Drinking and Driving Laws Implemented in Ontario on May 1, 2009 (Bill 203)

Update:

See a previous post, posted on March 3, 2009.

Since the R.I.D.E (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) was introduced as a police procedure in 1977 in Etobicoke, Ontario (the “E” in RIDE, originally stood for Etobicoke) it has evolved, with the approval and condonation of the Supreme Court of Canada. Initially it was argued (pre-Charter) that citizen’s did not have to submit to a breath sample, under this program and to stop a motorist to perform this police procedure, was tantamount to arbitrarily detaining and imprisoning the driver – the Supreme Court disagreed (see Dedman v. The Queen);  the Supreme Court also recognized that section 48 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, gave police the legal right to stop motorists through the R.I.D.E program (see R. v. Decorte). After the Charter was implemented in Canada, a number of people argued that R.I.D.E infringed upon their Charter rights, specifically section 9 (Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned) and section 10, subsection (b) (Everyone has the right on arrest and detention (b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right) these arguments were rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada. Since that time, the law, which has become harsher and harsher in Ontario, has evolved to where it is today. It has not and will not remain static.

Prior to May 1, 2009, drivers who were pulled over and blew into a roadside breathalyzer, whose breath sample registered a blood alcohol content between 0.05 and 0.08 were subjected to a driver’s licence temporary suspension of twelve (12) hours pursuant to section 48 of the Highway Traffic Act. The most recent amendments, through Bill 203, to the Highway Traffic Act, radically change this procedure.

Many Provinces have dealt with motorists reading between .05 and .08 by impounding their vehicles and taking away their drivers’ licences for 12 hours or more. All 50 states in the United States of America have adopted legislation which makes it illegal for any driver of a motor vehicle to have 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood (0.08%) blood alcohol content, while operating a motor vehicle.  If you are apprehended by law enforcement in the States you will be arrested for DWI (Driving While Impaired or Under Influence of Alcohol or, in some instances, under the Influence of Drugs or other Intoxicants).

See Order Approving Certain Breath Analysis Instruments as Suitable for the Purposes of Section 258 of the Criminal Code (Approved Breath Analysis Instruments Order SI/85-201)

Last year a number of Ontario Regulations (287/08,405/08 & 407/08) amending the Highway Traffic Act were passed and those laws came into force effective May 1, 2009. These laws are specifically designed to deal with motorists on Ontario highways, who consume alcohol and then drive a motor vehicle.

Effective May 1 ,  2009:

Effective May 1, 2009 any motorist in Ontario who is stopped by a police officer and provides a sample of breath (breathalyzer) which registers a blood alcohol content anywhere between 0.05 and 0.08 will automatically have their driver’s licence suspended for a period of three (3) days. If the same driver is pulled over again, for a second time (within five (5) years of the first administrative suspension of their driver’s licence) and their blood alcohol content again registers anywhere between 0.05 and 0.08, the driver’s driving licence will be suspended for seven (7) days and that driver must then enroll and complete a remedial alcohol education program. If the same driver is pulled over a third time or more (within five (5) years of the last administrative suspension of their driver’s licence) and their blood alcohol content registers anywhere between 0.05 and 0.08, their driver’s licence will be suspended for thirty (30) days and they must then enroll and complete a remedial alcohol education program and will have a “ignition interlock” condition placed on their driver’s licence for a full six (6) months. There will be no mechanism to allow the driver to appeal the police officer’s decision to suspend the driver’s licence and there will be a record of the suspension on the driver’s driving record with the Ministry of Transportation for a period of five (5) years. If the driver is charged under the Criminal Code of Canada and subsequently convicted of impaired driving, the conviction remains on the driver’s record with the Ministry of Transportation for a minimum period of ten (10) years.

In addition to these suspensions noted above, each driver convicted of a second or third offence will have to undergo a Remedial Alcohol Education Program(“Back on Track”) (paid for by the driver = $606.90) and any driver convicted of a third offence will have to undergo the “Back on Track” Education Program and will also have an Install Ignition Interlock condition on their driver’s licence for six (6) months (paid for by the driver – about $750 over 6 months + taxes). The out of pocket expenses incurred for the Education Program and Ignition Interlock will pale in comparison to the increase in Auto Insurance premiums(for at least six (6) years).  Money is only money and can always be replaced, the lives of our loved ones and friends, once lost, can never be replaced.

See Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator.

On April 23, 2009 Bill 126 received Royal Assent and became law. This Bill is expected to come into force in the spring or summer of 2010. This Bill does not allow Novice or Young Driver’s (21 years and younger) to have any alcohol whatsoever in their system while operating a motor vehicle.  Here are some highlights of Bill 126:

What changes have been made to the Highway Traffic Act (the H.T.A) as a result of the enactment of Bill 126 ? :

Bill 126 increases many of the financial fines under the H.T.A (sections 106,130,144 & 146 and 200):

Seatbelts – see Section 106 of the H.T.A – fine was $60 to $500 (see general penalty) increases to $200 to $1,000

Careless Driving – see Section 130 of the H.T.A – fine was $200 to $1,000 increases to $400 to $2,000

Failure to Stop at Red Light/Red Light Camera – see Sections 144 & 146 of the H.T.A – fine was $150 to $500 this fine increases to $200 to $1,000.00

Duty of person in charge of vehicle in case of accident (remain or immediately return to scene of accident, render all possible assistance and provide particulars upon request) – see  Penalty Section 200 (2) of the H.T.A. – fine was $200 to $1,000 increases to $400 to $2,000.00

There have been a number of changes to the Highway Traffic Act, through this Bill, which are aimed at drinking and drugged driving:

Novice Drivers and Young Drivers must drive without any alcohol in their system. If they fail to do so, they will be looking at a fine of anywhere between sixty dollars ($60.00) and five hundred dollars ($500.00) if convicted of violating this new section 44.1 of the H.T.A. A young driver is defined as a driver younger than twenty-two (22) years of age. If a young driver is pulled over and it is discovered that he/she has alcohol in their system, they will be charged and in addition to the fine reflected above, upon conviction, their driver’s licence will be suspended for thirty (30) days. Novice driver’s, upon conviction will be fined and could have their licence cancelled, reclassified or suspended.

See Ontario Regulations 287/08, 405/08 and 407/08 which all came into effect on May 1, 2009.

Ontario is now boasting that it has the safest highways in North America and that the fatality rates on Ontario Highways are the lowest, in 78 years (since 1931).

Prince Edward Island is also taking steps to minimize drinking and driving.

Update: June 19, 2009- Young Driver faces a yearly insurance rate of $20,400.00, if convicted. See story

Update: September 9, 2009 – Impaired Driver sentenced to Life Sentence in Quebec.

Update: January 5, 2010 – between Nov.27/09 to Jan.4/10 over 1 million (1,174,224) motorists were pulled over by the OPP’s R.I.D.E and 298 driver’s were charged with impaired driving and 5,031 other charges were laid during this passage of time.  See the O.P.P’s January 4, 2010 news release.

University of B.C. has no legal right to issue Parking Tickets/Collect Fines

Update:

Daniel S. Barbour is an accountant from Vancouver. A few years back, the University of British Columbia provided him with a ticket, claiming that he had accumulated four (4) unpaid tickets and he disputed this. The next time he was parked, legally on the UBC campus (take a virtual tour of the UBC), his car was towed for and held ransom for $200, due to alleged unpaid parking fines. In response, he initiated a class action lawsuit against the University in 2005 and took the position that the University of British Columbia was governed by the University Act and had no authority to issue parking tickets and to then collect fines, for unpaid tickets. In response to the plaintiff’s, UBC took the position that they had the right to ticket/fine and tow motor vehicles on their property and that they would vigourously fight this lawsuit as the “respondent”.

The fight that Mr. Barbour (the “plaintiff”) began has been a long one. He first had to go to British Columbia’s Supreme Court between October 2-5, 2006 and wait for the first decision, which was released by Justice Mr. Richard Goepel on December 20, 2006. In response the UBC had to post a notice alerting people that a class action suit was taking place and making them aware of a short form notice or a long form notice and whether or not they wanted to become a member of that class action civil suit.

A second hearing took place in this matter, in The Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia between September 22-26, 2008 in the continuing case called Barbour versus The University of British Columbia. The Honourable Mr. Justice Richard B.T. Goepel presided over the class action suit and rendered his second award on March 30, 2009.

Under the Summary of his award, Justice Richard B.T. Goepel writes, in part:

The Parking Regulation Fines are ultra vires. UBC cannot enter contracts or licenses that incorporate the Parking Regulation Fines. UBC’s common law proprietary rights authorize the towing and storage of vehicles parked contrary to the Parking Regulations. UBC is entitled to collect the costs arising from such towing. UBC cannot, however, rely on its proprietary rights to charge or collect the Parking Regulation Fines. The plaintiff and other class members are entitled to restitution in the amount of the Parking Regulation Fines subject only to applicable defences under the Limitations Act, towing and storage charges and the applicability of UBC’s claim of set-off which has yet to be resolved.

Between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 2005 the University of B.C. generated 432,847 thousand illegal parking tickets. The number of tickets generated between January 1, 2006 up to and including April 1, 2009 is unclear, but based on the previous numbers, it has to be at least another 80 thousand tickets. A review of the decision means that the University of British Columbia will have to pay back hundreds of thousands of motorists (probably about $40) to each person, who paid for illegally issued parking fines, since 1990. It has been reported that the UBC will have to pay over 4 million dollars, plus pre-judgement interest, found in the Court Order Interest Act.

This is a excerpt from the first court decision, describing the areas that UBC’s PACS (Parking and Access Control Services) would descend upon, generating and issuing as many tickets as they needed to, on a regular and consistent basis:

Currently, UBC maintains three types of parking facilities:

(1)        five parkades with approximately 4,900 parking spaces;
(2)        more than forty surface lots with approximately 3,000 parking spaces; and
(3)        approximately 300 metered parking spaces.

Here is the University of British Columbia’s response to Justice Richard B.T. Goepel’s March 30, 2009 decision.

The fight  that Daniel Barbour commenced in 2005, isn’t over yet. In a University of British Columbia (UBC) April 2009 Bulletin, the UBC in the last paragraph of the Bulletin, states that they are appealing the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s decision, as constructed by the presiding Judge, Justice Mr. Richard Goepel on March 30, 2009. This response by the respondent is somewhat predictable, given the millions of dollars it will have to pay out to those who had to pay for the illegal tickets issued by the UBC’s PACS.

People who fight may lose. People who do not fight have already lost.”:author/playwright Bertolt Brecht

The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) effective January 1, 2010

Update:

The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act or “MVDA” was initially to be implemented on April 1, 2009, but the Provincial government delayed implementation of the changes to January 1, 2010. In these troubling economic and austere times, consumers require more protection than ever and cannot afford to be ripped off by unscrupulous Motor Vehicle “Dealers”. Caveat emptor (Latin – “Let the buyer beware”) always applies to consumers, but the changes in the MVDA should remind those wheeler dealers that they must respect this act and the others, that affect their ability to sell or lease new or used motor vehicles to the general public. The recent changes to the MVDA enhances consumer protection (one example: the dealer will now be required to provide full disclosure with respect to the history of the motor vehicle that you are leasing, buying from him or her).

The changes in the MVDA will require that dealers provide alot more disclosure about the motor vehicle that is for sale.   Dealers will have to provide complete disclosure with respect to the following:

  • Reveal any material fact that may influence a consumer to lease or purchase a vehicle.
  • The prior use of the vehicle (was it a taxi/limo, was it a police/emergency vehicle, was it a
    daily rental or a  leased motor vehicle).
  • Whether the vehicle has sustained damage as a result of a water damage or a fire.
  • Reveal whether the vehicle was registered in another Province/Territory or another country.
  • The total cost of repairs for any specific incident that exceeded $ 3000.00, if they know.
  • Reveal that the vehicle had been declared a total loss by an insurance company.
  • Report the negative branding classification of a vehicle (Irreparable, Salvage or Rebuilt).
  • If the motor vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system that is not operational,
    a statement to that effect; or
    If any of the motor vehicle’s airbags are missing or are not operational, a statement to that
    effect; or
    If the motor vehicle requires repair in any of the following, a statement to that effect
    a) the engine, transmission or power train,
    b) the subframe or suspension,
    c) computer equipment,
    d) the electrical system,
    e) the fuel operating system,
    f) the air conditioning.
  • Under the MVDA, the defintion of “Dealer” has been expanded to include:
    General Dealer (used and new motor vehicles), Captive Finance Companies, Brokers,Wholesalers, Exporters,
    Fleet Lessors, includes short-term lessors (daily motor vehicle rental companies).

    In the present economy, every consumer will be forced to stretch their dollar as far as it can go (especially considering the McGuinty’s Liberals decision to implement the HST by harmonizing the 8% GST and 5% PST sales tax, effective July 1, 2010 which will increase the price of numerous products & services, that were once PST exempt, such as fuel for motor vehicles ) and as such, should understand their consumer rights, under the Consumer Protection Act, before buying or selling a used motor vehicle in Ontario.

    Before purchasing a used motor vehicle, it pays to do alittle homework and research. If you want to buy or sell a used vehicle, access the Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation website for information, before you buy or sell.

    Update: January 12, 2010 – see Ontario Government’s website, which states the following:

    Improving Protection for Consumers Buying Cars

    January 12, 2010 10:30 AM

    McGuinty Government Strengthens Motor Vehicle Sales Sector

    Ontario is providing consumers with improved protections when they buy or lease new and used cars.

    The province’s new Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, 2002 (MVDA) that came into force on January 1, 2010, requires dealers to:

    • Disclose a vehicle’s true condition and history before consumers sign contracts.
    • Adopt “all-inclusive pricing” when advertising new and used vehicles, including freight, dealer preparation and other miscellaneous charges.

    Consumers will also be able to cancel a contract within 90 days if a dealer fails to disclose certain key items such as accurate odometer-readings, the correct year or model, and the previous use of the vehicle.

    Improved protection from the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund, with an increase from $15,000 to $45,000 in coverage, will also allow consumers to recover deposits should a dealership goes out of business.

    The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, 2002 is administered by the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) on behalf of the Ontario government.

    Quick Facts:
    • Sales of new motor vehicles have generally been increasing since the beginning of 2009, following a sharp decline at the end of 2008.
    • The number of new motor vehicles sold increased in eight provinces in October 2009 compared to September 2009.

    Anti-Idling By-Law by Town of Inuvik (Vehicle Idling Over 30 Minutes= $100 Fine)

    Update:

    see source

    Baby & Mother exposed to idling vehicle's harmful exhaust fumes - picture by Greenpeace

    In February 2008 the Mayor of the Town of Inuvik, Northwest Territories , Derek Lindsay, proposed to Town Council and passed an anti-idling by-law (BY-LAW #2441/PS/08) , which would fine driver’s of vehicles, who left their vehicles’ idling for more than 30 minutes, one hundred dollars ($100).

    This northern town, experiences temperatures’ of chilling record lows, as cold as – 56.7 °C (- 70.1 °F). As a result, residents are known to leave their vehicles running (example – for an hour at a time) to warm them up or to keep them warm.

    Many residents are not embracing this legislative change in their lives.

    Here are some the temperatures that Environment Canada has provided to the Town of Inuvik for Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000:

    Record low °C (°F)Jan.-54.4
    (-65.9 F)
    Feb.-56.7
    (-70.1 F)
    Mar.-50.6
    (-59.1 F)
    Apr.-46.1
    (-51 F)
    May-27.8
    (-18 F)
    Jun.-6.1
    (21 F)
    Jul.-3.3
    (26.1F)
    Aug.-6.1
    (21 F)
    Sept-20.1
    (-4.2 F)
    Oct.-35
    (-31 F)
    Nov.-46.1
    (-51 F)
    Dec.-50
    (-58 F)

    Since the by-law was passed on March 12, 2008, none of the over 3,700 residents of the town of Inuvik have received tickets for contravening the anti-idling by-law, although warnings have been issued.

    Almost a year after Inuvik passed a bylaw to fine people who idle their cars and trucks downtown, the town’s mayor says some residents are still leaving their vehicles running anyway.

    Some residents in the Arctic community of 3,700 are ignoring the bylaw, Lindsay said, leading to complaints from people who work in offices along Mackenzie Road, the town’s main street.

    “They’re having to breathe in the exhausts from those vehicles,” he told CBC News. “Those fumes end up going inside the building.”

    The bylaw has been proven difficult to enforce, especially since Inuvik has been without a bylaw officer since the summer. Lindsay said the town is currently reviewing résumés for the position.