Province gives municipalities power to deny licence plates to drivers with outstanding finesOntario has given municipalities the power to deny licence plates to drivers with outstanding fines in part because it wants to make it clear that breaking the rules doesn’t pay.
That’s the message from Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca.
“We are, after all, talking about people who have broken the rules and haven’t necessarily paid up on what they owe,” Del Duca told Metro Morning on Tuesday. “I think it lands in the right place.”
Under changes the Liberal government is set to enact in May, people who have not paid fines for driving-based offences, such as speeding and careless driving, won’t be able to get or renew their plates.
The current plate denial regime only applies to vehicle-based offences, such as parking tickets and red-light camera fines.Municipalities in the province are owed a total of $1.45 billion in unpaid fines for provincial offences, including those under the Highway Traffic Act, dating back more than 30 years.
Municipalities have been asking the government for years for more tools to collect that money “very loudly, very clearly,” he said.
Del Duca said the province is working on technology to ensure the fines can be collected and it will be in place by May.
He said the change is contained in Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, which was passed in 2015, and is one of the last to be enacted under the legislation. The law covered a range of issues.
“We had been talking to municipalities across the province for a number of years about working with them, giving them more tools so that they can move forward and collect on some of these outstanding fines,” he said. “The numbers are large.”Del Duca said the legislative changes preceded the technological changes needed to collect the fines.
“It took quite a bit of time to make sure we had a system ready to go. We passed the legislative pieces in that bill some time ago. We have now been working on the IT kind of machinery to make sure that we are in a position to go forward with giving them the additional tools so we can collect on these fines.
“And it looks like we will be ready to go in May, with respect to extending what we call licence plate denial for some additional fines that are outstanding going back seven years.”
Del Duca said the policy is retroactive seven years because the time period fits in with the province’s accounting processes.
Municipalities have asked Del Duca and the past two transportation ministers for the tool to deny plates to those with outstanding fines because the money is needed, he said.
With files from the Canadian Press
Source: CBC News