What is an injunction?

Last week, an Ontario judge granted an injunction to residents of downtown Ottawa. This injunction prevents truckers from continually honking their horns in downtown Ottawa for 10 days. Another judge also granted an injunction ordering protesters off the Ambassador Bridge. But what is an injunction?

Obliged to do or not to do

In Quebec, an injunction is an obligation that the court imposes on a person, a company or any other group of persons to:

  • not do something,
  • stop doing something, or
  • do something.

For example, you can seek an injunction to stop someone from publishing an article because you believe it damages your reputation. You can also seek an injunction to restrain a former employee from soliciting your customers.

Permanent or temporary

The injunction may be permanent . What is asked to be done or not done must be realistic and practicable.

The injunction can also be temporary. This is called  the “interlocutory injunction  ”. It is granted as part of another legal claim, pending the judge’s final decision… The person requesting the injunction must demonstrate:

  • that she can get a permanent injunction, or that her request to the court is serious enough.
  • that the injunction is necessary to avoid serious or irreparable harm. 
  • that the advantages of granting the injunction outweigh the disadvantages.

Obtaining an interlocutory injunction can take some time. A provisional injunction can then be requested if the situation is urgent, that is, the person who requests it cannot wait. For example, a temporary injunction can be granted if your neighbor wants to pull out a tree or demolish a building on your land before the judge has time to hear your case. Normally, this type of injunction cannot last longer than 10 days .

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