Supreme Court of Canada – 407 ETR – January 15th, 2015


owl

When I was shopping for an outfit to wear to the Supreme Court of Canada hearing yesterday, there was this necklace with an owl on it that caught my eye so I bought it thinking owls represent wisdom and what better way to represent what I was hoping for. A wise ruling that would fix the 407 ETR issue once and for all. What I didn’t know was that the owl is the Supreme Court of Canada’s symbol. A security guard pointed that out to me and proceeded to share with me coloring books and pamphlets that show the owl as the Court’s symbol. Coincidence? Maybe, but it helped me come out of there confident that the issue is in the best hands as they could possibly be.

I learned there are very talented lawyers out there and 407 ETR’s lawyer is an excellent orator. He spoke very well but I think Justice Michael J. Moldaver rattled him. I was just bursting at the seams when he called the company out onto the carpet for “causing a $34,000.00 debt” by doing nothing for 6 years and then complaining to the justices “poor me”. The Honourable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella called what they were doing “lying in wait”. I wanted to give them a standing ovation, but knew that wouldn’t go over very well. I have to admit it was hard to restrain myself because they summed up the whole problem in those few words. The justices brought out everything I have been writing about lately and even questioned if the problem was in their business model and in essence questioned if they were running the operation correctly.

All the other justices, including The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada made comments that were comforting in that they understand the issue. I will elaborate on it more later, but I do believe they will come back with a fix of some sort. Will it be exactly what we need remains to be seen, but I think we are on the right track here.

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41 Responses to “Supreme Court of Canada – 407 ETR – January 15th, 2015”

  1. Laura says:

    Thanks Tammy for keeping up this fight. I got my bill almost 10 years after the supposed trips (two of them). They are still harassing me even though I told them I had no intention of paying because I have no way of confirming whether I had already paid – I throw my tax returns out after 6 years for crying out loud! Also, after almost a decade, there was no way to recall if I had actually used the highway! They claimed they had the wrong address from the Ministry of Transportation, but I had been receiving mail from the MoT during that time…as well as other bills for trips we had taken on the 407! Obviously a mistake on their part. They have lost my business for sure!!

  2. Shawn says:

    Tammy,

    I appreciate all the hard work that’s being done here.

    This company needs to be put cleaned up seriously. A few years ago after my divorce was settle and done I tried getting a car on the road little to my surprise highway 407 has plate denial on file.

    I tried to deal with the issue directly with this so called hardship program they had which is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The company wanted thirty percent up front and then seven hundred fifty dollars monthly until full amound was paid.

    It will be interesting to see how the Sumpreme Court of Canada weights in this issue. Please keep up the good work these blogs are intereting.

  3. Ken gomes says:

    Keep up the fight I have received bills over and over for cars I don’t even own anymore. And when they call me I alway tell them that I have no intention of paying them cause I cannot prove anything because I no longer have the info on all my previous vehicles.
    Keep it up I can’t wait to see the outcome.

  4. gina says:

    Please don’t stop what your doing.

    407 thinks I owe them 18000+$$ but when I ask 407 to show me how I caused the huge bill they just return with the same answer ” the computer says you owe” for almost 9 years I have lost my plates and had my quality of life diminished because 407 has been given rights greater than any other company and government have ever been given.

  5. Rick says:

    Hi Tammy

    Has the case rested? When are they projecting that a decision will be made by?

    Rick

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Hi Rick,

      It could take up to 6-8 months. As far as I understand, the docket says “Judgment reserved OR rendered with reasons to follow”. My hope is they come up with some sort of fix. I have no idea if it will go far enough.

      • Rick says:

        Hi Tammy

        We were expecting a decision from the Supreme Court July/August time frame. Any word on this yet? Thanks.

        Rick

  6. mike says:

    I lost my transponder and reported it to the 407 in 2002 or 2003…in 2008 I had a collection agency call telling me that I had to pay a $56 fee…I refused to pay because I was not told about the fee and because of the limitations act…I have been in plate denial for 6 years now and the 407 claims I owe them over $5000 in penalties and interest. ..nobody at the mto will listen to reason…..i have to drive to work so i can support my family and this plate denial is affecting my employment. …. love this site and all your efforts….

  7. Alex says:

    So what happened at court on the15th? Why’s the final verdict ?

  8. David says:

    I just recently received a call from a law firm in Cambridge trying to collect $70,000.00 from me for a 407 etr bill. I thought it was a scam at first. They claim it was for highway tolls from 2001 to 2004. this is the first I have heard of the supposed debt some 14 years later than the first charges. I do not recognize the licence plate number. The MOT couldn’t give me any info other than telling me the plate hasn’t been stickered in 10 years since 2014. I have no way of knowing what vehicle they are talking about. I have no way of confirming if I ever paid a toll and they credited the wrong account or something. I have no idea how to deal with it, as apparently the only people keeping records for 15 years are the 407 etr. I don’t understand how they can wait 14 years before contacting you as the interest multiplies and now threaten to sue for a ridiculous amount. I am now getting daily phone calls from the law firm wanting me to make payment arrangements. I don’t know if my name is blocked from any plate renewals as I have a company supplied vehicle with a transponder for the last 15 years. I’m now over 60 and have no way of paying such an outrageous amount.
    For $70,000 I could purchase 4 cars. What can I do ?

    • Tammy Flores says:

      That’s why we have been appealing to the Province for the past 4 years to do something about this gross injustice. Please sign and share the petition on change.org https://www.change.org/p/change-the-407act Hopefully the justices will give us what we need to force this company to comply with consumer protection laws.

    • TJ says:

      You must first find out if you were put in plate denial.
      If so when, and if it was more then 2 years ago they can not collect a dime through the courts.
      Presently they can keep you in plate denial forever but all the lawyer letters will have no teeth assuming you have been in plate denial more than 2 years.

  9. Jim DeViller says:

    Hello, Very interested in your fight against these people and the outcome of the court. My sister recently fell into the same situation of getting a bill after several years with no proper account statement only a sum owing. Is there a contact where she can get support or join this fight?
    thanks

  10. TJ says:

    Then this case will have no effect on this fellows 70,000 unless he is bankrupt.
    Presently the case law is the Day ruling. That is the case that needed to be appealed.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Well, that’s not exactly true because the way this case was argued, they are saying they are not statute barred and that while they can’t go to court to collect, the Province has the right to set the standards on issuing licenses. Meaning… it doesn’t matter what the Bankruptcy Act or the Limitations Act says about the right to pursue a debt as long as the Province makes this a condition of issuing a license. That’s why they didn’t appeal the lower courts decision on the Limitations issue. Like I said, they are playing a bigger game.

  11. TJ says:

    The court will rule against this…..as this is not even a debt to the Province but to a private creditor.
    The Statute of limitation is a completely different animal and should be appealed because that judge made his ruling based on special circumstances that the 407 claimed, but higher court has already ruled the doctrine of special ccircumstances no longer apply under the new limitations act. Not since Paramount Wonderland v Joseph.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      I agree with you, but it didn’t prevent this private corporation to not only have the Province of Ontario back them up in their scheme, but have the Province of Ontario claim that they were cooperating with all these other Provinces in this particular initiative. I am more disappointed with the fact that the Province of Ontario doesn’t give a damn about consumers and what this company has been doing. It’s sickening that they have blinders on and believe we can be socially engineered into not driving. That is really at the crux of their “policy” initiatives. I really am hoping that the justices don’t just stick with the bankruptcy issue in their ruling. What I would love to see is the justices claim section 22 inoperative period! That would be an outright victory.

  12. T Kaylor says:

    Any word on Supreme Court of Canada decision regarding 407etr ?

  13. T Kaylor says:

    Any word on Supreme Court of Canada decision regarding 407etr ?

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Nothing yet and so we wait.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Did the company open more than one account in your husband’s name? They do that sometimes. I would say you should call to find out how many acounts they have ino his name. If they bring an action you have to respond to it. They more than likely won’t because of a recent court ruling that says they have 2 yrs from the time they place you in Plate Denial to act. If they do bring an action, let me know.

  14. Rick says:

    Hi Tammy

    We were expecting a decision from the Supreme Court July/August time frame. Any word on this yet? Thanks.

    Rick

  15. Michelle says:

    We just came from BDO. My husband owes 32000 in 407. On 3 accounts? We are unsure of the new ruling. Has it been made yet? We were told tonight there might have been a ruling. Any word yet?

    • Tammy Flores says:

      We are still waiting. $32,000? Wow. Do you currently drive on the 407 highway? When did you find out about the debt? Do they have you in Plate Denial? How long have they had you in Plate Denial?

  16. Mark says:

    Supreme Court will be releasing their judgement on Friday Morning! Fingers crossed everyone!

    • Tammy Flores says:

      I am waiting with bated breath.

      • TJ says:

        35696 407 ETR Concession Company Ltd. v. Superintendent of Bankruptcy

        Constitutional Law – Federal paramountcy – Ontario’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles shall refuse to validate or issue a person’s motor vehicle permit upon receipt of notice that the person has not paid toll, fees or interest owing for use of privately-owned toll highway – Whether enforcement power can be applied to a debt owed to owner of highway that was discharged in bankruptcy proceedings – Whether purpose or merits of a provincial law are relevant to determining whether provincial law conflicts with federal law – Whether Court of Appeal defined scope and purpose of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act  overly broadly – Whether Parliament may compel provinces to issue provincial licences and permits to discharged bankrupts – Highway 407 Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c.28, s. 22(4), Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. B-3 .

        Matthew Moore owed the appellant debt for use of its toll highway. Pursuant to the appellant’s enforcement powers under s. 22(4) of the Highway 407 Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c. 28, it notified Ontario’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles of the debt and the Registrar refused to validate vehicle permits for Mr. Moore’s two vehicles or to issue a permit to him. Mr. Moore obtained an absolute discharge from bankruptcy that included the debt he owed to the appellant. Despite the discharge, the appellant asserted that he remained indebted and the Registrar continued to refuse to issue permits. Mr. Moore applied to the Ontario Superior Court for a declaration that his debt was discharged and for mandamus directing the Registrar to validate his permits. After the Ontario Superior Court dismissed his motion, he settled with the appellant. The Superintendent in Bankruptcy was granted leave to appeal.

        Sadly this case will have no effect on people who have not gone through bankruptcy.

        It is the Day case that also needed to be appealed.

        Consumer protection laws and the SOL are not an issue before this court.

        • Tammy Flores says:

          That’s incorrect. It can really pull some of their teeth surrounding Plate Denial. Just sit back and watch what unfolds before you make short sighted comments. Really, you are too negative.

  17. TJ says:

    Tammy do not be so gullible.

    They probably will say that they can not deny plates to someone who is discharged in bankruptcy because that would support the fresh start principle in the Federal BIA act.
    But that does not legally equate to all plate denial.

    Neither the SOL or Consumer Protection laws address this issue.

    I am still waiting for the case number you said you had for the appeal in the Day case.

    Short sighted my ass….your just being fed a lot of BS from who ever your source is.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      I didn’t say that it would legally equate to all plate denial. I will say exactly what I said again. I said… and I quote… “It can really pull some of their teeth surrounding Plate Denial”. Who’s side are you on anyway? Like I said, “sit back and watch what unfolds before you make short sighted comments”. This is just the beginning. Your ass could be grass if you think for a second we are going to back down and let this private corporation walk all over us. Even if the justices don’t come out with a positive decision.

  18. TJ says:

    If they rule that plate denial can not be used against people who are discharged….it has no teeth with other cases like yours or mine.

    Yes wait and see tomorrow how limited the scope of this ruling will be.

    They can only address what is before the court on appeal.

    And where is that case number?

    • Tammy Flores says:

      What you are saying is right, however, I am looking for issues to be defined. For example they call Plate Denial enforcement. How far does that enforcement go? Doesn’t apply to bankrupts. Great! Then it’s logical to conclude the enforcement powers are limited to all the other consumer protection laws too. They were very specific in that they used the words “shall refuse to validate or issue a person’s motor vehicle permit upon receipt of notice that the person has not paid toll, fees or interest owing for use of privately-owned toll highway”. It gives the lawyers fighting those cases more certainty. Yes it does have the possibility to turn Plate Denial into a toothless lion.

  19. TJ says:

    And for the record…my ass and yours became grass when the judge in the Day case validated plate denial as a tool for the 407….so much so that he ruled the SOL does not start to run until plate denial.

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