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407 ETR SUPREME COURT OF CANADA DECISION STILL PENDING

September 5, 2017

It seems that the Supreme Court is really moving slowly on resolving this issue.

The question at hand for the Supreme Court is largely the supremacy of legislation and whether or not the Federal Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act effectively trumps Provincial Statutes such as the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.

But there is a far more important issue underlying the decision and that is the ruin of people’s lives.  People who have arrears of payment, bankrupt or otherwise, for using toll roads frequently find that they cannot renew their license plates until the bill is paid which can, and does, lead to a loss of employment as people are unable to commute to work.

In some cases the amounts owed can be insurmountable and non-negotiable due to the accrual of interest over many years.  We have heard reports of people owing tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges for what was once a bill of a few hundred dollars.

The fact remains that the ETR has a history of essentially sitting on its hands in terms of collecting these accounts that would otherwise be Statute barred under the Ontario Limitations ActSection 4 of the Limitations Act contemplates a term of two years as being reasonable to bring an action a person for a damage arising from an unpaid bill.  However, with firm reliance on enforcement through suspension under the Highway Traffic Act the 407 ETR appears to fail or neglect to pursue statutory remedies within that timeframe.