How have courts interpreted the definition of a "highway" in the Motor Vehicle Act?

Ontario, Canada


The following excerpt is from R. v. Bharath, 2016 ONCJ 382 (CanLII):

In the specific circumstances of Nadeau v. Okanagan Urban Youth & Cultural Assn., Powers J. at para. 112 found that where a particular area on the private property was being used for general parking, which was open to the public and that the public had access and had been invited to use it for parking, would clearly made it fall within the definition of a "highway" under the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act [emphasis is mine below]: The VIP area was not open to the public, general or otherwise. This area would not fall within the definition of "highway" in the Motor Vehicle Act. The general parking was open to the public. They had access to this area and were invited to use it for parking. It clearly fell within the definition of a "highway" under the Motor Vehicle Act and the Act.

Furthermore in deciding whether the public had been given access and invited to use the area on the private property for the purposes of parking vehicles, Powers J. at para. 115 in Nadeau v. Okanagan Urban Youth & Cultural Assn. considered the issue of control and access to the area in question and found that the area in question was no longer being controlled or restricted by the organizers or by security and that the public had access to this area for the purposes of parking and there had been no longer any control or restrictions on parking in that area for several hours before and at the time of the accident, so that it was a place in which the public had access for the purposes of parking [emphasis is mine below]: The area has been described as a field and physically it was a field. It is private property. However, it was being used as a parking lot when the accident occurred. At some point during the concert, there was some control over who had access to this area. However, that was not consistent throughout the concert, and I am satisfied that by the evening of July 1, this secondary area was no longer being controlled or restricted by the organizers or by security. The public had access to this area for the purposes of parking. The primary parking for the concert goers was in the general parking area, but there was no longer any control or restrictions on parking in the secondary area. Therefore, I am satisfied that for several hours before and, certainly at the time of the accident, this was a place in which the public had access for the purposes of parking. The public at this time included concert goers who might proceed through this secondary gate and clearly included anyone who was there in order to carry on the business of putting on or assisting in some way with the concert, or their friends or supporters. The people that had access at that time was a broad enough group to fall within the definition of the public in s. 1(c) of the Motor Vehicle Act.

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