BY TAMMY FLORES
he group “Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power” has been calling for the Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, to intervene and hold 407 ETR accountable for not following consumer protection legislation. While the Ministry of Transportation has responded to my letter, December 9th, 2015, they didn’t address whether or not the Minister has any intentions of intervening.
In an email sent to the Ministry of Transportation dated December 2nd, 2015 I requested the Minister of Transportation to intervene and pointed out how the company was refusing to comply with the Supreme Court of Canada’s November 13th, 2015 decision. The company is demanding that people be discharged from their Bankruptcy claim before they will release them from Plate Denial and they do not view people in a consumer proposal as qualifying under the court’s decision.
Also, pointed out in the December 2nd, 2015 letter to the Ministry, was whether or not former Minister of Transportation, Jim Bradley, intentionally lied to the public or simply didn’t know what he was saying in a Toronto Star article dated December 1st, 2009.
As pointed out in my last article, the Toronto Star article dated December 1st, 2009 quoted former Minister of Transportation, Jim Bradley, as saying, “Ontario motorists who use Highway 407 and forget to pay their bills can legally be hounded for fifteen years if they don’t pay up.” Quoted directly after the Minister was 407 ETR who chimed in, also saying it “has the permission to pursue motorists for unpaid balances and add annual interest of 26.82 per cent for up to fifteen years.”
In a very brief response on behalf of the current Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, Peter Verok, Regional Director for the Ministry of Transportation says, “The Concession and Ground Lease Agreement requires 407 ETR to comply with all laws and regulations … We understand that 407 ETR is complying with the two decisions.”, referring to 407 ETR’s case against Ira Day, whereby Justice Edwards ruled that 407 ETR had only two years from the time they place someone in Plate Denial to enforce collections and the Supreme Court’s ruling that says 407 ETR has to comply with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
Hopefully the Ministry of Transportation doesn’t think that just because 407 ETR says that they are complying with the court’s decision, that it must be so. After all, they have been ignoring consumer protection laws and regulations for many years.
407 ETR is still in the driver’s seat with respects to Plate Denial. The Ministry of Transportation will not release anyone from Plate Denial unless the company says so. The Ministry of Transportation should really be in the driver’s seat and intervene because of the company’s breach of consumer protection legislation. Surely, there is enough evidence in the courts now to support the Ministry of Transportation to intervene and make the company comply with consumer protection legislation.
Deferring to the lower court’s decision in 2005, where the judge said that the Ministry of Transportation had to deny a person’s plate if the company says so, just makes the Ministry of Transportation look like it’s doing the bidding of a private corporation with no interest in the public’s concerns. The Plate Denial provision was not meant as a tool to keep people in debtor’s prison until they pay whatever usury amounts of money the company tries to extort from people.
We encourage you to reach out to the Minister and request him to intervene so we can rid ourselves of 407 ETR’s billing nightmares once and for all.