Region decides to appeal the decision on the CN hub - taking it to the Federal Court

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 20th, 2021



Stunned by the federal government decision to approve the CN rail hub that is proposed for the southern part of Milton, Regional Council announced on Friday they would make an application to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of federal decisions by the Minister and Cabinet resulting in federal approval of the CN truck-rail hub in Milton.

“We understand how important this effort is to our communities and our goal is to overturn this decision through the legal system,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “The fact that the Federal Government approved this project while ignoring the significant adverse effects on health identified by the expert panel it appointed is beyond disappointing. We will continue to fight for the health of Halton residents.”

Since the project was announced, community opposition has centered around the significant adverse effects on air quality and human health, in addition to concerns about safety in the surrounding areas due to the potential for increased traffic. The project will be within one kilometer of more than 34,000 residents, one hospital, 12 schools, and two long-term care homes.


The development that will bring few jobs to the community has the potential to do significant ongoing environmental damage.

While seen as a Milton area issue the number of trucks that would travel the roads in Burlington is significant – the estimate is for 1,600 truck trips a day – every day. This is to be a 24/7 operation with shipping containers brought in by rail and transferred to trucks that would delivery to locations throughout the GTA.

“The Federal Government has approved a project that will have a significant detrimental impact on the health of Halton residents that its expert panel said cannot be mitigated,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “Cabinet owes our residents an explanation.”

The communities and local representatives at the provincial and federal levels have come together and have been a strong voice against this ill-conceived proposal that is off-side what this Region and Province approved for the CN lands. Regional Council thanked Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden, for his continued opposition to the CN plan.

Following its multi-year review, the federal panel concluded that this Project’s significant health effects cannot be mitigated. Even after mitigation there will still be significant problems. These effects result from the release into the air particulate matter (PM2.5) that is dangerous at any level of exposure and causes an array of health effects on the community.

The CN facility in Milton would not create a significant number of jobs, or provide the kind of investment Milton or Halton Region has planned for and approved in Regional Official Plan Amendments.

Although the Project’s significant adverse environmental effects on air quality and human health are paramount, the Project’s permanent adverse effects on anticipated employment, investment, and municipal finances are also significant. There is a belief that the economic and capacity benefits desired by CN could be achieved by modernizing its existing Brampton facility.

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