The Fight to Reign in 407 ETR Continues

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Image source: http://407etr-abuseofpower.com/

BY TAMMY FLORES

An open letter to: Minister of Transportation, Steven DelDuca.

In response to my repeated plea for you to intervene in the 407 ETR fiasco, January 18th, 2016, Ministry of Transportation Analyst, Chris Conroy stated “it is unclear on what grounds the Minister of Transportation would have to take action against the private company”.

Mr. DelDuca, perhaps if my repeated questions were answered on the responsibilities the Ministry has to hold 407 ETR accountable for ignoring consumer protection laws and my questions surrounding who gave 407 ETR permission to legally hound drivers and charge fees and interest for up to fifteen years and where that permission is written, I think we can better understand how you, the Minister of Transportation, can take action against a private company that keeps ignoring consumer protection laws.

Mr. Conroy said, “while I appreciate your ongoing concerns and feelings that you have not been provided with adequate responses, it is clear from the repetition of your enquiries that the information already provided by the Ministry of Transportation remains unacknowledged.”

In my email to the Ministry of Transportation, January 7th, 2016, I said, “you gave answers that DID NOT address the responsibilities the Ministry has to hold 407 ETR accountable for ignoring consumer protection laws”.

Mr. Conroy’s statement is incorrect. I acknowledge that the Ministry of Transportation gave me information; however the information provided didn’t answer my questions on the responsibilities the Ministry of Transportation has to hold 407 ETR accountable for ignoring consumer protection laws.

I can go back in the e-mails between myself and the Ministry of Transportation over the years and point out how the Ministry of Transportation put me off to the Ministry of Consumer Services because it was felt my “repetitive inquiries” would be better suited for them to answer. The Ministry of Consumer Services passed the buck back to the Ministry of Transportation. They said the Ministry of Transportation is the regulatory body and as such, the responsibility falls under the Ministry of Transportation’s jurisdiction to address this. To date, I still have no answer.

Mr. Conroy says, “The Ministry of Transportation has yet to receive evidence, other than your repeated general assertions, that it has failed to comply with applicable laws.”

What does listing the responsibilities the Ministry of Transportation has, to hold 407 ETR accountable for ignoring consumer protection laws, have to do with assertions that the 407 ETR failed to comply with applicable laws?

407 ETR agreed they would follow all the laws of Ontario and Canada when they signed the agreement to build and operate Highway 407. Most definitely, 407 ETR ignored the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act for many, many years. This is not an assertion. An assertion is a positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason. The most recent Supreme Court ruling demonstrated that the company was not exempt from the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. 407 ETR DID NOT comply with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act for many years. My statement that they ignored consumer protection laws is not an assertion. It’s a fact!

Why isn’t the Ministry of Transportation prepared to see this as a failure, on 407 ETR’s part, to comply with applicable laws?

Accusing me of “general assertions” doesn’t negate the fact that the Ministry of Transportation has a responsibility to hold 407 ETR accountable for ignoring consumer protection laws.

The Ministry of Transportation has failed to answer my question regarding what responsibilities the Ministry of Transportation has to hold 407 ETR accountable for ignoring consumer protection laws.

Mr. Conroy said, “You ask about former Minister of Transportation Jim Bradley’s comments, which you have indicated asks 407 ETR to comply with applicable laws.”

This statement is incorrect. In my November 23rd, 2015 and December 2nd, 2015 and January 7th, 2016 e-mail, I pointed out former Minister of Transportation, Jim Bradley’s comments in a Toronto Star article from December 1st, 2009 where he said, “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.”

I also made reference to the company’s comments that they had permission to do this. While former Minister of Transportation, Jim Bradley’s comments do not address the predatory business practices the company continues to entrap the public with, I still want to know where he got his information and where it is written. I also want to know who gave the company permission to hound people for fifteen years. 407 ETR said they were given permission to conduct themselves in this way. Who gave it to them?

I pointed out, in my many communications with the Ministry of Transportation, that I wanted answers because I have been essentially left in debtor’s prison, through absolutely no fault of my own and the province doesn’t seem to give a damn.

My questions on the former Minister of Transportation’s comments remain unanswered.

I acknowledge that Mr. Conroy responded to this question by saying “As mentioned previously, the Ministry of Transportation has yet to receive evidence, other than your repeated general assertions, that it has failed to comply with applicable laws. You mention specifically the court decision regarding the limitations period. As explained previously, this statute limits the period of time during which a party may commence court proceedings in Ontario in respect of a claim. Please note that the Limitations Act, 2002 specifically states that it applies to court proceedings. The Limitations Act, 2002 does not address or relate to plate denial. We have not received comments from members of the public that 407 ETR commenced a court proceeding against them outside the two year limitations period.”

But again, this does not answer my question on who gave the company permission to conduct themselves in this manner. Nor does this answer where former Minister of Transportation, Jim Bradley, got his information.

Who gave 407 ETR permission and where was that permission written that enables the company to legally hound drivers and charge fees and interest for up to fifteen years?

Since nobody at the Ministry of Transportation has been able to answer my questions, I am appealing to you. I feel the answer to these questions will assist the Ministry of Transportation’s ability to intervene in the 407 ETR fiasco.

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