Arbitrator in matters of agricultural and forest activities
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Arbitrator in matters of agricultural and forest activities
Arbitrator in matters of agricultural and forest activities

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ArbitratorHave you ever had a disagreement with a neighbour about a fence, common ditch, drainage ditch or clearance?

Ville de Gatineau encourages you to talk to your neighbour and try to resolve the conflict amongst yourselves.

If no agreement is possible, you can ask the municipal arbitrator to intervene. The parties involved in the dispute must then cover the full cost of the arbitrator's intervention.

Who can request the arbitrator to intervene?

The owner of land within Gatineau:

  • situated in an agricultural zone;
  • situated outside an agricultural zone, but where agricultural or forest activity takes place; or
  • adjacent to one of the above two types of land.

The arbitrator's role

The arbitrator, formerly called an agrarian inspector, serves as a conciliator between the parties in the dispute. If no agreement is possible between them, the arbitrator intervenes, and either decides that no work is necessary or that the work must go ahead. If one of the parties fails to do the work as ordered, the work may have to be done by Gatineau, at the expense of the delinquent party. The arbitrator is also responsible for investigation and inspection.

Requesting the arbitrator to intervene

To request the arbitrator to intervene, residents must fill out the proper form and submit it at one of the municipal service centres.


  • A $500 non-refundable payment is required when submitting a form requesting the arbitrator to intervene.
  • In the event of a disagreement about a fence, common ditch or clearance, the minimum payment required for the arbitrator's intervention is $1,850, to be split between the parties involved in the dispute. This will cover the standard steps in the intervention process. In the case of a disagreement about a drainage ditch, the minimum payment is $1,080, to be split between the parties involved in the dispute. An hourly fee of $110 will be added for the preparation of the arbitrator's order. In every case, any additional visit or intervention by the arbitrator will cost $270 per visit or intervention.
  • If one of the parties involved in the dispute fails to carry out its share of the work, the arbitrator will have to prepare specifications and a call for bids, which will add another $50 an hour to the delinquent party's bill.
  • Other additional expenses that may be incurred by the arbitrator include:
    • the cost of issuing the notice of meeting to the parties concerned;
    • reasonable costs incurred in getting a professional opinion or preparing documents or materials needed to resolve the disagreement; and
    • the cost of issuing the notice of the order to perform the work.
  • The arbitrator will decide on the allocation of the costs between the parties concerned. In the event of failure to pay the costs incurred by the Arbitrator and by Gatineau, these costs will be added to the property tax invoice and claimed at the same time as the general property tax.

Steps involved in requesting the arbitrator's intervention


If a party is dissatisfied with the arbitrator's decision, it may file an objection with the Court of Quebec to try to get the order reversed. The decision by the Court of Quebec is not subject to appeal.

Under the Civil Code of Quebec

Fences and common ditches

Landowners may fence their land at their own expense with walls, ditches, hedges or any other kind of fence. They may also require their neighbour to make half of or share the cost of making a fence which is suited to the situation and use made of the premises, on the dividing line to divide their land from their neighbour's.


Owners of land used for agricultural purposes may compel their neighbour to fell the trees along and not over five metres from the dividing line, if they are seriously damaging to their operation, except trees in an orchard or sugar bush and trees preserved to embellish the property.

Under the Municipal Powers Act

Drainage ditches

Drainage ditches are used solely for drainage or irrigation. They do not result from the improvement, maintenance or diversion of a waterway or body of water whose watershed has an area of less than 100 hectares.

For more information

For additional information about the steps involved in the arbitrator's intervention, please contact the Division de la planification du territoire urbain, Module de l'urbanisme et du développement durable:

Phone: 819-243-2345, extension  7331


About Gatineau

Recognized for its quality of life, Gatineau is a city of 285,000 inhabitants. It is located on the north shore of the Ottawa River, and extends east and west of the Gatineau River.

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