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    The Legal Defense Fund

    In 1997, FCM established a Legal Defense Fund to cover the legal costs of defending municipal jurisdiction over rights-of-way management. Since then, the scope of the Fund has evolved and is now a critical tool in advancing the national legal interests of municipalities in a broad range of cases that have implications for the municipal sector.

    The Fund, which covers legal costs incurred by FCM in its role as intervener, has been instrumental in setting important legal precedents on key local issues. It is also used by FCM to obtain proactive legal opinions on emerging policy files of concern to local governments. The Fund is supported by FCM members on a voluntary basis.

    For more information, see our questions and answers below or email


    Questions and Answers


    Case Studies


    What municipal leaders are saying about the Legal Defense Fund:

    The FCM Legal Defense Fund has played a critical role in advancing municipalities' constitutional and legal interests. In 2012, FCM defended the sector's interests in our city's payments in lieu dispute before the Supreme Court of Canada with the federal government regarding the valuation of Halifax's Citadel Hill. After a successful Supreme Court decision, this case was successfully resolved in 2016. The Fund remains a key tool for bringing the national voice to legal disputes and in defending the municipal sector's collective interests.

    Mayor Mike Savage
    City of Halifax, Nova Scotia

    Defending municipal jurisdiction in court is a tall task for municipalities to bear on their own — especially for smaller municipalities. That's why FCM's Legal Defense Fund is such a critical tool. A well-supported Fund is key to defending the legal interests of municipalities of all sizes. FCM is consistently recognized by the courts as the sole national representative of our sector in cases of national importance. We need to continue to support the Fund to ensure that FCM is able to intervene in precedent-setting cases that impact each and every one of us.

    Councillor Lorne Olsvik
    Lac Ste. Anne County, Alberta

    In 2015 FCM defended the municipal sector's interests before the CRTC in our city's rights-of-way dispute with Bell Canada. After a successful decision, the Commission approved the terms and conditions for Bell's access to our right-of-way, and set an important precedent for all municipalities in their dealings with telecom companies. The Fund also supported an intervention in our right-of-way dispute with Canada Post at the Ontario Court of Appeal. FCM's support has proven invaluable in advancing the sector's interests before the courts.

    Mayor Fred Eisenberger
    City of Hamilton, Ontario

    Page Updated: 02/05/2017