407 ETR’s Plate Denial – The Province of Ontario is in the Driver’s Seat


For the last 4 years, I was told by the Province of Ontario’s, Ministry of Transportation’s office that they have no discretion over 407 ETR’s Plate Denial requests. I was told that because of a lower court’s ruling in 2006, 407 ETR has unfettered judgment in what they can charge people for tolls, fees and interest. The Province of Ontario has absolutely no discretion over how or when 407 ETR applies their collection remedy, Plate Denial. Nor does the Province have any authority over this private company’s business practices.
 
Fast forward to the Province of Ontario’s submission to the Supreme Court of Canada to be heard January 15th, 2015 and we are hearing a completely different story. In section 49 of the Province of Ontario’s submissions they say, “It must be remembered that toll charges ultimately serve the public interest by helping to defray the cost of highway construction and maintenance. Provincial legislation can legitimately make the non-payment of past tolls an impediment to obtaining a new or renewed permit for a vehicle that could be used to access the province’s toll highways and incur further toll charges”. 
 
So who really is in the driver’s seat with respects to acting on 407 ETR’s Plate Denial requests? Contrary to what the Province of Ontario has been telling us all these years, they now are saying that they are in the driver’s seat and it is within their policy objectives to make sure tolls are paid to the private company, 407 ETR.
 
Talk about your double talk. First of all, since when did the 407 ETR have the authority over all the roads and highways in the Province of Ontario? Their highway is only 108 KM’s long. If they don’t want to “do business” with a member of the public, since when did it become the Province’s responsibility to make sure that a member of the public can’t use a business’ service? It is up to the business to protect their bottom line, not the Province. The Province claims they have no authority over this private corporation’s business, so what business does the Province have to make sure no further toll charges are incurred when it is the company’s business what the relationship will be between them and their customers? Last time I checked we weren’t under a Fascist regime.
 
Secondly, The Province has absolutely no evidence whatsoever that tolls occur. The company is the only one that holds that information and they do not share it with the Province. Without evidence that a toll occurs, how can it be that the Province makes the claim a consumer is incurring tolls? 
 
Reading through all the submissions by intervening Provinces, I couldn’t help but recognize that they are missing the point. There has been NO OFFENSE COMMITTED!!! As explained in earlier articles, 407 ETR’s unique ability to deny a person’s plate has to do with a provision given to them to enforce collection of tolls. 407 ETR is NOT an enforcement agency nor are their fees and interest, fines. They engage in strictly consumer transactions that should be subject to consumer protection laws. It is a stretch for any of the Provinces’ and/or the company to claim an offense occurred when the Province of Ontario has no way to verify whether or not a lawful toll occurs. The company should have to take a consumer to court to prove their claims if they want to have the full power to deny a person’s plate indefinitely. There should be a judgment by a judge, not the Province of Ontario taking the 407’s word over their citizens.
 
The Province is not given any proof of tolls the company claims occurred. 407 ETR simply provides the Province with a piece of paper that says one of their customer owes them money. No evidence of tolls are provided by the company and there is no fair process to dispute tolls, fees and interest claimed. The Province has zero documentation to validate actual tolls. Without proof of tolls, how can the Province ascertain whether or not further tolls could occur? I would say it is up to the business operating the toll highway to worry about that, not the Province because this toll highway doesn’t belong to the Province, it belongs to the company.
 
The Province of Ontario claims in section 44 of their submission to the Supreme Court “Like any other creditor, the 407 loses the right to enforce debts owed to it by compulsory legal process against the debtor’s property when the debtor is released in bankruptcy. Prior to bankruptcy, the 407 can bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover unpaid tolls and other amounts owed to it. If successful, it can compulsorily recover the money owed to it from the debtor’s property by obtaining a writ of seizure and sale, garnishment of moneys owed to the debtor, etc.” 
Agreed, but since when did 407 ETR ever acknowledge a bankrupt’s claim? The company completely ignores a bankrupt’s claim and so therefore loses their ability to seize property to fulfill the person’s debt obligations.  It is not the act of being released or discharged from bankruptcy that causes the loss. It’s their blatantly ignoring the claim when it comes in, that causes their loss. How can the Province justify allowing this company to use it’s debt collection remedy, the Plate Denial process, when the company did not get a judgment from the court that would allow them to still collect?
Keeping people in Plate Denial for an undetermined amount of time, without a court order to justify it, is extremely punitive and flies in the face of any consumer protection law we know with respects to a company’s right to collect lawful debts and a consumer’s right to protection from abuses of power by large companies that can easily exercise over vulnerable people. It’s not fair for the Province to support what this company is doing to people. Shame on you Province of Ontario. Shame on you.
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10 Responses to “407 ETR’s Plate Denial – The Province of Ontario is in the Driver’s Seat”

  1. D Murphy says:

    The Province of Ontario seems to believe they are above the law of the land too!
    The last time I looked we were still in Canada?
    With a strong sence of a Democratic system?
    Cival Rights Lawyers should be jumping all over this one??? One fact I know to be true is if a lawyer goes against the Governments opinion or needs and wants, they could loose their license to practice Law in Ontario ???
    WE as Canadians have a Constitutional right to travel freely anyway and anywhere we choose to.
    Candians are still protected under Candian Law, as long as we are on traveling on this soil.
    As for the hidden, political agendas of the greedy politicians, we or some of us voted them into office they work for us!
    Would you all not say it is time they began to do they’re jobs correctly!!!!!! and honestly?
    The Statute of Limitations is an Act, a Law,and a fact that it does exist in this Ontario Canada.
    So? lets force the issue, that the Government of Ontario must upholds the Law.
    The MTO must be released from any responsiblity to hold plates in denial for the PRIVATE COMPANY of the 407ETR.

    • Mike says:

      I completely agree with you, we as citizens need to stand up to our elected leaders and remind them that the people matter, not the profits. Unfortunately, according to the government, driving is a privilege, not a right. Even though we must pay taxes, part of which are used to pay for road construction and maintenance, we don’t have the right to use that which we pay for. The first step to prevent the 407ETR from having any say over us, is to first get the MTO to recognize driving as our right, not a privilege.

      • Tammy Flores says:

        Interesting that you mention that. In the Supreme Court case Jan. 15th, one of the justices called 407 ETR’s lawyers out for saying that. I understood her point to mean that we are entitled to the license if we meet the requirements and she didn’t think saying the license was a “privilege” was applicable in their argument. To quote her she said, “I was going to ask about your use of the word privilege… I am trying to understand how this assists in this discussion in any way? Someone who applied for a license is entitled to get that license if they meet the terms and conditions…privilege… how does that assist in this framework at all?” After a few words from 407’s lawyers she goes back to “unless it frustrates the purpose (referring to the BIA)… I’m not sure it assists”. Basically even though the Province has the right to regulate/legislate, they can’t frustrate the purpose of the BIA.

  2. Trish says:

    But I do know, that if you dispute a charge, they are quite willing to reduce a toll.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      They made changes to their customer service in 2010. There are thousands of cases prior to that they completely screwed up and refused to deal with. Also, they do not provide evidence of lawful toll according to what the Evidence Act says would qualify as evidence.

  3. joanne butt says:

    No plates, no car! Means no job or quality of life.Been 10yrs trying to put this 407 bill to rest but the amount is 7000.00 of interest.
    There billing practice,service to the ontario drivers is a kick up the butt.Help, make it right!!

  4. D Murph says:

    I am in the same boat as you joanne.
    Even with the recent court cases within the Canadian Superior and Supreme court systems, that should have cleared the victims of the 407etr’s outrages and false claims of unpaid toll usage and th MTo’s enforcement of “So called” fines to be paid to the MTO on behalf of the 407’s a “Private Company” means of collection tactics of bogus debts, they have still not released my plate from denial yet?
    So Just for the reord I wonder how many people are affected by these criminals of injustice?
    I hope all of the victims of the 407etr, have a chance to read the reply I left everyone today!
    Keep speaking up for your legal rights In CANADA

    • D Murph says:

      Hello everyone!
      Please take a moment to read the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms!!! that’s right! I said FREEDOMS!! not privileges and buy the way ,we pay for everything NOT the government!!!
      People fight back!!! this “Bs” is totally against our cival rights as well as unconstitutional act described by our own Government officials on behalf of the 407etr a Private Company!!!!

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