Ontario Court Denies Wheel-Off Law Challenge

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TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario Court of Appeal has handed down a ruling upholding the controversial wheel-off law.

The ruling is on a case involving a challenge to the absolute liability provisions of a law which imposes fines of up to $50,000 on trucking companies for wheel-off incidences – even if steps were taken to prevent the incident from occurring.

In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that the provisions of Section 84.1 (1) does not violate the constitutional rights of the accused, even though the absolute liability nature of the charge affixes blame even where a carrier or owner exercises due diligence in its maintenance, training and safety practices.

Unless this decision is appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada (and there is no confirmation yet that it will), Ontario law will continue to hold the owners and operators of commercial motor vehicles absolutely liable when wheels detach from their vehicles, with fines in the range between $2,000 and $50,000

OTA officials have made official their disappointment with the court’s decision that a trucking company can lose its democratic right to launch a due diligence defence.

OTA lawyers are reviewing the entire report closely. n

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