Where is Consumers’ Independent Arbitration Process with 407 ETR?


According to Jodie Parmar, former Vice President, Corporate Development, Privatization Secretariat/Ontario that successfully led the $3.107 billion privatization of Highway 407, Section 19 of 407 Act creates the legal obligation for 407ETR to pay fees & expenses of LGIC (Lieutenant Governor in Council) appointed dispute arbitrators.  These arbitrators are supposed to be completely independent of 407ETR and are supposed to be able to handle our disputes, have the authority to advertise their services and charge back the costs to 407ETR.  So the question is, after 15 years, what has happened to this process?

 

Every year there are 3 Orders in Council appointing independent arbitrators, but nobody has ever accessed them since 2009. Who pays for these appointments? Why hasn’t anyone accessed them since 2009?

 

I contacted the LGIC appointed arbitrators for 2013 and 2014 Louie L Resnick, Bruce Ranton Robinson and Jonathan H Flanders directly and they never responded. New ones should be appointed March or April of this year. When I contacted ADR Institute they were very evasive and defended the process as being transparent and would not answer follow up questions. I questioned why ADR Institute needed permission from 407 ETR to speak to me, if it was an independent process. That’s because they sent my emails to the company. Mary Anne Harnick, M.A , LL.B, from ADR Institute said, “We believe the process is independent, is not biased and is in accordance with law.  Accordingly, we disagree.  Given our disagreement we wanted the 407 Ombudsman to be transparently aware of your allegations and opinions.”

 

I’m sorry, but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck… it’s a duck. This “independent” process is not a transparent process. Neither 407 ETR nor the Ministry of Transportation informs you of your right to dispute through this provision. Basically, the Province has allowed the company to set up a 3 tiered bias, internal dispute process and turns a blind eye to the fact that no one has been able to access the legislated process.

 

Basically, the 2005 court decision the Province hides behinds says the burden of proof is with the consumer, when the company makes a claim. That was an error in judgment that should have been appealed but wasn’t. Essentially, the company can claim whatever they want and never have to justify anything. It’s an impossible situation for a consumer to defend because the company holds all the information that can prove your innocence. Even if you were successful in accessing an independent process, how can you defend yourself when the company holds all the information and doesn’t have to give you anything?

 

It took me until the year 2011 to wrestle out of the company invoices that proved all tolls were paid on an account from the year 2000 that the company sent me a bill for in 2005, even though I already had a transponder account for at least 3 years, using the same plate. Sound confusing? Yes it is and guess what? I am still in Plate Denial because I missed a 30 day window?

 

Years later, after pushing through the 407 ETR’s bias, internal, 3 tiered process, 4 times, I discovered this independent process and demanded to go through it. I was told by 407 ETR that I only had a 30 day window to act on it and I missed it. Really?! 407 ETR can take 5 years to send you a bill, take 11 years to send you the invoices that make up the amount they are claiming against you and send you zero evidence that a toll actually occurred and I am supposed to somehow be able to defend a 30 day window I have to dispute charges? This is outrageous! I don’t understand why more people aren’t complaining about this unjust practice. We have to change the 407 Act so it conforms to consumer protection legislation.

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9 Responses to “Where is Consumers’ Independent Arbitration Process with 407 ETR?”

  1. Jackie says:

    Yup i have been dealing with them for 15 years now- its a complete nightmare. I know have retained counsel because we have no choice.We have tried everything to get mis billing corrected to no avail. My husband and I have been wondering for years how these people have received this kind of power- UNREAL
    They deal with their customers like the mafia, except they have the law on their side.

  2. annie says:

    Quite interesting g please read .. have you ever heard of a statue of limitations with the 407?

    http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/legalfeeds/2375/court-rules-there-is-a-limitation-period-for-407-etr-going-after-consumers.html

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Yes. I am very familar with that case and I am waiting on a final judgment. This judgment was sent back for revision and not appealed.

  3. D Murph says:

    The Big Problem Is!!! The MTO/ Ministry of Transportation and the hidden agendas of the entire Political process and their Nonsense!!!
    Not one of us has a Fine, under any Laws in Ontario or Canada.
    We did not commit an offence and have not be found quilty in a court of law under the POA/Provincial offences Act or Highway Traffic Act.
    Everyone please read the Canadian Bill of Rights S.C 1960,C44, it says everyone has “the right to Life, Liberty, Security of the enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived there of except by due process of Law!!! Now I do Not claim to know exactly how you all feel,but I know I feel extremely insecure with not being able to travel to a daily job or to go grocery shopping whenever I please,as a result of unjustified plate denial with a perfect driving record.
    The plate denial scam needs to be “abolished” completely, in fact? It should be deemed as Null and Void since no rules or provisions were enforce or honoured by anyone responsible for this whole mess from the 2005 date of imposed plate denial system through the MTO on behalf of the PRIVATE Company of the 407etr, neither the MTO or the Private Company of the 407etr has kept to the agreement as written.
    Something needs to break before you can fix it and this system has been broken since it began!!!!

  4. Bob Zimmerman says:

    Can anyone tell me where to go to begin the independent arbitration process? My plates have been denied since 2011 and the 407 has retained a law firm/collection agency to collect a huge amount of money that appears to be 90% interest and late fees. The law firm was unwilling to provide any information or invoices of my account, and refused to accept anything but full payment. I haven’t used the highway in years, who is the best person to contact??

    thanks all, stay strong!

    • TJ says:

      Take some comfort in the fact that they cannot collect the money as it is well over 2yrs since you were put in plate denial. The lawyer can huff and puff all he/she wants will make no difference.
      Given the recent court decision you are protected by the Statute of Limitations.

      Your plates remaining in denial is another story.
      At this point they still have that right to extort you and force you to pay to be able to get a plate.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Hi Bob. This is the problem. I have contacted the LGIC Independant Arbitrators personally via email, contacted ADR and ADR denied any issues with no one being able to access the LGIC Arbitrators and the Arbitrators did not return my communications. It is an obscure process that no one has accessed for a long time. It’s a farce. The company will block you from access and then tell you that you missed your 30 day window of opprotunity to access the independant process.

      This is why we are fighting for consumers in court. The tables have to turn… it’s just a matter of time.

  5. Pete says:

    Has anyone been hit with the obscured license plate fee or been dinged with two flat fee as entry/exit cannot be determined?

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