February 16, 2016 3:48 pm

Ontario wants snow plow operators to agree to arbitration of unpaid fines

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TORONTO – Ontario is asking for arbitration to try to recover some of the $47 million in fines levied against snow plow operators in recent years for failing to adequately clear highways.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca says companies contracted to keep highways clear of snow and ice have many ways to appeal any fines levied by the ministry when they don’t do the job properly or fast enough.

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So Del Duca wants the companies to agree to arbitration to try to reach agreement on some of the outstanding fines, but admits they don’t have to consent to the process.

READ MORE: New map lets you track Toronto’s snow-plow fleet, see when they last hit your street

He says that would leave the government with the option of suing the contractors, but opposition critics say the contracts themselves were so poorly written that the cases will likely get tossed out of court.

Del Duca says the government is looking to streamline the appeal process for new road maintenance contractors, but that won’t do anything to resolve the outstanding fines.

Progressive Conservative transportation critic Michael Harris says a new appeals process won’t mean Ontario highways will be any better maintained than they have been in the last few years.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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