Licence Plate Denial
Most customers pay their bills on a regular basis and will not be affected by licence plate denial. Unfortunately, some customers refuse to pay. That‘s unfair to paying customers and 407 ETR Concession Company Limited ("407 ETR"), the company that manages and operates Highway 407 ETR and provides tolling and back office services for the Province of Ontario’s Highway 407 (including Highway 412 and Highway 418).
Highway 407 ETR, Highway 407 (including Highway 412 and Highway 418) are all-electronic, open-access toll highways without booths or barriers. This design was chosen by the Ontario Government to improve traffic flow and to reduce congestion. Because there are no barriers, drivers cannot be prevented from using the toll highways – even if they are unable or unwilling to pay their tolls.
While other companies refuse service, cancel credit or turn off utilities to those who refuse to pay, licence plate denial is the only effective means to collect payment from those few individuals who take advantage of the open-access highways.
How Does Licence Plate Denial Work?
Under the Highway 407 Act and the Highway 407 East Act (collectively, the "Acts"), 407 ETR follows a very thorough legislated process when requesting the Ontario Registrar of Motor Vehicles (the "Registrar") to deny the renewal of an existing vehicle permit or issuance of a new one.
Notice of Failure to Pay
As outlined in the Act, if a 407 bill is outstanding for 35 days, a notice of failure to pay can be sent to the customer. A notice of failure to pay must be sent to the customer‘s address listed in the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) database. Upon receipt of a notice of failure to pay, a customer may pay their bill and/or send a notice of dispute within 30 days listing one or more of the permitted grounds for dispute set out in the Act.
Opportunity to Dispute
If the customer sends a notice of dispute, 407 ETR has 30 days to respond. If 407 ETR fails to respond, the disputed amount cannot be sent to licence plate denial.
If 407 ETR does not agree with any or all of the disputed items in the customer‘s notice of dispute, the customer has the right to appeal 407 ETR‘s decision to an independent dispute arbitrator that has been appointed by the Ontario Government. Please note that the licence plate denial process continues while the matter is appealed to the independent arbitrator.
If the arbitrator finds in favour of the customer and the customer has already paid the amounts owing while they were in licence plate denial or otherwise, the disputed amount plus interest is returned to the customer.
If a customer sends a notice of dispute to 407 ETR, 407 ETR will not use a collection agency or seek court enforcement to collect the amounts until the final disposition of the customer‘s dispute or, if applicable, arbitration.
Notice of Licence Plate Denial
A minimum of 90 days must elapse between the issuance of the notice of failure to pay and the referral of amounts owed to the Registrar. Upon referral to the Registrar, the customer is sent a notice of licence plate denial (by bonded courier for initial notices and by ordinary mail for subsequent notices) to their reported address listed in the MTO’s database.
The Registrar places the customer in licence plate denial at the same time the notice of licence plate denial is sent to the customer. This means that the customer will be unable to renew their licence plate or obtain a new licence plate until all tolls, fees and interest referred to the Registrar by 407 ETR have been paid in full. An Enforcement Fee is also charged if your account is referred to the Registrar for licence plate denial.
Licence Plate Denial Collection
Highway 407 ETR and the Province of Ontario’s Highway 407 (including Highway 412 and Highway 418) collect tolls, fees and, as applicable, interest (together, "407 Charges") from their customers subsequent to their use of the toll highways. This “buy now and pay later” system of payment of 407 Charges was purposely chosen by the Ontario Government to improve traffic flow and to reduce congestion, land use and pollution.
Unlike other service providers that can refuse to provide service, cancel credit or turn off utilities to those who fail to pay, 407 ETR does not have the opportunity or ability to screen or examine the credit-worthiness of customers until after they have used the toll highway. While most customers pay their bills on time, some do not. 407 ETR uses traditional collection methods, similar to those used by other companies, to collect payment from these individuals. In addition, 407 ETR can require the Registrar to deny the renewal of existing vehicle permits or the issuance of new ones to customers who continue to be delinquent.
The Acts expressly allow for licence plate denial, which is modeled after other provincially mandated licence suspension processes, and remains one of the few effective remedies available to 407 ETR to collect outstanding amounts.
407 ETR recognizes that there are instances whereby customers may have extenuating circumstances that are not financial in nature, yet they require the use of their vehicle. The "Exceptional Hardship Plan" is designed to assist such customers who may fall into this category. Click here for details regarding the "Exceptional Hardship Plan" process.