407 ETR Hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada January 15th, 2015‏

When I decided to form a facebook group back in 2010 to help bring forth a voice against 407 ETR’s abuse of the Plate Denial process, I had no idea that some of the issues would be before the Supreme Court of Canada now. I made this crude video of me basically talking over a clip of me being snarled in traffic on the 401 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvPNMXzFTnM

Fast forward to January 15th, 2015 and you have the hearing with respects to how 407 ETR has been treating bankrupts coming before the Supreme Court of Canada. I am confident that this company will finally be held accountable for how it arrogantly has been skirting consumer protection laws. 
The group “Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power”‘s motto has always been “it starts with you”. It has been you lending your voice to the cause that has helped effect change. Although there is still more time needed to get it right, the company has made some positive changes over the past 4 years, changes that would never had been made if it weren’t for you. Please continue to write your MPP and government officials to act!
There is another case before the Supreme Court involving a man from Alberta that was uninsured and involved in a motor vehicle accident. A judgment was made against him in court and according to Provincial Law in Alberta, unless he pays the claim or enters into an agreement for payment in installments, he loses his vehicle permit and license. After claiming bankruptcy and being discharged in 2011, Alberta revived his disqualification to obtain a vehicle permit and license. Lawyers for the Alberta man are arguing that Alberta’s law, that makes it mandatory to revive disqualification for a vehicle permit and license, is constitutionally inoperative by reason of the doctrine of federal paramountcy.
It’s no surprise that 407 ETR’s lawyers are drawing comparisons to this case to make their case. I would say there is a huge difference between a traffic offense, a criminal offense and a purely consumer related transaction. Will this company ever realize that they are just a company like any other company?
I wrote an article back in May 2014 entitled “407 ETR Fees & Interest are Not Fines” http://407etr-abuseofpower.com/index.php/407-etr-fees-interest-are-not-fines%e2%80%8f/
I went on to explain the difference between Provincial offences/enforcement agencies and 407 ETR’s unique ability to deny a person’s plate for renewal. Unlike a Provincial offence that goes though the “default fine control centre” and the courts, the interest and fees 407 ETR charges are NOT fines. They are interest and fees and subject to our consumer protection laws. This company is a private, for profit company. However, we have been having a difficult time getting them to comply with consumer protection laws because the Province did not appeal a decision made in a lower court that seems to allow this company unfettered judgment in what they charge people and how they apply their collection tool, the Plate Denial process.
Out of all the submissions by the Provinces that responded to this case, the Attorney General for Ontario’s comments seem most hopeful that the court will draw the conclusion that there is a huge difference between 407 ETR’s debt collection remedy and traffic offences that endanger the public.  In this case Ontario seems to be focusing on the offense committed, driving without insurance. Their submission makes some interesting statements like “the fresh start provided by a discharge in bankruptcy was never intended to wipe away the consequences of the manner in which the bankrupt had participated in a regulated activity” and ” provisions in all other provinces’ and territories’ legislation, does not frustrate the fresh start purpose of the BIA because it imposes a licence suspension as a regulatory, rather than merely as a debt-collection measure. ” There is also mention of non compliance in accordance to conditions under which a license is issued. All of these comments make it clear that there is a difference between 407 ETR’s case and this man’s case that choose to drive without insurance. 407 ETR is definitely reaching by comparing the two.
We remain hopeful that the Supreme Court of Canada will get it right and finally reign in this company once and for all.


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3 Responses to “407 ETR Hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada January 15th, 2015‏”

  1. Kim Beckner says:

    Are there over examples of private corporations in this country that have rights to remove government privileges because of failure to pay? I believe that the original intention of this type of penalty being allowed to 407ETR was a direct result of its being owned by the province. When the “corporation” was sold to a private entity, that right should have been revoked and other methods, such as collection agencies and courts, should have become the normal and only option left available. The only reason a person should have their right to plate a vehicle revoked should be because they cannot provide proof of insurance or pay for their plates to stay current.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Not sure, but I know there are provisions in the contract to do at least 3 things favorably to the public.

  2. D Murphy says:

    The Supreme Court of Canada must weigh in from all of the Provicial aspects of the laws available.
    Since the “Actual” Province affected is Ontario, then the case of a non insured person in Alberta, that has used the BIA as a last resort for their own protection, has absolutely nothing to do with the clear facts that drivers under plate denial scam in Ontario, for aledged debts purported by 407etr to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario/ MTO, is not a criminal offence or a judgement enforced by court order as no one has commited any traffic violations and there is NO Fines.
    For the most part, drivers in plate denial here in Ontario have perfect driving records, the MTO has no business assisting the 407etr what so ever!!! this private company of the 407 ETR, should have “never” been given the right, to withhold plates as a extortion tactic or blackmail for bogus debt here in the Province of Ontario. It was bad enough when Harris sold all Ontarians out to save his own skin, and paid the deficit with the cash flow to balance the books, but this is just adding insult to injury by continuing to allowing the 407etr to use our MTO as their own private collection Company.
    I sincerely hope that someone gets it right this time around and reads the fundamental MTO laws of Ontario. If we can see it/read the laws then why did the Supreme Court give the Private Company of 407 ETR the right to withhold plate through the MTO in the first place????

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