Photo Radar – Ontario Liberals are Re-Introducing it into the Highway Traffic Act

Update: see previous post – November 7, 2010 Photo Radar et al, October 21, 2010 Photo Radar In Quebec, August 27, 2010 Photo Radar in Scarborough

Here we go again.

CONSTRUCTION ZONE - PHOTO RADAR BEGINS

The McGuinty government wants to re-introduce Photo Radar in Ontario.

In 2004 McGuinty thought that by re-introducing Photo Radar in Ontario, he could generate revenue to fight the Provincial deficit, but did not implement this hated technology. In 2007, when the question of implementing Photo Radar was raised, McGuinty said “no” to this idea.

Norm Kelly, a City Councillor (a former Liberal MP in Ontario) for Ward 40 Scarborough – Agincourt was pushing for photo radar back in August 2010 in a school zone in his riding and in an attempt to remove the stigma associated with Photo Radar, wants to give Photo Radar a new name “electronic traffic management”.

When the mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion announced in 2008 that the City of Mississauga was considering Photo Radar, McGuinty reacted unenthusiastically.

On March 12, 2009 it was reported that the City of Mississauga’s City Council voted 7-2 the previous day to take no action on a staff report recommending a four-year, $6.5 million Photo Radar project.

At that time, a spokeperson for Jim Bradley, Ontario’s Transportation Minister, Nicole Lippa-Gasparro said “Photo radar is not something this government is considering in the province at this time,”.

PHOTO RADAR by any other name (Traffic Safety Cameras) is still PHOTO RADAR. Ontario Liberal MPP - David Caplan - tabled his private members bill on Monday in hopes of bringing back something that Ontario resoundly rejected in 1995.

Now, on Monday, November 22, 2010 an Ontario Liberal MPP, David Caplan has introduced a private member’s bill, calling for legislation to allow the use of Photo Radar in highway construction zones and near schools. To avoid reminding Ontario voters of Photo Radar, Caplan has re-named it – “Traffic Safety Camera’s”.  He is very careful in the bill that he has tabled to stay away from the term “Photo Radar” and instead refers to the proposed legislation as “the Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Safety Cameras)”.

Mr. Caplan’s private bill (Bill 136, Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Safety Cameras), 2010) carried in its first reading on November 22, 2010.

Currently the Highway Traffic Act’s PART XIV.1
PHOTO-RADAR SYSTEM EVIDENCE refers to Photo Radar in Sections 205.1(1) to 205.14. Mr. Caplan is attempting to rename the current “Photo Radar” as “Safety Camera’s”. Mr. Caplan is attempting to amend section 205 of the Highway Traffic Act to remove “photo radar” and replace it with “safety camera” – these are the changes that Mr. Caplan is attempting to insert into the Highway Traffic Act:

2. Subsection 13 (3) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” at the end and substituting “safety camera”.

4. The heading immediately before section 205.1 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

PART XIV.1 Safety Cameras And Safety Camera Evidence

5. Subsection 205.1 (1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Safety cameras, non-municipal highways

(1) The Minister may require that a safety camera is used in any construction zone designated under subsection 128 (8) and any community safety zone designated under subsection 214.1 (2).

Safety cameras, municipal highways

(1.1) The council of a municipality may by by-law require that a safety camera is used in any construction zone that the municipality designates under subsection 128 (8.1) and any community safety zone that the municipality designates under subsection 214.1 (1).

Use of safety cameras

(1.2) A safety camera that is required to be used under subsection (1) or (1.1) shall be used in accordance with the regulations.

Safety camera evidence

(1.3) Subject to subsection (2), a photograph obtained through the use of a safety camera is admissible in evidence in a proceeding under the Provincial Offences Act respecting an alleged offence under section 128 of this Act if the alleged offence was committed within a construction zone designated under subsection 128 (8) or (8.1), a community safety zone designated under subsection 214.1 (1) or (2) or any other area of Ontario designated by the regulations.

6. Section 205.2 of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” and substituting “safety camera”.

7. (1) Subsection 205.3 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” at the end and substituting “safety camera”.

(2) Subsection 205.3 (2) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” at the end and substituting “safety camera”.

(3) Subsection 205.3 (3) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” and substituting “safety camera”.

8. Section 205.6 of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” and substituting “safety camera”.

9. (1) Subsection 205.8 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” at the end and substituting “safety camera”.

(2) Subsection 205.8 (2) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” and substituting “safety camera”.

10. Subsection 205.9 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” and substituting “safety camera”.

11. Clause 205.10 (2) (a) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” and substituting “safety camera”.

12. Section 205.12 of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” and substituting “safety camera”.

13. (1) Subsection 205.13 (3) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” at the end and substituting “safety camera”.

(2) Subsection 205.13 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” and substituting “safety camera”.

14. Section 205.14 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Regulations, safety cameras and safety cameras evidence

205.14 The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,

(a) prescribing what constitutes a safety camera;

(b) governing the use of safety cameras for the purposes of subsection 205.1 (1.2);

(c) designating areas of Ontario for the purposes of subsection 205.1 (1.3);

(d) prescribing what constitutes evidence of ownership of a vehicle for purposes of this Part;

(e) prescribing what constitutes a photographic equivalent of a photograph for the purposes of section 205.6;

(f) prescribing the form of certificate that a conviction has been struck out.

15. Part XIV.1 of the Act is amended by adding the following section:

Exemption, demerit point system

205.14.1 No demerit points shall be recorded in respect of a person who is convicted of an offence under section 128 of this Act if the conviction is based on a photograph obtained through the use of a safety camera.

16. (1) Subsection 207 (6) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Owner liability, safety camera evidence

(6) The owner of a motor vehicle shall not be charged as an owner with an offence under section 128 unless the evidence of the offence is obtained through the use of a safety camera.

(2) Subsection 207 (7) of the Act is amended by striking out “photo-radar system” and substituting “safety camera”.

Photo Radar’s Background in Ontario:

NDP Premier Bob Rae, the 21st Premier of Ontario, introduced photo radar into Ontario in the early 90’s and incorporated it into the Highway Traffic Act through Ontario Regulations ONTARIO REGULATION 500/94 and ONTARIO REGULATION 333/95:

(2) A photo-radar system is a device that,

(a) calculates in kilometres per hour the rate of speed at which a subject motor vehicle is being driven by measuring the relative movement between the device and the subject motor vehicle;

(b) takes a photograph of the subject motor vehicle, whether or not other vehicles are in the camera’s field of view, at the moment of calculation of the rate of speed at which the subject motor vehicle is being driven;

(c) shows or superimposes on the photograph the rate of speed at which the subject motor vehicle is being driven, together with the date and time at which the photograph is taken and the rate of speed calculated. O. Reg. 500/94, s. 1 (2).

When the Rae government introduced the Photo Radar Bill, Bill 47,(Provincial Offences Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993, Bill 47) they stated that it was not a revenue grab or a tax grab and in fact, it would be revenue-neutral. On June 9, 1993 the Minister of Transportation introduced this Photo Radar Bill to the Ontario Legislature.

The Bill passed and allowed for the government to create a 6 month pilot project to test out this new Bill, which allowed police to utilize photographic technology to capture motor vehicles in photographs, which would then be sent to the vehicle’s registered owners residential address and allow police to introduce these photograph’s in court, to support the allegation, as evidence against the vehicle’s owner.

Many Ontarians considered the concept of photo-radar pervasive and Orwellian.

The government at the time said that the scheme for photo-radar is that the owner of the vehicle would be charged and that will be connected to the plate holder who has his plates on the vehicle. As a result of a conviction, those plates will not be able to be validated until the fine that’s assessed in respect to the speeding offence is paid, and no new permit can be issued. That was the system in place for parking violations, and that same system would be extended by the legislation to validation of plates in respect to photo-radar speeding offences. There would be no suspension of privileges or the right to obtain your driver’s licence as a result of the owner offence of photo-radar speeding. Non-payment of the fine would have no impact upon a driver’s licence. It would only affect the vehicle permit of the vehicle that was involved in the infraction.

At the time, a strobe light was used to snap the rear plate of the alleged speeding vehicle and a picture with the ticket, was sent to the owner of the vehicle. Now, technology has changed to allow photo-radar equipment to use infrared light, no longer visible to the driver, that can snap the rear or front plate of the vehicle.

Mr. Collin Brittan (former O.P.P. police officer with 25 years experience) Superintendent Colin Brittan, director of the government of Ontario’s integrated safety project, headed the Photo Radar pilot project. Six GMC minivans were purchased by the O.P.P. and were equipped with Gastonomer Photo radar units.(Gatsometer Gatso Radar units Type 24 with traffic camera types AUS or AUS-D for mobile and stationary controls.).

The O.P.P began using the vans to nail driver’s beginning on August 15, 1994 in Toronto’s GTA.

In January 1995, the Ontario transportation ministry released a preliminary four-month study showing photo radar had reduced speeding on highways.

The program also gave the government a bang for its buck, costing $4.5 million but scooping more than $19 million in revenue.

Ontario Conservative leader, Mike Harris promised to scrap Photo Radar if elected Premier. On June 8, 1995 the Common Sense Revolution leader, was elected as the 22nd Premier of Ontario.

Harris appointed Bob Runciman as Ontario’s Solicitor General. Runciman announced that he was going to scrap the Photo Radar program, which he did. Bob Runciman has since been appointed to the Senate of Canada.

Kathleen Wynne - Ontario's Minister of Transportation

Update: November 22, 2010 – Ontario Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne is now suggesting that the McGuinty Government has no plans on re-instituting photo radar, even on a limited basis, as proposed by Caplan.

Update: November 30, 2010 – New town councillor seeking return of photo-radar


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