TORONTO, Ont. – Ontario’s wheel-off law has survived another challenge to its constitutionality.
The law denies carriers a due diligence defence in the event of a wheel separation. On April 23, the Supreme Court of Canada denied an application from Transport Robert which sought leave to appeal a wheel-off conviction that the Ontario superior court had previously upheld as being constitutional. The Ontario Trucking Association had supported Robert’s action and is disappointed by the result.
“It is hard to figure,” said OTA president, David Bradley. “The law seems so clearly an affront to natural justice. To say that a carrier is guilty of an offence no matter what measures it took to prevent a wheel separation is very draconian and sets a very concerning precedent.We are not interested in allowing someone who has not practiced due diligence to get off the hook. But sometimes things can happen that you have no control over.”
The number of wheel separation incidents has declined over the past several years, added Bradley, who attributed the decline in better training of wheel installers, improved maintenance practices across the industry and stepped up enforcement.
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