A York Regional Police Officer Charged After Observed Driving south in the northbound lanes of Highway 400

Update:

When Ontario Provincial Police showed up, they smelled alcohol and demanded Lee take a breathalyzer test, the appeal said. His blood-alcohol readings were .08 and .077, within the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s “warn range.” As a result, Mr. Lee was subsequently charged with Dangerous Driving.
Ontario Provincial Police charged an off-duty York Regional Police officer with impaired, dangerous driving on Highway 400 and failure to provide a breath sample.

see source

Vodka accompanied by a car key (not the brand of alcohol that Mr. Lee claimed he was drinking after the accident) After being charged by the OPP with Dangerous Driving, it was Mr. Lee's evidence that he consumed alcohol after he drove home following an accident wherein he drove into a sign on the highway. Given that the Crown could not prove that he drove prior to the accident, Superior Court Justice Robert F. Scott overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial.

Ontario Provincial Police charged an off-duty York Regional Police officer with impaired and dangerous driving on Highway 400.

Barrie OPP Const. Graeme Knox said officers responded to a call shortly after midnight on Monday, Jan. 11 from a concerned motorist who saw a vehicle heading south in the northbound lanes of Highway 400 in Oro-Medonte.

“We received a driving complaint and stopped him south of Forbes Road,” Knox said.

The courts have confirmed again and again, that “a police officer is on duty at all times”.

Colin Smith, 42, of Tiny Township has been charged with impaired driving, dangerous driving of a motor vehicle and failure to provide a breath sample.

Knox said a police cruiser was not involved in the incident, but a personal car was impounded for 90 days.

While Cons. Laura Nicolle of York police said she can’t confirm an officer was charged, she did note that an officer who has been with York police since 2004, with the same name and age has recently been suspended with pay.

Don't drink and drive. The consequences may be more than anyone is prepared to handle. The province spends $2.4-million annually on R.I.D.E., an amount that was doubled from $1.2 million in 2007-08. Stops have risen accordingly, from 505,733 in 2007-08 to 1,016,786 in 2011/12. Police laid 693 impaired charges, up from 652 in 2010-11 and 294 in 2009-10.

Ontario: Hospital Parking Fees Finally Frozen & Reduced

Update: see previous posts – December 29, 2012 Oshawa City Council Passes Motion for Province of Ontario to Set Cap on Hospital Parking at $8 a Day, October 13, 2012 Cancer Patient Sick of Paying for Parking at the Hospital Where He Receives Treatment, December 1, 2011 Canadian Medical Association Journal Losing Patience With Hospital Paid Parking

Hospitals have been gouging hospital patients and their families for years. This is a barrier for patients requiring healthcare and in some cases, prevent families and friends from visiting family and friends that need to their loved ones by their sides in their time of need.

see source

Hospitals will also have to sell multi-day passes that are 50 per cent cheaper than the daily rate for lots that cost more than $10 a day, health minister says.

Ontario’s health minister is taking a scalpel to hospital parking rates with 50 per cent discounts for longer stays starting in October.

The directive, which also prevents hospitals from raising any parking rates for three years and then only by the rate of inflation, applies to lots and garages charging more than $10 daily, Eric Hoskins said Monday.

People should be taking care of their own health or that of a loved one and “not worried about how they’re going to afford parking,” he said at Women’s College Hospital, making good on a 2014 election promise from Premier Kathleen Wynne to tackle the thorny issue.

“Parking fees should not be a barrier to access in health care,” he added. “When patients are surrounded by loved ones they get better, faster.”

The change does not apply to what Hoskins described as “a minority” of hospitals that do not own their parking facilities, such as Sick Kids, Baycrest and the William Osler Health System, although they will be asked to give motorists a break.

Hospitals would have to provide passes good for five, 10 and 30 days that are 50 per cent cheaper than the daily rate, providing it is more than $10, and to make the passes transferable between patients and caregivers, allow in-and-out privileges and good for one year from the date of purchase.

Hoskins said hospitals in Ontario earn about $100 million a year from parking and that the impact of the cuts for patients and visitors who park regularly or frequently will be a “tiny portion” of their budgets.

The Ontario Hospital Association acknowledged there many families face “challenges” with parking but noted the government has encouraged hospitals to generate their own revenue to help cover the rising costs of delivering health care.

“The decision to cut revenues could not come at a worse time,” said Anthony Dale, chief executive of the association.

“After four years without an increase in base operating funding, hospitals are now at a turning point,” he added in a statement, calling for an increase in Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s spring budget.

“It is increasingly difficult for them to invest in other important health care priorities, such as capital improvements to their buildings, new medical and diagnostic equipment, and information and communications technology.”

Canada: Different Road Rules Across the Nation

Update:

Nope, it isn’t illegal to drive barefoot anywhere in Canada. And, yes, there really is a law that says you have to honk before passing another car in P.E.I. — but you probably won’t get fined.
Every Province has a rule that says you can’t text unless your legally parked. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

see source

Nope, it isn’t illegal to drive barefoot anywhere in Canada. And, yes, there really is a law that says you have to honk before passing another car in P.E.I. — but you probably won’t get fined.

Canada has 13 different sets of driving laws. That’s bound to make for some strange and unexpected rules. Here are a few that surprised us in 2015:

Stay within the lines in Ontario, if you feel like it: Ontario’s the only province where it’s not illegal to cross the solid lines on the highway.

“A solid line is a restrictive marking that is meant to signal to the driver that passing is unsafe,” says Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation. “In Ontario, lane markings generally serve an advisory or warning function and by themselves do not possess any legal force.”

Even though crossing the lines isn’t officially a no no, you can still be charged if you pass when it’s not safe.

Flashing your high beams won’t magically make drivers get out of your way, anywhere: There’s no law that says a slower driver has to get out of the way if you’re going faster than they are, whether you’re flashing high beams or not.

And flashing those bright lights is a pretty dim idea, says Young Drivers of Canada’s Angelo DiCicco. “You might be confusing them or you might be pissing them off — all you’re doing is annoying, distracting and putting yourself at higher risk,” DiCicco says. “There might be a reason they’re going slow — maybe they’re driving with a spare, maybe they’re on drugs.”

In B.C. and the Yukon, a flashing green light doesn’t mean you have the right of way to make a left turn: There a flashing green means the light only changes when a pedestrian pushes the button. It’s also a warning that the drivers coming from the cross streets have stop signs. “I understand it means something different in other places,” says Vancouver police Const. Brian Montague. “But here, it’s always been to show it’s a light controlled by pedestrians.”

photo by fightyourtickets.ca
photo by fightyourtickets.ca

It’s illegal to pass without honking in Prince Edward Island: In P.E.I., the law says you have to honk before passing, but isn’t usually enforced. “It’s virtually unenforced and the majority of people don’t do it,” says driving instructor Stewart Brookins. “But, it’s basically a good enough idea to make your presence known.”

You shouldn’t “lay on the horn,” but make a single or double tap before you start to pass, Brookins says. A similar law is still on the books in New Brunswick.

It’s not illegal to drive barefoot: “The driving myth we hear the most from people is that it’s illegal to drive in bare feet – but the law doesn’t say that,” says driving instructor Ian Law. “It doesn’t even say in the Highway Traffic Act that you have to wear clothes while driving.”

There are no laws that say what you can – or can’t – wear on your feet while driving a car or motorcycle. So, it’s legal to drive barefoot or wearing sandals, flip-flops or six-inch heels.

But if your footwear, or lack of it, causes you to drive erratically or get in a crash, you could be charged with careless driving.

There’s no tinted love in five provinces: In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, it’s illegal to have any tint at all on driver and passenger side windows.

“The front side windows on a vehicle are designed to shatter into small pieces the size of a fingernail upon impact,” says Alberta Transportation spokesman Bob McManus. “If you apply film over top of that glass it will not shatter correctly and will laminate into large sharp projectiles that can injure someone in the event of a collision.”

When it comes to road rules, Quebec really is a distinct society: In Quebec, you can’t cut through gas stations or parking lots to get around a red light, you can’t drive in the left lane unless you’re passing another car and you can’t leave kids under 7 in the car alone. Eating poutine behind the wheel? Potentially messy, but not illegal — no province bans eating while driving.

Yep, you can get a ticket for texting in a drive-thru in most places: After an Alberta man got into double double trouble for texting in a Tim Hortons drive-thru, we checked the rules to see where else this could, and couldn’t, happen. Every province has a rule that says you can’t text unless you’re parked.

You won’t get a ticket in Ontario and Quebec. In Ontario, the texting rule — and the rest of the Highway Traffic Act — doesn’t apply on private property. In Quebec, some driving laws apply on private property and others, like the distracted driving law, don’t. Everywhere else? You could get a ticket.

Whatever they’re called, you probably shouldn’t be riding them: Hoverboards don’t hover. Also, they catch on fire. And, in Toronto, Vancouver and a growing list of other places, you’re not allowed to ride them on streets or sidewalks.

 

Ontario Increases Vehicle Licensing Fees in 2016/17 & 2018

Update:

Licensing fees will increase beginning on January 1, 2016 and increases will continue into 2018.
Licensing fees will increase beginning on January 1, 2016 and increases will continue into 2018.

see source

The Ontario government is going to reach a little further into the pockets of drivers and vehicle owners in the new year.

The province will be moving forward with a series of driver and vehicle license fee increases set to go up on January 1st.

While driver’s license applications and renewal fees will remain unchanged, vehicle license validation, plate fees, trailers and farm vehicle permits will see owners having to shell out even more than what many already consider too much.

The annual fee for vehicle permit, number plate and validation fees for a trailer will increase from $53 to $59, while the cost of a license plate will go from $20 to $25.

The annual validation fee for heavy farm vehicles will see the biggest jump, up to $1,100 from $975. Smaller farm vehicles will go from $123 to $140.

In Southern Ontario, the cost of commercial vehicle validation for business or personal use will see an increase from $108 to $120.

The new year will also see the roll out of a new $50 fee for drivers that are required to attend demerit point interviews.

Ontario's Queens Park (above). The province says the fee increases are needed to generate additional revenue to support the maintenance of Ontario’s 16,900 kilometres of roads, highways and 2,800 bridges that connect them. They say that until last year, there had not been an increase in many fees in the previous 15 years.
Ontario’s Queens Park (above).
The province says the fee increases are needed to generate additional revenue to support the maintenance of Ontario’s 16,900 kilometres of roads, highways and 2,800 bridges that connect them. They say that until last year, there had not been an increase in many fees in the previous 15 years.

Fee Changes 2015 – 2018

Service2015201620172018
Vehicle licence validation

  • Northern Ontario
  • Southern Ontario
$54 (September 1)
$108 (September 1)
$60 (September 1)
$120 (September 1)
$60
$120
$60
$120
Driver’s licence original and renewal$81.50 (September 1)$81.50$81.50$81.50
Driver’s licence replacement (including Enhanced driver’s licence)$28 (November 1)$28$31 (January 1)$31
Driver instructor licence replacement$28 (November 1)$28$28$28
Heavy commercial vehicle validation

  • Minimum – 3,001 to 3,500 kg
  • Maximum – 63,001 to 63,500 kg
$185
$4,601
$188.75 (December 1)
$4,693 (December 1)
$188.75
$4,693
$188.75
$4,693
Commercial vehicle validation, personal use

  • Northern Ontario
  • Southern Ontario
$54 (September 1)
$108 (September 1)
$60 (September 1)
$120 (September 1)
$60
$120
$60
$120
Commercial vehicle validation, business use$108 (September 1)$120 (September 1)$120$120
Permit issue (original or replacement), motor vehicle and trailer$14$20 (January 1)$32 (January 1)$32
Farm vehicle validation

  • Minimum – 3,001 to 3,500 kg
  • Maximum – 63,001 to 63,500 kg
$123 (January 1)
$975 (January 1)
$140 (January 1)
$1,110 (January 1)
$142.75 (January 1)
$1,132.25 (January 1)
$142.75
$1,132.25
Bus validation

  • Minimum – 1 to 2,500 kg
  • Maximum – 39,001 to 40,000 kg
$120 (November 1)
$2,015 (November 1)
$120
$2,015
$122.50 (January 1)
$2,055.25 (January 1)
$122.50
$2,055.25
Vehicle number plate (i.e., licence plate)$20 (November 1)$25 (November 1)$25$27 (January 1)
Vehicle permit, number plate and validation for a trailer$53 (January 1)$59 (January 1)$72 (January 1)$72
Service plates

  • Dealer and service plates
  • Motorcycle/service plate
$156
$87
$172 (January 1)
$96 (January 1)
$172
$96
$172
$96

UberX Drivers Face New Insurance Challenges

Update:

Insurer asks policy holders: Are you driving for Uber?

Uber drivers risk two (2) separate and distinct charges under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act: Operating a commercial motor vehicle without proper insurance, and picking up a passenger for compensation without an appropriate licence. The potential penalties include fines ranging from $300 to $20,000.
Uber drivers risk two (2) separate and distinct charges under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act: Operating a commercial motor vehicle without proper insurance, and picking up a passenger for compensation without an appropriate licence. The potential penalties include fines ranging from $300 to $20,000. Uber now states that it has about 20,000 UberX drivers operating in Toronto, double the number of licenced taxi drivers.

see source

Wawanesa is asking the question directly, and won’t cover drivers who are charging for rides.

Mayor John Tory is promising that sometime next year, the city will introduce regulations that level the playing field for warring Toronto taxi and UberX drivers.

While Tory says the new rules will set out insurance requirements that are “equitable” and “consistent,” at least one Canadian insurance company isn’t waiting.

In a renewal questionnaire, Wawanesa Insurance is asking policy-holders if they are using their personal vehicles to drive for Uber or Lyft. (The latter American company does not currently operate in Toronto.)

If someone checks yes, “we would proceed with cancelling that policy following the appropriate regulations pertaining to cancellations,” Wawanesa manager Anne Barton wrote in email.

“It is not our intention to provide coverage for these risks.”

“Kudos for them because they’ve actually informed their customers correctly on this topic,” Philomena Comerford, president and CEO of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP, said Wednesday.

Toronto Taxi's lined up at hotel taxi stand. Toronto politicians and taxi industry spokespeople hope that a reduced fare will make hiring a taxi an easier option for passengers.
Licensed Toronto taxi’s lined up at a post, from where they can pick-up a customer or book a call.

Uber says it now has about 20,000 UberX drivers in Toronto, double the number of licensed taxi drivers.

“Without exception, I would hazard a guess that probably every single UberX vehicle out there is relying on personal auto insurance,” Comerford said.

“I find it amazing that nobody’s worried about the fact we’re now up to 20,000 drivers, and they’re going to be busy with everybody out at parties over Christmas, and none of them are being asked if they’re carrying passengers for hire, which violates the Highway Traffic Act.”

Some insurance brokers are tweeting links to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario’s warning that “the standard Ontario Automobile Policy excludes coverage when the automobile is used to carry paying passengers or used as a taxi.”

Users “may not be protected against certain damages, losses and liabilities.”

Uber, meanwhile, is introducing a new contract that UberX drivers must sign before they can use the company’s mobile app to pick up passengers.

“We’ve updated our terms of service to more accurately reflect our business as it is today — for example, to cover new products like UberRush and UberEats, or the fact that many drivers now own their own phone,” Uber spokeswoman Susie Heath wrote in email.

“In the process we’ve also made them simpler and easier to understand, with much less jargon. There are no significant changes.”

Comerford said the new UberX driver contract makes it crystal clear “that the UberX driver is absolutely on the hook for getting commercial insurance,” policies that can cost in the range of $4,000 to $10,000 annually.

For months, the taxi industry has been demanding the city pass regulations requiring Uber to follow the same rules as cabbies and limousines.

Insurance is mandatory for taxi drivers. Prices depend on driving record or if the vehicle is on the road 24-7.

City council has voted to bring Uber into its licensing regime and requested that the company cease operating while staff draft a regulatory framework. Uber has refused and is currently operating contrary to the city’s bylaw.