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Denver clogs | Fishing for bad payers



“Beep! », « Beep! », « Beep! “, “BAAAAP! “. Daniel Brosseau’s face lights up behind the wheel on Sherbrooke Street. The bailiff, who has been installing clogs in Denver since their introduction in Montreal in 1984, has just unearthed the vehicle of a deadbeat.

From manual license plate checks to today’s automatic cameras, Mr. Brosseau has seen the profession transform over four decades. The scale of the operation is much greater today: if it maintains this pace, the City will have collected nearly 2 million in fines by the end of 2022 thanks to the installation of more than 3000 clogs. A rise after two much less profitable pandemic years.

“They always end up paying. Whether they pay today or pay tomorrow, they will pay, that’s for sure, ”said the bailiff a few minutes before installing his clog, crisscrossing the streets of the city center. “If we don’t collect with clogs, [les amendes] will stay on the shelf for a long time. »

In his trunk are eight clogs from Denver, some dating back to the start of his career. A Denver shoe is a steel clamp that is installed on a vehicle wheel to immobilize it. Daniel Brosseau and his bailiff colleagues use this equipment to temporarily seize the vehicles of individuals and businesses that owe money to the City of Montreal for unpaid tickets.


Bailiff Daniel Brosseau has been installing Denver clogs since they were established in Montreal in 1984.

This time, it’s a white van belonging to a numbered company that will be “sabotaged”, as the bailiffs say. Daniel Brosseau double parks on Sherbrooke Street, through traffic – hard times, hard times – and traps a wheel of the vehicle. Motorists in a hurry pass within a few feet of him.

It’s like when you go fishing. One day you’ll catch 20 fish, the other day you won’t.

Daniel Brosseau, judicial officer

The bailiff, whose remuneration depends entirely on his harvest, has his favorite sectors and his regulars. The cameras installed on his trunk – capable of capturing thousands of license plates per day – are linked to a database containing the registration of 21,000 bad payers. This long list is updated weekly. “The system is really efficient. »

After 24 or 48 hours of immobilization, the bailiff goes to the next stage: the vehicle is towed to the municipal pound, where it will be sold after a month to repay the debt of its owner towards the City of Montreal – and the costs of the bailiff.


The cameras installed on the trunk of Daniel Brosseau’s car are linked to a database containing the registration of 21,000 bad payers.

$146 more on the bill

If you notice, on leaving the office or the house, that your car has been fitted with a Denver shoe, don’t panic: upon payment of your debt to the City, a bailiff will come and release your vehicle within the hour. follows. Above all, do not attempt to leave the premises with the vehicle: a steel spike would immediately pierce the tire and the shoe would damage the car. The thugs who try to free their wheel themselves with wire cutters are reported to the police.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to accumulate mountains of unpaid tickets for years to receive a visit from Mr. Brosseau: one is enough. And in these cases, the “sabotage” costs of $146 – collected by the bailiff – risk significantly inflating the bill.

Nothing to calm things down when an aggressive motorist comes across a bailiff doing his job.

Daniel Brosseau remarks that motorists are sometimes insulted or ashamed to see their vehicle immobilized by a large yellow steel clamp, especially in front of colleagues or neighbours. “Sometimes you can come across people who are not too cooperative, but we always end up getting along,” he said.

He was often threatened, but never physically attacked while doing his job. And if the exchanges turn sour, the bailiffs have “good cooperation from the police”.

Bailiff Brosseau – who installed his first clog 38 years ago, but has also worked elsewhere in the meantime – works for Charron Boissé Lévesque, Bailiffs, one of three offices to have the installation contract clogs from Denver for the City of Montreal.

For the latter, it is a means of recovering sums on which it would otherwise have to give up.

“It should be noted that the installation of a clog in Denver is only carried out when all the methods and various administrative and judicial reminders prove unsuccessful”, underlined Hugo Bourgoin, media relations officer at the City of Montreal, by email. “Let us mention, in particular, the administrative reminder, the notice of judgment by default, the notice of payment and the notice of non-payment of a fine (which leads to the blocking of transactions at the SAAQ). »

Learn more

  • Clog installation from Denver to Montreal
    Year 2019: 4162 hoof poses generating $1,139,639
    Year 2020: 1831 hoof poses generating $1,829,055
    Year 2021: 2,635 hoof poses generating $1,578,219

    Source: City of Montreal

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