March 25, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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“It never stops”: Citizens can no longer endure the incessant noise of planes at Montreal-Trudeau airport

Enraged by the incessant noise of planes at Montreal-Trudeau Airport, Montrealers protested that they were forced to lock themselves in their homes because of a violation of public health standards.

“It’s unpleasant, we don’t hear each other anymore. On Sundays, when we go to the park with the children, it passes two minutes above our heads,” sighed Jean-Francois Normand, who has lived in the Villeray district for 15 years.

The volume and frequency of flights by air transport increases year by year until it becomes unsustainable.

One day, he measured the sound level with a phone in his yard: 80 decibels, the equivalent of an alarm clock, a factory or a busy restaurant.

To avoid headaches, the father of the family shuts the doors and windows and shuts himself inside the house during the summer.


The Villeray district may be located 15 km from Montreal-Trudeau Airport, but it is in line with the southern runway.

Aéroports de Montréal (ATM) announced that until June 23, most flights will be diverted to this runway as work continues on the north runway.

But for a citizen group that has been mobilizing since 2012 against noise pollution, the problem is more than just an act.

Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau has installed community measurement stations at various locations in Montreal.

Photo by Pierre-Paul Poulin

Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau has installed community measurement stations at various locations in Montreal.

“It never stops. It’s non-stop. Either they tear down, or they build”, said Antoine Pegot, founder of Pollus de Montréal-Trudeau, indignant.

The group has installed ten community noise measurement stations in Montreal, including some in Ahansic, Villeray and Saint-Michel, aligned with runways, but ADM has no station.

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According to the collected data, the noise generated by the aircraft reaches 70 decibels at times and 85 decibels at some places.

Beyond quality

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that air traffic noise should not exceed an average of 45 decibels during the day and 40 decibels at night.

“This is average. Real life events are very disturbing. […] The noise comes out of the ambient noise, which is very recognizable”, underlines Mathieu Gauthier, Scientific Advisor at the Public Health Institute of Quebec.

“Noise levels can have many effects on health, such as cardiovascular disease, sleep disturbances, reduced quality of life,” explains Louis-Francois Detrault, an expert at the Montreal Regional Public Health Department.

In an email, Aéroports de Montréal indicated that it was “too soon” to evaluate complaints related to work on the northern runway.

Spokesman Eric Forrest declined to comment further because Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau’s joint action on the matter has yet to be heard.

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