Montreal’s “Unsigned” Parking Tickets, are they valid?

Montreal lawyer, Madame Marie-Helene Lamoureux (pictured above) is appealing Justice Pierre G. Bouchards decision to the Quebec Superior Court
Montreal lawyer, Madame Marie-Helene Lamoureux (pictured above) is appealing Justice Pierre G. Bouchard's decision to the Quebec Superior Court


At the Montreal Municipal Court in June 2009, the Court heard Montreal lawyer, Marie-Helene Lamoureux, argued that parking tickets are legal documents which could have enough power to impound a car and all legal documents must be signed. She went on to say that the tickets generated by the City’s new electronic ticketing system are invalid, given that Montreal’s 206 parking inspectors, do not sign the parking tickets.

Justice Pierre G. Bouchard in Montreal’s Municipal Court who heard Ms. Lamoureux’s argument in June 2009 disagreed with this notion. He ruled that as long as the electronic tickets being generated and printed included the identification of the issuing agent (normally parking inspectors) that that was enough to prove that a parking infraction had occurred.

This new system of generating electronic tickets has been in place now for a year and a half and during that time, the City of Montreal has issued tens of thousands of these tickets. If, after the dust settles, it is determined that parking tickets are invalid if they are not signed, then the City of Montreal stands to lose tens of millions of dollars on those tickets issued, since this new ticketing system was introduced about eighteen months ago. The City of Montreal increased its’ parking ticket fines commencing October 1, 2009.

Undeterred by Judge Pierre G. Bouchard’s ruling, Lawyer Marie-Helene Lamoureux has appealed his decision to the  the Quebec Superior Court. An appeal date is coming up  in November, where  Marie-Helene Lamoureux will reiterate the same argument she made and lost in front of Judge Pierre G. Bouchard in June.

Marie-Helene Lamoureux has already announced that if she is successful at the Quebec Superior Court in November, 2009 she will utilize that decision to launch a class action suit, which potentially involve tens of thousands of motorists who received these unsigned tickets, receiving their monies back for the illegal fine they received. Most of the tickets issued amounted to a thirty dollar ($30.00) fine.

Update: April 21, 2010 – This issue has travelled through the Courts (it was lost in the Quebec Superior Court in February, 2010) and The Court of Appeal of Quebec (the highest court in Quebec and the court of last resort) has agreed to hear this case. Here is the story, but given that it is in French, I have used the Google Translator, which has translated the story below in English:

French to English translation

April 20, 2010 (Le Journal de Montréal)
New Legal Test for Electronic Ticketing

Believing that the case “raises questions of law, the Court of Appeal yesterday decided to examine the validity of the new electronic ticketing is not personally signed the Montreal Police.

“It’s a great victory”, launched yesterday the lawyer Marie-Helene Lamoureux, who is a truck driver who had been put one of these new tickets without a signature, two years ago for speeding.

If it is a victory, Mr. Lamoureux is still far from an acquittal for his client.

It will be recalled that in fact this lawyer, specializing in challenging violations of the Code of the road, had lost his case in municipal court in August 2009.

She was then sent to the superior court, but she had lost again in February.

Nevertheless, the Court of Appeal decided to hear the case.

“Without commenting on the chances of success of the appeal, wrote Justice Marie-France Bich, I believe that the issues that are of general interest, should be submitted to the Court, which has never actually had occasion to rule on the subject. ”

Question of Law

The new findings of infringement for those who were lucky not to see, are issued in February 2008, the printers installed in patrol cars SPVM, among others.

Other police agencies use them, but added some signature of the officer’s hand.

“My contention,” says Mr. Lamoureux is that they are invalid because they have no signature is invalid as either a check without a signature. ”

The Department of Justice does not share his opinion. For him, the electronic signature is like a traditional handwritten signature, as required by law on the legal framework for information technology.

“This is a serious issue,” she said. This is new technology and the Court of Appeal decided to address the issue. ”

When the Court of Appeal makes their final decision in this matter, it will be found at this link.

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  1. Alas, it sounds like you will be in Toronto after Tony and I have left for the States, oethrwise I would have loved to meet up with you to show you a bit of T.O. while you were here! Granted, I haven’t lived here fulltime for 7 years, but I still manage to find my way around. Agree with seeing Queen West, though I would also recommend wandering around Chinatown (which is north of Queen West on Spadina Ave), as it’s a really good one. There won’t necessarily be tons of veg food there, but it’s still really colorful and there are some Chinese bakeries where you can get sweets for cheap and not fear they’ll have meat in them. Also, I’ve been told by many people that Toronto has some of the best Indian food, so you might want to plan on an Indian meal (which will have tons of veg options) while you’re in town. You could also pop by the St Lawrence Market while you’re downtown, and the Bata Shoe Museum is pretty neat (and is near the University of Toronto campus) and has the added bonus of being absolutely free.

  2. I got a story about a loop hole that allows the city of Quebec to charge innocent people for tickets they never got. Not really related to this story but has “Parking Ticket” in it :)

    A year ago I was sent a notice to my apartment stating that I did not pay for a parking ticket on a street located in Quebec city. The problem is I never drove my car to Quebec during that time nor ever before that and I am the only driver. The other issue is I was at work here in Montreal at the time of the infraction. To make this even more silly, the colour on file is beige and my car is dark brown. The ticket was of 25$ but became 45$ since I “apparently” did not pay for this invisible ticket. After months of emailing and calling they finally agreed that I would send them a letter pleading not-guilty with all the extra details proving my case. I was sent an email confirming they received my registered letter and that an investigation has begone.

    Several months passed without hearing from them. This Sunday as I was going to pay for my drivers license since it was my birthday I get the greatest gift of all, my license was suspended by the wonderful city of Quebec. Once again I give them a call to find out they have no clue about this matter and that now the ticket is at 195$. Yet again they tell me they will “investigate” and call me back. No one called me back so I decide to call them myself. I found out they do have the email claiming my letter got there, but they lost the actual letter (magically evaporated). After a long conversation they claim that these mistakes were on their behalf and that they will remove my suspension, however if I want to remove the ticket (which is not my fault and never was but somehow was attached to my license plate) I have to pay 75$ (a lowered payment on their end) or go to court in Quebec ( a 20$ fee + around 100$ gas money). Basically there is no way out of this one!

    I would like to make this public since I believe innocent people such as myself might be wrongfully targeted so that the city of Quebec can make easy money. Why innocent people should pay money/time/stress for some loop hole in their system. How can they force me to pay for a mistake they made even suspending my license for it. Soon they will be placing innocent people in jail, who knows what could be the next letter you get by mail…

    Whoever knows how to get out of this craziness please contact me.

  3. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  4. Hi Chris: I have communicated with the lawyer’s office that is handling this matter and I am waiting to hear back from her.

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