L. Michel Huart

Senior Counsel
Key practice areas
Transportation Law, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Public and Administrative Law
Québec Bar 1975

L. Michel Huart joined the firm in 2006 after many years in the railway industry, which led him to a position as General Counsel for Canadian National (CN). He has solid expertise in transportation law at both the contractual and regulatory levels. Over the years, he has been involved in a number of binding arbitration and mediation cases. He has practical experience managing projects requiring environmental approval or environmental impact assessments, and has shepherded many such applications through the regulatory approval process. He has also been involved in environmental incident management and environmental assessments.

Michel boasts an impressive railway industry career. He was Solicitor for the Canada Labour Relations Board and for the Canadian Transport Commission, then joined VIA Rail shortly after its creation in 1978. At VIA, he was Solicitor and Deputy General Secretary until 1984, when he became VIA’s General Superintendent, Transportation, for Québec. He later held the position of Director, Internal Audit and Special Examination.

Recruited by CN in 1989 as Legal Advisor, Michel went on to become General Counsel. In this capacity, he was in charge of legal issues related primarily to Operations, Marketing, Environment and Risk Management for Canada. He represented CN before the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Standing Committee on Transport with respect to the proposed revision of the Railway Safety Act. He also appeared before a number of judicial review bodies to challenge decisions by health and safety officers and Transport Canada officials.

For several years, Michel gave a 45-hour course on environmental legal issues and environmental assessments at the continuing education department of the École Polytechnique in Montréal.

  • Advised clients in connection with various projects in Plan Nord territory.
  • Made judicial review appearances before Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal.
  • Appeared before the Canadian Transportation Agency and its predecessors on a range of topics: applications to abandon railway lines, service complaints, setting property values, disputing fares. Involved in various projects for the construction of railway infrastructure requiring interface with regulatory authorities at the federal and provincial levels.
  • Represented clients involved in Transportation Safety Board investigations.
  • Drafted and negotiated complex transportation contracts dealing with, among other things, limitation of liability, insurance and service level provisions.
  • Mediated complaints about noise and vibrations in cases involving both municipalities and individuals.
  • Contested Transport Canada and Human Resources and Social Development Canada decisions and directives.
  • Supported clients in investigations or searches by investigators with search warrants.
  • Represented clients in final offer arbitration cases.
  • Developed strategies and applications to build railway infrastructure and to implement or withdraw services. Requested approvals from the appropriate authorities.
  • Provided legal support for matters relating to flood plains, wetlands, and fish habitats.
  • Provided legal support for authorization certificate applications, rehabilitation plans, and work on agricultural land.
  • Performed environmental due diligence upon selling companies or issuing shares.
  • Drafted environmental policies and policy implementation manuals.
  • Trained executives on officers’ and directors’ liability and the notion of due diligence in the context of environmental laws, occupational health and safety laws, and amendments to the Criminal Code.
  • Chambers Canada – Transportation: Rail & Road, 2020-2024
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory – Transportation (Road & Rail), 2015-2024
  • Lexpert/ROB Special Edition on Canada’s Leading Infrastructure Lawyers, 2018
  • Best Lawyers in Canada:
    • Railroad Law, 2008-2024
    • Transportation Law, 2017-2024
    • Environmental Law, 2017-2024
  • Ecorail (a CN subsidiary that transported trailers between Drummondville and Toronto), Member of the Board, 1995-2005
  • École Polytechnique de Montréal, Lecturer on the Environment, 1993-1997
  • Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in North America, Member, since 1993
  • Governor General’s Canadian Study Conference, Member, 1983
  • Author: “Canadian National Railway Co. v. McKercher LLP”, J0uly 24, 2013.
  • Contributor: “Les tribunaux administratifs – Le Code canadien du travail” [Administrative Tribunals and the Canada Labour Code], in La gestion des relations du travail au Québec. Le cadre juridique et institutionnel, coll. Administrative, McGraw-Hill, Scarborough, 1980.
  • Co-speaker: Conférence-LKD en collaboration avec la SODES, organized by the SODES in collaboration with Langlois Lawyers, Langlois Knowledge, Montréal, March 13, 2014.
  • Guest speaker: Canadian Regulations and Security Tools, as part of the NACM International Trade Seminar, San Antonio, Texas, 2014.
  • Guest speaker: Legislation Governing Work in a Closed Environment, Continuing Education, Varennes, 1997.
  • Guest speaker: The Impact of the Westray Mine Disaster and Amendments to the Criminal Code, Bill C-45, Continuing Education, Varennes, 1997.
  • Co-speaker: Managers’ and Directors’ Criminal Liability With Regard to the Environment, Insight, Montréal, 1996.
  • Panelist: Amendments to the Canada Transportation Act, Toronto Trucking Association, Toronto, 1996.
  • Panelist: Corporate Lawyers or Legal Advisors - The Broad Range of Legal Services, Corporate Counsel Association, Saskatoon.

LL.L., University of Ottawa, 1972