A City of Greater Sudbury program to collect unpaid provincial fines has been extended for an additional year.
In just five months, two in-house collection officers have traced and collected approximately $340,000 in unpaid fines, under the Provincial Offences Act. An additional $90,000 will be collected through monthly installments paid by citizens with overdue fines.
The province transferred responsibility for the Provincial Offences Act to municipalities last year. This means that along with administering and prosecuting current provincial offences, the City of Greater Sudbury has the right to collect more than $6 million in unpaid POA fines.
"We are pleased to announce a one year extension to this successful program," said Doug Wuksinic, City of Greater Sudbury general manager of corporate services.
"As the past few months have shown, the cost to
administer the program is funded through the recovery of unpaid fines and potential revenues are significant."
The City of Greater Sudbury's two collection officers were hired last October to trace unpaid provincial fines, some dating back as far as 1978.
"Past due" notices are issued by mail. Citizens who fail to submit payment could have their driver's licence suspended, their wages garnisheed or have a lien registered against their property.
"By keeping collection of overdue fines in-house, we're able to offer more flexible terms for repayment," said Wuksinic.
"If it can be proven that it would be a financial hardship to pay an overdue fine in a lump sum, we can arrange monthly payment plans. It's a benefit to pay these fines. A driver's licence suspension, for example, is extremely inconvenient."
Provincial offences are non-criminal charges, primarily laid by the police, issued under various provincial and municipal statutes including:
Â? The Highway Traffic Act for speeding, careless driving, not wearing a seat belt or driving while suspended.
Â? The Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act for driving without insurance or failure to produce an insurance card.
Â? The Liquor Licence Act for being intoxicated in a public place or selling alcohol to a minor.
Â? The Trespass to Property Act for entering premises when entry is prohibited or refusing to leave premises.
Â? The Game and Fish Act for hunting and fishing violations.
The Provincial Offences Act also covers infractions of municipal by-laws, including fines issued under Greater Sudbury's noise, taxi, building control and animal control by-laws.
Persons charged with offences under the Act have the option of paying a fine out of court, entering a plea of guilty with an explanation before a justice of the peace or requesting a trial before a justice of the peace.
Citizens can pay current and outstanding fines at the Provincial Offences Office, 178 Elm St. in Sudbury or phone 673-0404, ext. 231 or ext. 233 for more information.