[THIS STORY IS SENT TO US BY AN IMMIGRANT, NAMES AND DATES ARE REMOVED FOR CONFIDENTIALITY REASONS]
I am a new immigrant, not very familiar with the legal environment of Canada, nor can I afford expensive lawyers. Therefore, I rely on the information provided by the government and its corporations. This incident explains how one of the government corporations outsmarted me and broke my trust in Canadian institutions.
My learning license had expired when my car license was scanned, and I received a ticket for having no license. The police told me there was no way to dispute the ticket because there was no argument to make, so it was better to pay the ticket. When I arrived home, I immediately paid the ticket and registered for the knowledge test, which I passed. I immediately applied for a road test the next day, which I also passed, and obtained my valid class 5 license.
After about two weeks, I received a letter from the Superintendent of motor vehicles act stating that, due to a poor driving record, they intended to prohibit me from driving for 30 days. This is when I panicked, called a few lawyers, and started my research. Two lawyers told me it was difficult to win in this case, so I should accept the prohibition and return the license. However, another lawyer told me that it was unfair and that they would write a response if I paid them $2,500 plus taxes. I didn’t have that much money, so I called the numbers provided on the notice of intent to prohibit. The customer care agent told me a better option would be to return the license and also write a response letter to the superintendent. The agent also informed me about the duration of the reply and the costs involved: it takes 4 to 6 weeks to receive a reply, I have to pay $100 for submitting the response to the notice of intent to prohibit, $250 when I get my license back, and $30 for the re-issuance of the license. The agent added, If I returned my license now, this would showcase that I am a law-abiding resident and would strengthen my response. I asked the customer agent specifically, “What if I return my license, and then after a while, my response is accepted, what is going to happen to the 30 days that I lose?” The agent told me that in that case, I would get my money back, and though my prohibition would stay on the record for five years, my record would also show that the prohibition was revoked. As a law-abiding resident, I accepted this option and returned my license, also submitting my response.
Three weeks passed; I called the customer care center to ask if the application had been processed. They said the case had been assigned, but the decision had not been made yet. So I waited for a month until the license suspension period was over and then went to the ICBC center to collect my license. They also called the superintendent’s office and asked about any updates on my application. The agent told them that there was no response yet. I paid my $280, the ICBC reissued my license and waited yet again for the answer.
Forty-four days after my response to the letter of intent to prohibit, I received a letter from the superintendent stating that, since they could not receive a letter during the prohibition, and the prohibition was already served, therefore they could not review my response. The letter also stated, “You should be aware that if further incidents are added to your driving record within two years following this prohibition, your driving record will be reviewed, and further action may be taken.” No information was provided in this letter on how to respond or if there was any window of response left at all!
I now feel like an idiot and a person who was outsmarted by an institution I trusted! There is no more trust in the institution whose motto is [building trust. driving confidence].
WATCH OUT FOR THE ADVICE YOU GET FROM THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES OR ITS CORPORATIONS, THEY MAY NOT BE IN YOUR BEST INTEREST.