Driver’s licences may be denied in B.C. if COVID fines go unpaid | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Driver’s licences may be denied in B.C. if COVID fines go unpaid

May 12, 2021 - 3:19 PM

In response to so few people who have been given COVID-19 fines paying up, B.C. today gave its bylaws some teeth.

The B.C. government said people who don’t pay COVID-19-related fines could be refused drivers or vehicle licences.

“That small minority of persons who have been fined for violating the rules in place to protect us all are going to be held accountable for the debt they owe,” Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General said in a press release issued today, May 12.

“We’ve already moved up the deadline for sending unpaid COVID-19 fines to collections. Now, we’re going to refuse to issue offenders a driver’s licence or vehicle licence if they still won’t take their tickets seriously and pay up.”

The total amount of the 1,679 violation tickets processed by ICBC as of May 8, is $1,179,980. Only $172,825, or 14% of the total, has been paid.

If passed, proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act will extend Refuse To Issue restrictions to fines issued under the Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act. RTI will apply to all outstanding fines issued under these acts and will be applied retroactively. People with outstanding fines will receive notice of the RTI from ICBC ahead of their driver’s licence expiry and vehicle license renewal. These amendments will come into force on July 1.

This is a marked departure from non-payment for other types of bylaw offences, which are typically referred to a collections service after 12 months of non-payment.

While the consequences are significant, people who get these fines are able to request the court lower the fine if they lack the means to pay, they can make repayment arrangements  depending on financial and hardship needs and decisions can also be appealed to the superintendent of motor vehicles to be reviewed on any grounds including hardship.

Currently, RTI applies to various statutes such as the Motor Vehicle Act and the Liquor Control and Licensing Act. To obtain relief, a debtor must pay their outstanding fines in full or establish a suitable repayment arrangement.

In December 2020, government instructed ICBC to begin sending unpaid COVID-19 fines to a collection agency after 30 days when the dispute period has ended or the courts have confirmed guilt. Other unpaid violation ticket files typically go to collections after 12 months.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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