused by airplanes flying over their homes is ruining their quality of life.

A recent McGill University study found a high number of airborne particles floating around the airport grounds — including nanoparticles of heavy metals that are harmful to human health.

"This is another major concern of our members, and it has been since our foundation," said Pierre Lachapelle, the group's president. 

In an update on the group's first lawsuit, approved last April, Lachapelle said they are seeking a series of declaratory judgments on curfew times and public consultations on a planned airport expansion, which will include 15 new gates.

"The citizens are telling us they want to be able to sleep at night and benefit from the daily rest that's essential to their health," said Lachapelle in a statement.

Right now, planes are not allowed to land at Trudeau airport between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. and take off is prohibited between midnight and 7 a.m.

According to the Pollués, exemptions to this curfew are only supposed to be made for medical emergencies, delays beyond the carrier's control and during bad weather conditions.

"The practice seems much more expansive," the group's statement reads.

The Pollués also want to ensure there are public consultations for residents affected by the proposed $2.5 billion expansion and the increased air traffic that could accompany it.

The lawsuit targets the airport authority, Aéroports de Montréal, as well as the federal Ministry of Transport and Nav Canada, the corporation that runs Canada's civil air navigation service.

When the lawsuit was granted, Gérard Samet, the lawyer representing the group, said he considered the green light a big victory — a first in Quebec for an airport the size of Montreal's.

"This judgment is an extremely new development. Before aeronautical activities were strictly overseen by the federal government," said  "Now, they can no longer be ignored by [civil] law."


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