Months after Metrolinx announced it filed a notice of intention to terminate a contract for light rail vehicles, Bombardier has gone to court to ask for an injunction against the provincial transportation agency.
“We filed this injunction this afternoon and … we are looking to protect our employees, to protect our rights and to protect our ability to deliver the streetcars on time,” Mike Nadolski, vice president of communications and public affairs for Bombardier, told Global News Friday.
“This injunction is asking the court to enforce the dispute resolution provisions of the contract … but beyond that, we don’t want to spend time in court. We want to spend time building railcars, getting railcars to the people of Toronto.”
In an earlier statement from Bombardier, the company said it’s “irresponsible for Metrolinx not to discuss issues in good faith” and that work will continue on the project.
Metrolinx confirmed in November the provincial transit agency has taken action that may see its $770 million contract with the Quebec-based plane and train manufacturer quashed.
Anne Marie Aikins, a spokeswoman for Metrolinx, said in a statement Friday afternoon that the transportation agency has been “concerned for some time about the performance of Bombardier” and the ability to deliver light rail vehicles for the 2021 opening of the Eglinton Crosstown line.
“We have repeatedly conveyed our disappointment to Bombardier on its progress to date and in particular that the pilot vehicle is almost two years late and has not yet been delivered. We have been frank in sharing our reservations about their ability to deliver vehicles on time and to a level of quality we expect,” Aikins said.
“We are further disappointed that they would take this legal step considering the longstanding relationship Metrolinx has with Bombardier on a number of fronts. Metrolinx is committed to providing residents of Toronto and the region with improved transit options. Bombardier’s focus should be on getting the all the vehicles delivered on schedule and with the quality expected, not on legal proceedings of this nature.”
With respect to the pilot vehicle, Nadolski said it is currently in Kingston.
“It’s been there since this fall and we’d like to start moving forward with the validation and testing process,” he said.
News of the contract dispute comes amid issues with the Toronto Transit Commission’s order of replacement streetcars.
Toronto Mayor John Tory and TTC Chair Josh Colle wrote to Bombardier in December to express their “frustration” after transit agency staff warned there was a risk of further delay of streetcar delivery.
TTC staff said at the time based on supporting documentation and an assessment of production readiness at Bombardier’s plants, “there is a risk that Bombardier may not meet the revised delivery schedule for contract completion of 204 new streetcars by 2019.”
Bombardier spokesman Marc-Andre Lefebvre subsequently told Global News that the company’s commitment to the streetcar order “remains strong and solid.”
“Bombardier has full confidence that it has deployed all of the necessary resources (second production line in Thunder Bay, transfer of work to Kingston, additional resources from our La Pocatière site and our global centres of excellence for LRV) to deliver all 204 streetcars by the end of 2019,” he said in a statement.
The federal government announced on Tuesday it was giving Bombardier $372 million in repayable loans to support its aircraft programs.
Niki Anastasakis contributed to this report.