Commuter in Mississauga loans her car; it gets impounded, then she loses a job promotion


Published January 30, 2023 at 9:01 pm

A woman who works in Mississauga lost a job promotion after her loaned car was impounded during the arrest of an acquaintance — who might not have even driven it but had a suspended licence.

And the province’s licence appeal tribunal, in nixing an application by Kebret Mengistu to get her 2018 Nissan Qashqai back early, said facing a two-hour commute to work does not constitute “exceptional hardship.” When someone can prove they are put out financially when their wheels are incorrectly taken away, the Ontario Licence Appeal Tribunal (ONLAT) can order its release.

The facts of the case state that Mengistu, who lives in Etobicoke, lent her car last month to her stepsister, Ayan Hassan. A condition of the loan was that Perry Cohen, whose licence was suspended, was not to drive the car.

On Dec. 13, Hassan was at a post office when Cohen went to the vehicle to retrieve cigarettes. Police recognized him as someone wanted on outstanding charges.

“On his way to the vehicle, he was detained and arrested by police officers on unrelated charges,” adjudicator Kevin Lundy notes. “Noting that (Cohen’s) licence was suspended, the officers ordered the vehicle impounded. According to (Hassan), who may or may not have witnessed the arrest, (Cohen) had not yet arrived at the vehicle when he was stopped.”

The vehicle was then impounded for 45 days, until Jan. 27. Mengistu did show the ONLAT “a letter from her manager” led to her losing a job promotion after “several late attendances and absences.” Due to using personal days and sick days, she only lost two days’ pay over that span.

But as Lundy noted, the burden of proof is on the appellant at a tribunal — namely, showing that a suspended driver drove the impounded car without permission from the registered owner. Mengistu, who self-represented, did not call either her stepsister, or Cohen, or police officers as witnesses to air out that matter.

“As the appellant bears the evidentiary burden in the appeal and the evidence of the respondent is at least as persuasive as that submitted by the applicant, I find that she has failed to demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that only (Hassan) operated her vehicle,” Lundy writes.

Mengistu told the tribunal that she used “a combination of taxis, ride-sharing services and public transit to get to work” in Mississauga without her car.

“She did not suggest that the cost would be prohibitive until she can retrieve her car from the impound facility,” Lundy wrote.

As for transit from Etobicoke to Mississauga, it was “not available (early enough) to allow her to arrive (at work) on time but (she) did not elaborate whether this is a scheduling limitation or otherwise.”

The decision was finalized on Jan. 23, just four days before the car was due to be released from impoundment.

The full four-page decision is available at

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