Charter violations by the Ontario government

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Charter violations by the Ontario government

by: goldom1234 on
Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:25 pm

So the Ontario government wants to end trials for traffic ticket offences(not only parking as before).

Here is the proposed consultation. You can find a pdf outlining their proposal. ... tation.asp

Clearly this is a Charter violation. Pls email then and say no to this outrage!

Why not just end trials for ALL offences. Let the police jail, who they want, that's the most efficient.
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by: jetblue on
Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:16 am

ynotp wrote:What I don't understand after having read the document is how you get a "fair and public hearing, by an independent and impartial tribunal". How do you get a "public" hearing online?
Why wouldn't you get a fair hearing? Your getting access to "unbiased expert decision-makers". What's more fair than that? Now, if you were being judged by "biased" ones you'd have something to complain about but it all sounds really fair to me.

I checked into this and it turns out to get one of these "decision-maker" positions, all you have to do is donate at least $100 to the Ontario Liberal party in the next 12 months.

As well, I believe they are implementing this using twitter so any statement of defense will have to be within 140 characters. Remember though if you decide to include the hashtag "#charterviolation" you are down to 123 characters and might have to leave out an argument or two.

Seriously, to all the Paralegals and lawyers on this board, why am I not seeing anyone from the Ontario Paralegal Association and the Ontario Bar Association talking about this issue to the press?
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by: Radar Identified on
Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:17 pm

Keep in mind this is only a consultation process at this stage. Whether or not they go ahead with it is a totally different matter.

Some places use a sort of administrative system like this one (e.g. New York City). On the face of it, I'm not sure what to think of it, although in all likelihood they'll just turn it into a system for rubber-stamping convictions... but we'll see.
* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. * OR
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by: daggx on
Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:43 pm

I only skimmed the document so I might have missed it, but I didn't see any mention of an appeals process and I didn't see the option for an in person hearing. I think both those things are necessary to ensure fairness. The AMP systems that are already being used for parking and some by-law infractions have these options in place. I could envision a system where one files their initial dispute on line or in writing. The written dispute could then be read by a screening officer and the screening officer could render a decision based on the written evidence provided by both the ticketing officer and the accused. This system could handle simple matters without either the accused or the ticketing officer having to show up for a court date. However, if one is unhappy with the screening officer's decision their should be a way to conduct an in person hearing before an impartial arbitrator with the ticketing officer present to give testimony. If we eliminate in person hearings entirely then I think we are infringing on people's right to due process.

On a side note, if anyone is interested I've linked to descriptions of a couple of AMP systems that are already in use in Ontario. One for GO Transit the other for Niagara on the Lake. I think if an AMP system was implemented for Highway Traffic Act violations it probably wind up look something like these two. ... ess_EN.pdf ... 0E4FE81691
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by: daggx on
Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:24 am

It looks like British Columbia is moving towards an AMP system for moving violations, similar to the one proposed here. The first stages of the system are already being rolled out, however the legislation is being challenged at the Supreme Court of Canada. It looks like part of BC's AMP legislation was already struck down by the BC Court of Appeal, so it will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court does with this. My guess is that Ontario is waiting to see what happens here. If the legislation is struck down then I think Ontario will probably shelve its AMP plan, on the other hand if BC's legislation is upheld I would bet that we will see AMPs rolled out here in Ontario in short order. ... violations
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by: jsherk on
Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:57 pm

I personally am against AMP's but if BC's are being challenged at the SCC level, then that may turn out in favor of AMPs.
SCC Denies Canadians Right to Strong Presumption of Innocence

July 31, 2015 - Supreme Court of Canada Denies Canadians Right to Strong Presumption of Innocence

Toronto, ON.—In an unfortunate setback for the Charter rights of Canadians, today the Supreme Court of Canada held section 163.2 of the Income Tax Act (ITA) constitutional. The section, which imposes what are known as administrative monetary penalties (AMPs), allows government to punish citizens without granting them the benefit of being presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at a fair, public hearing, as guaranteed by subsection 11(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"The Supreme Courts decision is a blow to all Canadians who simply want the right to constitutional safeguards if they are being hit with a potentially life-ruining fine," said Marni Soupcoff, executive director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF). The CCF intervened in the case to argue that section 163.2 infringes section 11 of the Charter. "Canadians take it for granted that they will be presumed innocent unless and until their guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt before an independent judge, but the Supreme Court of Canada just took that right away in the context of AMPs."

In 2008, the Minister of National Revenue imposed an AMP of $546,747 on Ottawa lawyer Julie Guindon for making false statements in the context of a charitable donation program. Ms. Guindon argued in Tax Court that this huge penalty was invalid because she had not been given the protections afforded to accused individuals under section 11 of the Charter. The lowest court agreed, but its decision was reversed on appeal, so Ms. Guindon appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. The CCF obtained leave to intervene on the question of whether section 163.2 infringes section 11 of the Charter. In its submissions to the Supreme Court, the CCF asked that the Court look at the effect of an AMP, and argued that if its a big enough fine – for example, more than $10,000 for an individual – then the court should operate under the rebuttable presumption that section 11 rights apply.

Forty-eight AMPs were imposed under section 163.2 of the ITA between 2009 and 2013 and the median fine was $440,000.

According to the Supreme Court, section 163.2 of the ITA does not violate section 11 of the Charter, which states (among other things) that any person charged with an offence has the right "to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law [i.e. beyond a reasonable doubt] in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal." The decision ignores the fact that people need to be shielded from punitive government action by having their rights respected when a significant liberty is at stake and that government can sidestep section 11 of the Charter simply by calling a penalty a deterrent rather than a punishment.

Moreover, "by allowing government to punish citizens without allowing those citizens the protection of section 11, the Supreme Court of Canadas decision perpetuates the absurd situation that someone charged with a minor traffic infraction is entitled to more legal protection than someone accused of a regulatory violation that carries a $10,000 per day fine," explained Soupcoff.

"The courts decision means that Canadians accused of violations carrying huge penalties dont get the protections guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms," said Soupcoff. "The government can sidestep section 11 of the Charter merely with the language it chooses. Among other things, this means that individuals hit with AMPS:

have no right to be informed of their offence without unreasonable delay
have no right to be tried within a reasonable time
have no right against self-incrimination
have no protection against laws that create offences retroactively
have no protection against double jeopardy (being punished twice for the same offence)."

"In our submission to the court, we quoted Justice Frankfurters observation that ‘the history of liberty has largely been the history of observance of procedural safeguards," said Soupcoff. "While todays decision is a setback, the CCF will continue to fight for Canadians section 11 rights. Bureaucrats should not be able to bankrupt a person without giving that person his day in court. When someone is put on the hook for a half a million dollars, it doesnt matter what you call it; that person should have a right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, with guilt having to be established beyond a reasonable doubt."
The Canadian Constitution Foundation ("Freedoms Defence Team") is a registered charity, independent and non-partisan, whose mission is to defend the constitutional freedoms of Canadians through education, communication and litigation.

- 30 -

For further information, contact:

Marni Soupcoff
Executive Director
Canadian Constitution Foundation
(416) 549-1616

Canadian Constitution Foundation
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++
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