Arrondissement d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville – Arrondissement de Montréal-Nord

In several Boroughs, studies conducted prior to road and sidewalk works reveal that some private parking spaces do not comply with the regulation. The Boroughs then notify the owners that their car ramp will be raised when the sidewalk is rebuilt: as a result, they will no longer be able to use the parking space it was serving, sometimes for several years.

In 2017, we handled several complaints from citizens contesting such notice: they were claiming vested rights to maintain this private parking space as well as the car ramp giving access thereto.

Applicable Principles

A car ramp is accessory to a parking area. In order to claim a right to maintain a car ramp, the parking area must comply with the regulation or be protected through vested rights.

• The long forbearance of a non-compliant parking area does not generate vested rights.

• A parking space that does not comply with current regulation will be exempted through vested rights only under proof of the following:

– its lawful existence before the regulation that prohibits it came into effect; and

– its continuous use since.

 Interventions and Analyses

All the parking areas referred to in these complaints were non-compliant with the current regulation. Hence, the specifics of each case had to be analysed to determine whether the space was protected on the basis of vested rights.

• We investigated the previous By-laws governing private parking spaces in the relevant sectors.

• We examined the history of Permits related to each property, the roadwork history nearby and other relevant facts in order to assess the actual or probable implementation date of the targeted private parking space.

• We then determined whether or not the parking area was compliant at the time it was built, or became so thereafter.


In one of the files, substantial evidence showed that the parking area was protected through vested rights. We asked the Borough to restore the car ramp that had since been removed. In January 2018, the Borough confirmed that it would do so within the year.

As for the other files, the targeted parking spaces were never compliant. Therefore, there can be no vested rights for their maintenance nor for the maintenance of the car ramp related thereto. We have closed these files.

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