Canada’s “Not so Free” Freedom of Mobility

Remember Civics and Careers class in Grade 10? The class where you were supposed to learn about the Constitution of Canada and all of our rights and freedoms as citizens… Do you recall the freedom of mobility?

“The Constitution of Canada contains mobility rights expressly in section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The rights specified include the right of citizens to leave and enter the country and the right of both citizens and permanent residents to move within its boundaries.” Wiki2017

The teacher explained to us that this freedom means that as Canadians, we have the right to live anywhere we want in Canada. So I remember sitting in class and thinking… well that’s pretty cool Canada. And truth be told, what a great privilege to have. But if you have ever moved across our beautiful country,  you will know just what a headache it can be.

Why is everything not equal across the country?? This is a question I have yet to figure out. High school credits differ, drivers licenses differ, health cards differ, car registrations differ and all I can hear is “Cha Ching, Cha Ching, Cha Ching“.


Here’s the Sitch

Today I started the process of switching over my license and car registration to Ontario from Nova Scotia and what a nightmare. I am still many days, dollars and aggravating phone calls away from having everything straightened out. This will be my third time going through the process. I have switched from Ontario to Alberta, Alberta to Nova Scotia and now, Nova Scotia to Ontario. Alberta was quite straight forward, Nova Scotia… not too bad either, but Ontario… THE WORST.  After having my full license for 1 year and 9 months, out of province, I am annoyed to have learned that there is Ontario legislation  stating that one must have had their full license for 2 years before they will allow you your full G license without another costly road test. So today I paid $90.00 to switch my license over and another $90.00 for a road test that I even have to wait a whole month to take due to over populated test centres.

Fast forward 40 minutes where I find myself at Service Ontario, being told that my car needs an emissions test and a safety… because “safety standards differ across provinces”.

THIS IS CRAZINESS. In every province you switch to, they seem to all have their own set of hoops to jump through. The madness is increased when you have a vehicle in tow. I switched from my Alberta full license to a Nova Scotia full license without a blink of an eye… but Ontario, well they don’t call it Onterrible for nothing “we have our own rules here”.

“You have the Freedom of Mobility if You Have Money” 

So what I am getting at here is even though we are very fortunate in our country to have the freedom of mobility, we sure as hell don’t make it easy for those exercising that freedom. You have the freedom of mobility if you have the money to allow you to exercise that freedom, let’s keep that straight.

The natural response is “well stop moving from province to province then” and my response to that is… I shouldn’t have to.

It all comes down to money right? And why not make a buck on those that don’t want to stay in one place… because they can. But doesn’t this chaos deter people from wanting to exercise their freedom of mobility? If you knew you were going to get dinged for every little thing on top of the big hurdle to move somewhere new in the first place, this is surely going to have an impact on people even entertaining the idea, especially those already in a tight financial predicament. People move for better opportunity, but it seems to me that we’ve made for a difficult transition between provinces, some more than others.


The Cash Cow Domino

The government gives you three months to switch over everything when you come to a new province. Sounds simple except, to change your insurance, you have to have a driver’s license issued in the new province, but to change your license you have to have proof of residency, and to switch your registration you have to have insurance in the province you are licensed + a successful emissions test & safety. It’s this giant domino of chaos already without each province adding their own costly legislation around license exchanges, safeties and proof of residency requirements.


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I’m Tired of Feeling Robbed

I understand that this isn’t a common issue that people are normally having to deal with multiple times a year, but I just want to bring to everyone’s attention that these “obstacles” do exist. It makes me think, is this purposeful determent? Do they make it difficult for a reason? Do they want us to stay in one place? And insert other questionable thoughts about our government and their motives…  It is someone’s job is to switch licenses, cards and certifications, and they must be paid to do so, however, I believe extra money grabs exist that shouldn’t, and we as Canadian citizens shouldn’t just always accept that as “this is how it is here”.  I think that things like education, licensing procedures, license classes, and safety and emissions testing should be at a Canada wide standard, not provincial.

I guess I am writing about this today because I am disappointed. It doesn’t upset me that there is a process and a cost to switching everything over from province to province, it upsets me that it’s not the same process and cost everywhere in Canada. These individual provincial regulations to me, feel like highway robbery.

At this point, I feel as though as I shouldn’t be surprised as I learn about all of these random little tid bits of government ridiculousness. When I venture to each new place in Canada, I can’t help but laugh when I’m being told the next thing that is different from the last. I am very fortunate to be able to afford this transition, but I know that this isn’t the case for every Canadian.  I really don’t think it should be like this and it is discouraging to me that Canadians are being taken advantage of like this for exercising one of our freedoms found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Don’t get me wrong, we are incredibly fortunate as Canadians to be even able to move within Canada’s boundaries, but when you put a price tag on it, it seems like much less of a freedom. 

free·dom- “the state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing).”

That concludes my rant for the day.

Thanks for stopping in and until next time,

-C

 

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