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Charge(s): LAT Appeal
Our Client(s): Mr. V
Lawyer/Paralegal: Jami Sanftleben
Jami Sanftleben - ParalegalLEARN MORE

Please Note: Past results not predictive of future results.

The Background

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario goes by another name which is the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. The Registrar is from whom you may receive a letter if your licence has been suspended. Even those never having been pulled over by a police officer can have their licence suspended, because there are many, many reasons for this other than a criminal conviction or conviction under the Highway Traffic Act. One of the most common is a medical suspension. This occurs when the Ministry has received information, usually from a medical doctor, that reports that a driver has a diagnosis or existing condition that could affect their ability to safely operate an automobile.

Individuals in this position can feel very confused and helpless. If you didn’t do anything wrong, there is no judge or justice of the peace to appeal to. To whom do you turn? This is the jurisdiction of the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT). The LAT is an administrative body appointed by the provincial government to hear and decide on appeals made on all sorts of licence suspension issues, from impairments due to seizures, addiction, cognitive disorders and more. They also hear appeals in regards to long term vehicle impoundments. As said, medical suspensions are very common, and this is what faced our client Mr. V.

Mr. V owned and operated a business that truly revolved around his ability to drive. Of his 12 hour days, 10 would be spent behind the wheel of a car or service vehicle. Mr. V was injured very badly in the course of his employment, and the following treatment and recovery involved the use of opioids, specifically fentanyl. We have all heard stories at this point what these kind of opioids can do to a person’s overall health, and especially mental health. Mr. V quickly became addicted. He recovered from his injuries, but the addiction remained. He sought help from an addiction specialist, as one might imagine was wise to do in his situation. He found a doctor, had his initial meeting, and as you may have already guessed, received a letter from the ministry a little while later saying that his licence was suspended due to substance abuse issues.

Mr. V jumped through all the hoops that the ministry wanted to see, processed all the paperwork, stayed true to his treatment for addiction, and abstinent of the use of opioids. Still every time he appealed to the ministry for the reinstatement of his licence, he was denied. This is when Mr. V contacted Aitken Robertson.

The Goals

The goal for Mr. V was cut and dried and fairly simple. He had already lost much of his business due to his inability to drive. The parts of his business that he kept going depended on him employing personal drivers, which wasn’t cost effective or sustainable. He lost his home, he didn’t want to lose the rest of his business. He needed the LAT to compel the ministry to give him his licence back. We got to work to make it happen.

The Strategy

The strategy in Licence Appeal Tribunal matters differs from case to case, because the circumstances and personal situation of the appellant (person appealing) are often very unique. This was no exception. Very often though, the issues to be decided are; 1) does the applicant have a condition prescribed by law (in Mr. V’s case, substance abuse disorder), and 2) does that condition affect the applicant’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Regarding the first issue, Mr. V had already done diligent work to recover from his addiction. He took it very seriously and recorded it all. We structured his appeal to highlight all the positive changes he had made, how he planned to sustain them, and the support systems in his life that would allow him to do so. We showed all documentation supporting his claims.

Regarding the second issue, we referred to Mr. V’s driver’s abstract and safe history of driving. He had not driven since the ministry had suspended his privilege to do so. It was our argument that he has been compliant with everything throughout the addiction treatment, the suspension process, and the appeal process. He was a driver of considerable skill and respect for the road. We highlighted how a reinstatement would help him remain employable, allow him to employ others, help his elderly parents, and contribute to his overall mental health. We found precedent cases that supported his position, as others in similar situations had been successful in their appeals.

We did not script any answers for Mr. V at his hearing. We told him what to expect in terms of the process, shared with him how we would ask questions to draw out the evidence that we knew helped his cause, and prepared him for questions that he may have been asked by the rep for the registrar, or the LAT member presiding over the hearing

The Results

Mr. V performed admirably. Questions at these types of events can be designed to rattle and appellant. He answered honestly and calmly throughout the questions we asked in direct examination, and to those questions asked by the ministry and the tribunal member. He told the story, and we made it fit around the law.

In the end, the decision was made by the LAT to set aside the suspension and reinstate Mr. V’s licence. We walked him through the rest of the reinstatement process, and followed up with the MTO to ensure his driving privilege was restored. Mr. V was elated to have his licence back after such a long road!


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