BY TAMMY FLORES
Today is a great day for consumers! In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed 407 ETR’s appeal to continue collecting on discharged bankrupts, with costs. The group “Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power” has maintained, from the beginning, that the 407 Act did not give 407 ETR the right to ignore consumer protection laws. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of Canada proves this to be so.
Today’s decision is estimated to affect approximately 7,000 people, in the Province of Ontario, that have been discharged under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, but yet, 407 ETR continued to try and collect from them by placing them in “Plate Denial “until they paid up. Plate Denial means that you will not be able to renew your sticker on your vehicle’s license plate until you pay the company what it says you owe.
When 407 ETR set up shop here in Canada, the company promised it would follow the laws of the land it operated in. However, it became evident early on that this company had no respect for our consumer protection laws and because of their business model, it exerted itself like as if it had some sort of special status. The company was NEVER given special status however, because events like the epic court case between the Province of Ontario and the company… it gave weight to the appearance that the company had special status.
What this decision proves is that our laws are standing the test of time in this ever changing global landscape we find ourselves in. We are living in a period of time whereby treaties are signed, by our leaders, such as NAFTA and TPP, which can cause a lot of confusion and debate in the marketplace on matters of sovereignty. Some fear provisions in these agreements give investors, that ARE NOT nationals, more of a voice on policy matters than citizens in our nation. This decision shows that, that is NOT the case. When foreign, multinational corporations set up shop, they agree to follow the laws of the land they operate within. They are not given special status.
The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act has been in place for more than a century and it doesn’t just benefit individual consumers that find themselves in dire straits. In recent years we have seen large corporations like those in the automotive and banking industries find financial protection within these statutes. It’s given these companies the ability to reorganize and continue to operate their businesses. Likewise, for consumers that find themselves in over their heads, we are thankful we live in a country that gives people a second chance to reorganize their lives and continue to thrive after falling into financial troubles.
407 ETR has been ignoring our laws on how companies are to treat consumers for far too long. It’s about time the wind is taken out of their sails. This decision heps level the playing field for consumers. Prior to this decision, it seemed regardless of what our consumer protection laws said, this company exerted themselves like as if they were above the law. Their chosen business model doesn’t mean we have to change our laws to suit them. They set up shop here and promised to follow the laws of the land they operated within. They failed to do so. This ruling pulled a few of the company’s teeth and their bite isn’t so bad anymore. Thousands of consumers will now be free from this company once and for all!
We wait to hear from Class Action lawyers with respects to the certification of their lawsuit against the company. We aren’t finished with this company yet.