ONTARIO, CANADA – Picking up passengers in Ontario for hire without having all proper licenses and permits may soon become a Provincial Offense, carrying fines ranging from $300 to $20,000 (Canadian dollars). Ontario Minister of Transportation (MTO) Harinder Takhar has introduced legislation proposing amendments to the Highway Traffic Act designed to “enhance road safety, ease traffic congestion and increase use of public transit in the province.”
Of direct interest to limousine drivers and operators is a proposal, “To create an offense for limousine and taxi owners, arrangers and drivers who transport passengers for compensation without proper licenses or permits.” The government also proposes to hike fines for presenting or using false driver’s licenses.
According to an MTO official, “the province is proposing to amend the Highway Traffic Act to make it an offense to transport passengers for compensation without a municipal taxi license or a permit from an airport or airport authority or a public vehicle operating license. The offense would apply to vehicles that carry less than 10 passengers.”
If the fine is not paid, driver’s license suspension (for drivers and arrangers) or plate denial upon annual/biennial renewal (for owners) would apply.
The first reading of the legislation occurred on Feb. 21, 2005. The second (and third) readings have not been scheduled at this time. Once the third reading occurs and once the bill receives Royal Assent, a date for proclamation will be established by the government.
David Peever, general manager of Airline Limousine, said he didn’t know the details of the proposed legislation, but said, “Of course it could be a good thing for the public. The public is entitled to proper protection.”