Ticketing laws tighten up in 2017

Alycia Douglass

CORNWALL, Ontario – Ontario Drivers will soon face additional penalties on unpaid parking and traffic tickets as the province prepares to employ a program which would deny drivers with delinquent fines their right to renew license plates.

The changes are set to take effect in May 2017, and hopes to crack down on unpaid parking tickets and driving offenses such as careless driving and speeding.

“In essence, the province is assigning the municipal government the role of gatekeeper,” said Christopher Rogers, who is the city’s chief building official and bylaw enforcement supervisor. “The municipality does not issue parking tickets, that’s the province.”

The plate denial process will force drivers to pay up on parking tickets 15 days after they are issued. Failing this, municipalities will trigger a letter advising of impending conviction before increasing the fine. If the fine is still not paid after 75 days, it is once again increased, and the city registers the license plate with the Ministry of Transport of Ontario.

While the changes were offered in efforts to collect outstanding fines more efficiently, those who’ve purchased a two-year sticker before receiving a ticket may dodge the impact temporarily.

“It’s important for people to realize that there will be follow-up,” said Rogers. “It’s not an open ended deal, and it’s not going to go away. You either pay up or dig yourself a deeper hole.”

Cornwall Community Police Service Constable Matt Dupuis says that the new legislation will only impact drivers not obeying the rules of the road. “Either way, people are going to have to pay their fines,” said Dupuis. “The province isn’t going to keep letting people get away with non-payment.”

Rogers says that the implementation of the new process is not just about restoring funds, but more importantly, a matter of safety. He notes that if police issue a ticket, there’s likely a transgression that needs to be addressed.

“Collectively, I think it’s for our own good,” said Rogers. “We’re expected to abide by traffic regulations, which are ultimately good for all of us.”

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