Q: In Richmond Hill, I was pulled over by an unmarked white SUV sounding a siren. No red/blue lights were seen and the “officers” were in plain clothes. One quickly flashed a badge, asked for my papers and said it was a ‘random’ stop.
No ticket was issued, nor any violation claimed and they never returned to their car to run computer checks before releasing me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get names, badge numbers, nor a licence plate. Were these fake cops?
York Regional Police Const. Andy Pattenden replies:
Police officers in Ontario can stop vehicles to check for proper documentation including drivers licence, proof of ownership and proof of insurance. They can also stop vehicles that they believe may have been involved in an incident for investigative purposes.
York Regional Police do utilize unmarked vehicles and have officers that work in a plain clothes capacity. Such officers will quickly identify themselves in a traffic stop, usually by activating red/blue lights in their vehicle and/or showing a badge, and will generally inform the driver for the reason for the stop.
If citizens have any doubt it’s really the police signalling them to stop, call 9-1-1. Ask for the officer’s name, badge number and police photo identification, which should all be provided.
Your reader is welcome to file a report, with particulars, for investigation.
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Q: Do police utilize MTO traffic cam footage for investigative purposes?
The MTO says highway cameras are generally intended to monitor traffic flow rather than for enforcement purposes, but police are granted access to recorded traffic video upon request.
Q: Twice, I’ve been charged a $4 “eco” fee for patching tires at a certain garage. They say it’s a government mandated charge, but I don’t think it applies to tire repairs.
Melody Gaukel, speaking for Ontario Tire Stewardship, replies:
We spoke to the retailer and don’t believe the charge described was the Tire Stewardship Fee. It’s our understanding this is a Hazardous Waste Disposal charge, which we don’t have insight into.
The Tire Stewardship Fee only applies to the purchase of new tires, not repairs to currently-owned tires.
Your reader can call the Ministry of Consumer Services at 416-326-8800 or 1-800-889-9768, if they feel they have been incorrectly charged and can’t resolve the matter directly.
Eric Lai adds:
No hazardous wastes (used oil, antifreeze) are generated patching a tire. You might consider taking your business to a shop that doesn’t add such charges.
Freelance writer Eric Lai is a regular contributor to Toronto Star Wheels. Email your non-
mechanical questions to him at email@example.com
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