City of Ottawa settled $10.3M in legal claims in 2016

Final figures for 2016 show the City of Ottawa paid out $10.3 million to settle legal claims related to injuries and property damage, down from $14.5 million in 2015.
(Kristy Nease/CBC)

The City of Ottawa paid out $10.3 million to settle legal claims related to injuries and property damage in 2016, down from $14.5 million in 2015, according to an update from the municipality's legal department.

The report, which will go before the finance and economic development committee on Feb. 24, states the city concluded 1,732 claims last year, of which it paid out in full or in part for 428 of them.

Only 22 payouts of more than $100,000 are listed in greater detail and, as in past years, those larger settlements are typically related to people who were injured. The largest settlement of 2016 was $1.4 million related to a city transit or transportation vehicle hitting a pedestrian or cyclist.

That said, the city deals with far more claims for property damage than for injuries. It paid $2.1 million related to 342 property damage claims in 2016.

The report also described the city's performance before the Ontario Municipal Board. Of 11 cases in the second half of 2016, the city saw six settlements and three cases decided in its favour. Two cases went the other way: one that allowed a rural subdivision in Greely to go ahead and another that related to its development charges bylaw.

As for labour arbitration cases, in the second half of 2016, the city reported it had just two unsuccessful decisions from an arbitrator, while 30 were either successfully settled or decided in the city's favour.

One of those unsuccessful grievances was related to an arbitrator's decision that the city rehire — in a lesser role — an OC Transpo driver it had fired for driving around the guard rails of a rail crossing in Carlsbad Springs.