407 ETR Fees & Interest are NOT Fines‏


How many times have you heard 407ETR Fees & Interest are Fines? Hopefully this article will help clear up that common misunderstanding.  407ETR Fees & Interest are just that… FEES & INTEREST that the company decided to impose upon people.  They are NOT FINES nor are they tolls.  The company claims the 407 Act gives them the right to charge whatever Fees & Interest they see fit.  The group “Stop the 407ETR’s Abuse of Power” says, this is part of the problem they hope to have addressed.  They say there are many laws designed to protect consumers and hope that with help from the courts and the Province, this company will start to comply with them.
The Ministry of Attorney General has an office called “Default Fine Control Centre”.  This office handles Provincial Offenses including those under the Highway Traffic Act.  It is this office that sends the information to the Ministry of Transportation to suspend someone’s license or not renew their vehicle registration.
If you receive a ticket or a fine, which is essentially an “Offense Notice”, there is a set amount of money you need to pay written on the ticket.  You can plead guilty or request a trial.  If you are convicted, the amount you have to pay may change, BUT IT IS STILL A SET AMOUNT of money you owe.  There are no surprises.  Everything is transparent.  Perhaps you didn’t receive notice about your offense for whatever reason and are convicted, you still have the ability to open up that “offense” and have your day in court.
The enforcement agencies that can issue tickets for Provincial Offenses are:  By-law enforcement officers, Police, OPP, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, GO Transit and the Toronto Transit Commission. 407ETR IS NOT an enforcement agency.
The Default Fine Control Centre DOES NOT deal with 407ETR claims. Under the 407 Act, the company has a unique ability to oblige the Ministry of Transportation to withhold a person’s vehicle registration until a toll debt is paid.  According to Lou Politano, the Ministry of Transportation’s Regional Director, when the 407ETR sends a claim to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, they send a security-encrypted electronic transmission that gets uploaded to the Ministry’s database.  The transmission includes a unique file number for that report and details to identify the license plate number, the 407ETR Account number, the amount the company claims is owing and the date on which the company was supposed to have sent the Plate Denial Notice to their customer. Furthermore, each transmission includes a statement from the Chief Financial Officer at 407ETR certifying that 407ETR has complied with the requirements of the Act in the issuance of notices.  Jodie Parmar, former VP of Corporate Development, Privatization Secretariat/Ontario that successfully led the $3.107 billion privatization of Highway 407 says that there are provisions in Section 19 of the 407 Act for LGIC-appointed, independent dispute arbitrators.  
 
The group, Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power says 3 independent arbitrators are appointed each and every year.  However, the company, through high paid lobbyists, have had it’s way with the Province and instead pushes everyone through their bias, 3 tiered internal process. There is no transparency with respect to how much a person actually owes because often times the person never received a bill or notice prior to being told by the Ministry of Transportation that 407ETR has them in Plate Denial.  Also, the company will continue to add whatever interest and fees they see fit for up to 15 years even after they have used the Plate Denial process to collect.
The group says that although the 407 Act may permit 407ETR to enforce its claim to collect a TOLL DEBT by obliging the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to withhold a person’s vehicle registration, this does not make the company an enforcement agency, nor does that mean the company should ignore all the other laws designed to protect consumers. The 407 Act gives room for the company to comply with other statutes.
The group also wants to make clear that charges from 407ETR are not fines.  In most cases the charges are questionable and is the reason they have been raising awareness for the need of the Province to regulate how the Plate Denial process is exercised by the company.  They remain hopeful that the Province, with the help of the courts, will do this eventually.
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