Jean-François Bilodeau

Counsel

Montréal
JBilodeau@blg.com
514.923.0701

Jean-François Bilodeau focuses his practice on maritime law-related disputes. As a former member of the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve, his experience in navigation and ship management enable him to provide relevant legal services, supported by technical knowledge of the marine industry.

He represents different interests active in the marine industry, in particular :

  • shipowners
  • charterers
  • shippers
  • consignees
  • freight forwarders
  • brokers
  • warehousemen
  • port authorities
  • shipyards

before Québec and federal courts and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Jean-François also has expertise in litigation relating to highway, rail and air transportation. He advises payers in those sectors of activity and represents them both before civil courts and the Commission des transports du Québec and the Canadian Transportation Agency, in all regulatory and penal matters. He has a vast experience in the drafting and correction of transportation and warehousing contracts.

In addition, Jean-François specializes in disputes relating to insurance coverage and the liability of insureds, including, inter alia :

  • errors and omissions cases
  • directors' liability
  • product liability
  • the liability of ocean, rail and air carriers.

Experience

  • APPLICATION by Alcatel Submarine Networks (Alcatel), pursuant to the Coastal Trade Act for a licence, Canadian Transportation Agency, 27-W-2021 – Horizon Maritime Services objected to the Alcatel application to use a foreign vessel to lay an underwater cable in the Hudson Bay area to service the Northern Quebec First Nations communities. Alcatel was successful in demonstrating to the CTA that pursuant to section 8(1) of the Act, no suitable Canadian ship was available to perform the activity described in the Alcatel application.
  • Canadian National Railway Company c. Ace European Group Ltd., 2019 QCCA 1374 – Represented the insurer of Bombardier Inc., which was seeking to have a limitation of liability clause imposed by Canadian National declared null and void. The Superior Court of Québec, as well as the Québec Court of Appeal in August 2019, confirmed that a rail carrier may not exclude its liability under the provisions of the Canada Transportation Act.
  • City of Montréal (City) against the Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CP) Canadian Transportation Agency, Decision 34-R-2019 (June 21, 2019) – Represented the City of Montréal in a dispute with Canadian Pacific concerning the building of at-grade pedestrian and bicycle crossings on the CP tracks between the Port of Montréal and the City's north end. The Agency permitted the building of three of the five at-grade crossings applied for, while recognizing the rail carrier's right to oppose them where they affected its operations.
  • Peracomo Inc. v. TELUS Communications Co., 2014 SCC 29 – Represented the underwriter of Peracomo, in securing recognition of its right, under the Marine Insurance Act, to refuse the claim of a fisherman who had cut a submarine cable belonging to TELUS, since the damages caused to the cable were due to the insured's willful misconduct.
  • Wolverine Motors Works Shipyard LLC v. Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, 2011 NSSC 308 – Represented the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, which operates the HMCS Sackville, a corvette exhibited in a museum in the Port of Halifax. The ship broke its moorings in Hurricane Juan that struck the Halifax area in September 2003, causing the vessel to collide with a sailboat that sank. The Court accepted the argument of the owners of the HMCS Sackville that the damages resulted from an Act of God.

Beyond Our Walls

  • President, Canadian Transport Lawyers Association (CTLA)
  • Member, Board of Directors of the Grunt Club (from 2007 to 2015; President in 2013-2014)

Awards & Recognition

  • Recognized in the 2022 edition (and since 2006) in The Best Lawyers in Canada (Insurance Law and Maritime Law).
  • Recognized in the 2022 edition (and since 2019) of Chambers Canada – Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business (Transportation: shipping).
  • Recognized in the 2021 edition (and since 2021) of The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (Shipping & Maritime Law; Transportation (Road & Rail)).
  • Recognized in the 2021 edition (and since 2020) of The Lexpert®/ROB Special Edition on Canada’s Leading Infrastructure Lawyers.

Bar Admission & Education

  • Québec, 1987
  • LLB, Université Laval, 1985