City of Toronto Considering Installing “Rumble Strips”


The City of Toronto is planning on developing a bike path on both the north and south sides of Lawrence Avenue East from Victoria Park Avenue, east to Rouge Hills Drive on the Pickering border. This road construction, to install the these extensive bike paths, would commence in 2009 and would continue through to 2010, until the construction is completed.

In order to safely segregate motor vehicles from bicycles, that will use the newly designed bike path, the City of Toronto has decided to look at various safety options, including “noise strips” or “rumble strips”. Rumble strips are created when grooves are cut into the pavement and create a staccato noise when motor vehicles drive on that stretch of road. These “rumble strips” have traditionally been utilized on major highways and expressways and remind a driver, when they drive on these rumble strips that they are driving on the shoulder of the highway or expressway. This normally wakes up motorists who begin to fall asleep and begin to veer off the highway.

City Councillor Adrian Heaps, Chairperson of the Toronto Cycling Committee stated “We’re looking at some kind of demarcation that is safe for cars and safe for bikes”.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season and a wonderful “2009” New Year. Drive safely.

Source: news

April 18, 2010 – Bikes over Motor Vehicles

April 23, 2010 – Bike messenger receives a $325.00 ticket when she travels through a red light on her bike.

Will New Quebec Winter Tire Law Soon be Rolling into Ontario?


Tire in the snow

There is now a law that requires mandatory winter tires on motor vehicles in Quebec during a three (3) month period (December 15 to March 15 inclusive):

Section 440.1 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code was passed September 17, 2008 and it provides that:

“Between 15 December to 15 March, the owner of a taxi or passenger vehicle registered in Québec may not put the vehicle into operation unless it is equipped with tires specifically designed for winter driving, in compliance with the standards prescribed by government regulation. The prohibition also applies to any person renting out passenger vehicles not equipped with that type of tires. (…)”

It is important to remember that tires specifically designed for winter driving constitute a safe solution for driving in winter. They are designed to provide maximum grip on snow and ice covered surfaces.

How many winter tires must be used?

All the tires on the vehicle must be tires specifically designed for winter driving.

Are vehicles from outside of Québec affected by this measure?

No, with the exception of certain rental vehicles. The legislative provision applies to vehicles (taxis and passenger vehicles) registered in Québec, as well as to passenger vehicles that are rented in Québec (regardless of where they are registered).

Are demerit points deducted for such offences?


What is the consequence of not having installed winter tires on your motor vehicle between the period of December 15 and March 15 of the following year?

There are fines that range from $200 to $300.

How many vehicles will this mandatory measure (winter tires) affect?

This measure applies to all passenger vehicles and taxis registered in Québec, as well as all passenger vehicles rented in Québec. Depending on the number of vehicles registered, it can be estimated that approximately 4.5 million vehicles will be affected by this measure. According to our data, 90% of passenger vehicles already have winter tires.

However, it is important to note that the definition of passenger vehicle specified in the Regulation respecting road vehicle registration differs from that specified in the HSC. The latter stipulates that a passenger vehicle is a “motor vehicle designed for the transportation of not more than nine occupants at a time, where such transportation does not require a permit from the Commission des transports du Québec.” It is therefore very difficult to assess with precision the number of vehicles effected. This is all the more true given that some vehicles that are rented in Québec may be registered outside of Québec.

In which cases does the mandatory requirement to equip vehicles with tires specifically designed for winter driving not apply?

Winter tires are not mandatory for:

1. the emergency tires on taxis or passenger vehicles;
2. motorcycles used as emergency vehicles within the meaning of section 4 of the Highway
Safety Code;
3. passenger vehicles or taxis at the time of purchase from a vehicle retailer and for a period of
seven days from the date of acquisition (the driver must keep the sales contract for the
vehicle or a copy of the latter handy);
4. passenger vehicles with temporary registration plates (X plate) delivered in accordance with
the Regulation respecting road vehicle registration;
5. passenger vehicles with a temporary registration certificate (transit) delivered in accordance
with the Regulation respecting road vehicle registration for the validity period indicated on the
certificate, not exceeding a period of seven days from the date of issue of this certificate;
6. motor homes, or vehicles that have been permanently outfitted as dwellings;
7. passenger vehicles and taxis for which the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec
(SAAQ) has issued certificates (see question 7).

From December 15 to March 15, ALL tires mounted on a TAXI or PASSENGER VEHICLE must be specifically designed for winter driving.

Studded tires are not covered by the Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving, and they are still permitted from October 15 to May 1.

Tires approved under the Regulation:

The Regulation introduced by the government followed the Transport Minister’s consultations with several groups, including the Association des marchands de pneus du Québec, representatives of the Ministry of Transport itself, CAA-Quebec, certain tire merchants associations, etc. These specialists made recommendations, most of which were adopted by the government.

The snowflake icon is used as a reference for enforcement of the Act because it supposedly denotes that the adherence of the tire bearing that icon is 110% superior to that of a benchmark all-season tire. However, that standard, established by Transport Canada in 1999, should be modified in the near future to ensure the safety of Canadians on our roads, because it is obsolete. Upgrading the standard will surely eliminate several tires on which manufacturers have affixed the symbol without their adherence having been proved. By 2009, these standards will be re-evaluated by the Standards Council of Canada with a view to rendering use of the logo consistent.

Since the goal of the Regulation is to improve road safety, it goes without saying that tires that do not meet these criteria should not be used for winter driving. When the temperature drops below 7°C, all-season tires start to lose their elasticity, which results in poorer traction, handling and braking capacity. Winter tires, on the other hand, retain their elasticity at temperatures far below 7°C. Lastly, it must not be forgotten that modern vehicles are equipped with safety features (ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, and so forth), which work properly only if the vehicle is equipped with tires providing the proper adherence.

Section 7 of the Regulation defines which tires will be acceptable as tires specifically designed for winter driving:


Tires on which one of the following inscriptions appears:

Alaska | Arctic | A/T or AT | Blizzard | Ice | LT | Nordic

Snow (but not Mud & Snow) | Stud | Ultratraction | Winter


Tires on which the mountain and snowflake icon appears.


Tires on which the mountain and snowflake icon appears.

Transport Québec : Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving.

There is talk that the Ontario Government is considering similar legislation in Ontario. How long will this take to be implemented in Ontario?

For more information see Transport Quebec

Update: December 27, 2009 – In Calgary the fine for delaying traffic with non-winter tires is about $70, plus demerit points on the driver’s licence. There is one Calgary alderman proposing a German-style traffic law for those who refuse to don winter treads on their vehicles. This issue will be decided in 2010.

Update: December 15, 2010 – Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty rejects the idea of making Snow Tires Mandatory in Ontario.

Oshawa demonstrates Warmth and Compassion leading up to Christmas


The City of Oshawa, about 60 kilometres east of Toronto’s Old City Hall, with approximately 165,000 residents has shown warmth and compassion leading up to Christmas.

To put this in perspective, it is best to provide some background on this story and City:

Oshawa has not had the best year, given that its largest employer, General Motors (the car and truck assembly plant in south Oshawa) has fell on hard times, with the GM workers asking themselves whether they will have a job to return to in 2009.

The City of Oshawa has seen better times.  Oshawa’s mayor, John Gray, wanted to see Oshawa’s harbour developed with the assistance of the Federal Government.  In response, in September 2007 the Federal Government appointed David Crombie (who some might remember the media calling “Toronto’s tiny perfect mayor” when he was elected mayor of Toronto in 1972, 1974 & 1976) to prepare a report on the future of Oshawa’s harbour. David Crombie concluded his work in February 2008 and submitted his report to the Federal Government.  The City of Oshawa wanted to see the report, but the Federal Government was reluctant to share it.  The Mayor of Oshawa even had to go to the extent of requesting it through the Privacy Act. Crombie’s report was finally released on September 2, 2008. Crombie’s main nine (9) recommendations coincided with the City of Oshawa’s vision, with respect to the harbour.  Unfortunately, Minority Leader PM Stepen Harper’s Conservatives said “no” to the following:

1. No commitments to Crombie’s recommendations.

2. No to a timeframe for implementing Crombie’s recommendations.

3. No to any financial guarantees towards Oshawa’s Harbour.

This is surprising, given that Oshawa’s Member of Parliment is Conservative Jim Flaherty (also Canada’s Federal Minister of Finance). When the U.S. was discussing bailing out Detroit’s automakers, Jim Flaherty was not prepared to make any financial commitments to the automakers north of the border. Oshawa must have been surprised, given that it is a GM city and that its MP, Jim Flaherty seemed unconcerned about GM’s future and the future of Oshawa’s GM’s workers.

Oshawa has had its share of famous residents over the years:

Colonel Robert Samuel McLauglin, referred to as “Sam” – founder of the McLaughlin “Buick”

The Colonel’s brother, John T. McLaughlin – invented the Canada Dry Ginger Ale

Sandy Hawley – he was and is a famous jockey.

Dennis and Jerry McCrohan, members of the group “Steppenwolf”.  Both of these brothers, changed their surnames to Edmonton.  Dennis McCrohan changed his name to Dennis Edmonton and then to Mars Bonfire, when he wrote the song “Born to Be Wild” in 1968.  The lyrics of his song  reveals the fact that he was born in a Motor City:

Get your motor running

Head out on the Highway

Looking for adventure

In whatever comes our way

Despite having an uncertain future and no help from the Federal Government’s Conservative Party, led by minority Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Oshawa’s City Council started a “Toys for Tickets” pilot project in 2007.  The City of Kingston had been doing this for years and Oshawa decided to give it a shot.  The idea was simple.  Motorists that would have to pay for parking tickets received during a  specific period of time, could, instead of paying the ticket, present a toy that was equal to or exceeded the amount of their ticket (normally between $10 and $75). In 2007 the City received $1000 worth of Toys when this campaign was launched.

In 2008 the City of Oshawa decided to implement this “Toys for Tickets” despite the potential loss of three thousand dollar ($ 3000.00) loss in revenue.  The City decided that any ticket (with the exception of some tickets – disabled parking violations, etc.) issued between December 1 to 11, 2008 inclusive, with a fine of $10 to $75, could be paid off with a toy that was equal to or exceeded the fine amount associated with that parking violation.  On December 10 & 11, 2008 those with tickets were presented with this option of providing a toy for the value of their ticket. The City did well and ended up collecting toys and other gifts worth three thousand dollars ($ 3000.00).  This toys and other gifts will now be collected by those volunteering in Durham Regional Police Service’s annual food and toy drive and provided to those families in need.  The City of Oshawa has now decided to implement this campaign every year, based on the prior successes.

Oshawa has shown compassionate leadership during this economic recession. How many other cities will follow this positive example and implement their own “Toys for Tickets” campaigns?  It would certainly benefit the families and children living in other cities and would add to the Christmas experience for those in need.

See Oshawa: map

Source: news

Update: April 9/09 – Oshawa to receive 9.2 million in funding for harbour clean-up.

Facebook Protest Convinces Premier to Drop Restrictive Changes to Young Drivers in Ontario

Update: See November 20/08 Post “New Rules for Young Drivers in Ontario”

On November 17, 2008, the Liberal Government, under the leadership of Premier Dalton McGuinty, proposed changes to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, that would restrict young driver’s with their G2 licences, from driving with other young people, 19 years of age or younger. As a result, the young people protested. Their protest wasn’t out on the street, in fact, most were sitting indoors, with their computers, networking over a social network called “Facebook”.

Those affected by the restrictive legislative changes being proposed took action and started a protest on Facebook. At first Premier McGuinty dismissed this activity. But it began to grow. More and more members signed up with Facebook and joined the thousands in the online protest. Premier McGuinty attempted to stifle this growing protest by banning access to Facebook from all Ontario Government computers. This didn’t stop the momentum in the protest and it continued to grow. Many teenagers were concerned that it could completely end any car pooling they had access to (for school, for work, etc.) and make it impossible to be the designated drivers for their friends.

In the Queen’s Park legislature on Monday, December 8, 2008 the Liberal Government, faced with over 150,000 members protesting on Facebook, announced that it would no longer include the restrictions on G2 licenced drivers, with respect to the proposed passenger restrictions. When Transportation Minister Jim Bradley announced the withdrawal of the offensive, restrictive language, he added that those living in Northern Ontario and rural areas don’t have a lot of public transportation and there are considerable distances to travel in some of these areas.

This is the proposed legislation that is being withdrawn (the current G2 language and the proposed G2 language):

G2 Requirements Current Proposed
G2 Length Minimum of 12 months Minimum of 18 Months
G2 Passengers Teen G2 Drivers can carry Prohibit Teen G2 Drivers
  passengers from midnight from carrying more than
  to 5:00 a.m. as follows: one passenger aged 19
    and under all day during
  First Six months: G2 the first year of G2.
  drivers 19 or older can  
  carry only one passenger There would be
  aged 19 or under. exemptions for family
    members or an
  There are exemptions for accompanying driver who
  family members or an meets the requirements
  accompanying driver who of an accompanying
  meets the requirements of driver in G1.
  an accompanying driver  
  in G1  

Whoever said that “internet democracy” wasn’t effective and didn’t work?!

see story

Toronto Parking Authority Strike December 20, 2008?


The collective agreement between the City of Toronto and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 416, representing the workers at the Toronto Parking Authority, expired on March 31, 2008. The Bargaining Committee of Local 416 CUPE met with the City of Toronto almost a dozen times prior to filing for conciliation and on four (4) occasions since the Ministry of Labour appointed a Conciliation Officer.

The former president of Local 416, Brian Cochrane, who had been the local president since the creation of Local 416 CUPE in 1997 recently stepped aside and Mark Ferguson, who was vice-president at the time, became the Local’s 2nd President.

CUPE Local 416 President Mark Ferguson wants a fair collective agreement. On December 7, 2008 the Toronto Parking Authority workers voted 80% in favour of going on strike, as early as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, December 20, 2008, when the Union is in a legal strike position.

Almost 50% of the Toronto Parking Authority workers are students, out of the almost 300 Toronto Parking Authority workers across the City. The City of Toronto refuses to provide any benefits to these workers and in negotiations refused to offer any benefits or pay in lieu of benefits. The Union requested an additional holiday day and the City of Toronto refused.

Earlier this year the City of Toronto spoke of their intentions to begin to sell off City of Toronto assets in a report named the “Blue Ribbon Report”. Local 416 believes that there is a distinct possibility that the City of Toronto may be thinking of selling the Toronto Parking Authority or contracting it out to private companies. In response to this real possibility, Local 416 had contract demands on a “no contracting out” provision in their collective agreement, as well as a “job security” provision, in the event that the City of Toronto decided to sell the Toronto Parking Authority. The City of Toronto flatly refused to agree to these contract demands. City News

Local 416 is 100% committed to trying to bargain a collective agreement with the assistance of a provincially appointed mediator. Mediation is tentatively scheduled for December 18 & 19, 2008.

For more information Local 416 CUPE

The Toronto Parking Authority’s $10 million folly: To stop rampant use of invalid credit cards to obtain free parking, the TPA approved a $10 million purchase of new credit card readers in 2006 for its 2,700 pay-and-display meters on city streets.

The cost was about $3,840 each – by far the priciest card readers we could find in weeks of research. To the embarrassment of the TPA, we revealed that the new readers were no less vulnerable to bogus cards than the ones they replaced.

It took the parking authority at least six months to find a way to get their card readers to refuse our cancelled credit card. Even today, the meters are ripe for the picking. (This is an exerpt from the Toronto Star)