Alberta, Montreal, Nova Scotia & Ontario collect on unpaid tickets


Some Provinces have developed agressive methods to collect on outstanding motor vehicle tickets, parking and traffic violations. Some Provinces even try to collect on the same ticket twice, even if you paid it the first time. Here is what some representatives say about their own specific Province:


Established in 1999, the Fines Enforcement Program works in conjunction with the Alberta Courts, and is responsible for collection of overdue Criminal Code fines, Traffic Safety Act fines/tickets, and Bail Forfeitures payable to the Province of Alberta.

Mr. Steve Jackson is the Executive Director of the claims and recoveries program of the Alberta Justice Department and says that unpaid fines, that are more than a year old, allows the program he directs, to register the offender with the Canada Revenue Agency and can intercept GST rebates and income tax refunds.

Here is a list of other actions that can be taken in Alberta to collect on outstanding debts:

Wage Garnishee : Motor Vehicle Accident Recoveries (MVAR) can require that employers make scheduled deductions from a debtor’s wage in order to fulfill payment responsibilities. (A wage garnishee attaches any wage over and above the debtor’s monthly exemption, plus up to 30% of net pay)

Bank Garnishee :
MVAR can intercept monies payable to the debtor from bank accounts and other sources. (eg. Some mutual funds, rent or contract fees). Non-wage garnishees are placed to satisfy the outstanding debt. They may be used to collect funds until the arrears are paid in full or satisfactory payment arrangements are made with MVAR.

Federal Garnishee :
These garnishees are issued in cooperation with the federal government and can attach funds that may be payable to the debtor from federal sources. Currently, this includes income tax refunds and GST rebates.

Motor Vehicle Registrations :
MVAR may restrict the debtor’s access to motor vehicle services within the Province of Alberta. These include registrations, licence plates, driver’s licences, and abstracts.

Motor Vehicle Suspension :
MVAR may suspend or disqualify a debtor from driving by revoking their driving privileges throughout Canada.

Writ at Personal Property Registry :
MVAR can file the judgment with the Alberta Personal Property Registry as a writ against the name of the debtor and/or any personal property that the debtor may own, such as recreational or other vehicles. Once a writ is filed, the debtor may be prevented from transferring clear title to any property he or she wishes to sell. This can also be done in other Provinces.

Registration against Real Property :
MVAR may register the judgment against any property at the Land Titles Registry. The registration can prevent the owner from re-mortgaging or selling the property without first making payment arrangements with MVAR. In some circumstances, MVAR may force the sale of real estate.

Piercing the Corporate Veil
MVAR may seize corporate shares if the debtor tries to shelter assets or income by keeping them in the name of a company. MVAR may seek a Court Order to reverse the transfer of assets to a company if it can demonstrate that this was done to avoid repayment of the judgment.


Montreal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities

Pietro Macera, a bailiff who collects unpaid fines for the City of Montreal, says a five-year statute of limitations on outstanding fines can be renewed.

“Whether it’s a civil matter, a ticket matter, a criminal matter, it’s gonna catch up to you,” he said in an interview.

Macera, 50, says any unpaid fines will stay in a town or city’s computer system.

“So you’re driving and you get grabbed by the police for speeding, or a red light, or a burned-out light — well that day is not your lucky day, especially if you’ve ignored that $100 speeding ticket.”

Macera says the ticket can end up costing $500 with court costs and other fees that have been tacked on along the way.


In some courts in Nova Scotia, motorists who require extensions to pay a fine will appear before a justice of the peace to discuss payment options.

But if a fine is past due and without payment for six months, it will be referred automatically to Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations for collection action.

There are no extensions on fines that have been referred for collection and a motorist can’t renew his licence or registration until the outstanding fine is paid up.


The Ontario government transferred enforcement of provincial offences to municipalities between 1999 and 2002 and many hired collection agencies to go after outstanding fines.

In Ontario, overdue fines may not be such a big problem — in fact, some motorists have even ended up paying twice.

Ontarians have been known to pay outstanding traffic fines to both the Province and their Municipality only later to discover that their Municipalities still are attempting to collect on these same outstanding fines that were already paid. The only way that motorists can prevent the Province or Municipality from attempting to collect on the same traffic fine twice, is to maintain your receipt (proving that you paid the fine) after you have paid your fine. If the Municipality or Province attempts to collect for the second time, you must present the receipt to establish that you already paid.

See source of post.

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  1. Hi Carol:
    If “pending” means the tickets are still in the system and have not yet been resolved or brought to their finalty, then “no” they won’t affect you in Ontario. However, once they have been resolved, the outcomes will affect your Ontario licence status. Best to clear them up as soon as possible.

    Remember to always

  2. I have moved from Alberta to Ontario and have tickets pending in Alberta and Manitoba will that affect me transferring my licence and license plates?

  3. Hi Cristine:
    You haven’t indicated if you have a Provincial Driver’s Licence
    or if you have, what Province you are licenced in. The issue of
    the rental car isn’t revelant (other than you shouldn’t have
    been driving it, unless you were registered as an additional
    driver) as the rental car wouldn’t have received a speeding
    ticket, only the person driving it. If you are licenced to
    drive in Guatemala, then you may have been driving with an
    International Driving Licence. Nova Scotia doesn’t appear to
    have a reciprocal agreement with Guatemala. If at the time
    that you recieved a ticket for speeding you didn’t possess a
    Canadian Provincial Driver’s Licence and only possessed an
    International Driver’s Licence you’ll be fine. If, however,
    you did possess a Provincial Driver’s Licence which was
    surrendered when you were pulled over for speeding, then the
    consequences of the speeding will follow you through all of
    the Provinces and some of the United States. Paying the
    ticket will not eradicate the breach, it will only satisfy
    payment of the fine. But non-payment may make it more
    difficult to renew your Provincial Driver’s Licence or to
    apply for one in another Province.
    Remember to always

  4. I received a speed ticket in Nova Scotia but i am not from Canada. Now the ticket is expired. What happen if i want to go to another province in Canada or Usa? There is any problem? Or they are going to find me? I live in Guatemala. I was driving a rental car but i wasnt registered on the rental agency, the agency just had my friend information. I just need more time, i want to pay it.

  5. Hi Jaimie:
    It sounds like things looked really good and then the weight of the Province and the ICBC came crashing down and took the tax return monies and cancelled the driver licence, forcing your husband to apply for a new licence in a new Province, Nova Scotia.

    You thought that the tax return monies were sufficient to pay off the accumulated debt with ICBC.

    Here is the link to a webpage that the ICBC has put out, that deals with “motor vehicle indebtedness” which your situation falls under. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, section 26(1) the ICBC can refuse to issue a licence, without a hearing. You do however have access to an appeal under section 118.7 of the Motor Vehicle Act, which you should seriously explore, given the options.

    There is a papertrail of the tax return monies being recovered by the ICBC and this can be easily established. If there are still monies owing and still outstanding, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles can re-issue your husband’s licence to coincide
    with a reasonable payment plan for the outstanding debt. Good luck, I hope things work out in your favour.

    Remember you should always

  6. Hi, Please help. My husband had unpaid fines with icbc for man years. Finally he gt a good job and was ging to get a decent tax return. Well we moved to NS and icbc took his tax return. We never got any roof it went to them, just said NS department of justice. We assumed it was paid. He was been allowed to finally get a license in NS. He had to get a learners then he now has his full license. Now we have returned to BC, he was pulled over for driving without a license. But he has a valid NS one. They said it doesnt matter he is not allowed to drive in BC til his fines are paid. They re saying they never got paid. So what do we do? Who do we talk to? I believe this is just ICBC trying to collect twice, but how do we prove it.

  7. Hi, I have parking tickets in Ontario but am moving to Nova Scotia or Montreal due to family situations, will these tickets stop me from transferring my license and plates over?

    Would love to hear from you!


  8. Hi Darren: you can do that, but that would mean that you didn’t challenge the speeding ticket received in Ontario and that you would have been found guilty of the speeding charge in court in absentia.

    This means that your Alberta driver’s licence would be afffected and that you would accumulate points on your licence and may be subjected to an increase in your auto insurance premiums, as well as a potential derogatory remark on your credit rating.

    It’s always better to and avoid all of the other risks of neglecting to deal with your speeding tickets.

  9. If i received a speeding ticket in Ontario while on vacation from Alberta, am i able to wait for my registration to become due to pay the fine like i would with a ticket issued in Alberta?..and just pay the extra surcharge, because the letter i received from Ontario is threatening that it could go to collection agency and effect credit rating.

    In Alberta i just wait for my registration to be due then i pay the fine when re registering,can this be done with a ticket from Ontario as well? Thank-you


  10. Hi , I just moved to Manitoba a few days ago and will in the next few days transfer my drivers license from my quebec one to a manitoba one , onely problem is i have outstanding parking tickets in quebec and 2 traffic violations tickets that i had contested ( for which i wasn’t yet issued a court date to contest ) , given the fact that i have about 6 parking tickets ( due more then 6 months ) will this affect me in transfering my quebec drivers license to a manitoba one ? I really appreciate an answer :) thanks and have a nice day ..


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  12. wondering if I go to monreal and I have charges for theft and possession and uttering threats will they transfer me back to nova scotia to go to jail

  13. I am moving to Alberta from Ontario very soon. Currently my driver’s abstract is clean.
    However, I was caught speeding a few months back(30 over) and will have a court case coming up. I am certain I will be in Alberta at the time and will have the Alberta driver’s licence for probably 6 months. I am planning to cancel/turn in my Ont licence.
    Previously, I have always successfully fought all tickets.
    My question is this-if convicted, will Alberta find out about this conviction even though all Ontario driver’s abstracts will be long transferred and my Ontario licence cancelled?
    I am not worried about the fines(which i would likely still pay) but more the driver’s abstract.

  14. Hi Thomas: the parking tickets won’t be an issue; but the 407 ETR charges will follow you and you’ll be forced to pay them. Better off just paying them
    before you move to Alberta and before your credit rating is destroyed.

    Remember to always

  15. I am moving to Alberta from Ontario soon, I have parking tickets issued in Toronto and 407 ETR charges on my Ontario plates & license, no provincial traffic tickets, will this prevent me from getting Alberta plates if I purchase a vehicle in Alberta and register it in Alberta or will I have to pay the fines first?

    Thank you

  16. you mentioned to one response about if he has outstanding tickets in Nova Scotia? Would he be able to obtain a Alberta license? Your answer yes…. But he should also know that due to provincial agreements. He may not be able to obtain an Alberta License. Until his outstanding Nova Scotia fines are paid. …. As most canadian provinces now share traffic ticket/record convictions. Plus provinces may now transfer unpaid fines to collection agencies. Which may hold any license issued. It’s a good idea to check each provinces rules about unpaid fines! jim

  17. Does NS and AB have parking ticket reciprocity? Got a NS parking ticket on Private property vehicle is AB plated, as we are here for school, rego due in next 2 months, will it affect me ?

  18. My licence was suspended last month(Nov),due to a big unpaid fine!The judge had given me one year to clear it but i wasnt able.I want to give my car to my wife(separated) because she has my children,while i sort out myself.Will the ministry allow the transfer of ownership to happen?

  19. Hi Christine:

    It sounds like you have had it tough, with respect to the responsibilities of being a single mother to two children and trying to obtain a decent job.

    It is surprising that after all of these years that you are still being pursued by a collection agency over this matter. Sometimes financial hardship
    doesn’t allow someone to pay outstanding debts.

    If this outstanding debt is having a direct impact on your quality of life and that of your children, I would do two things:

    Go to the Justice of the Peace in your area and ask that a realistic payment schedule be worked out to allow you to pay off the debt over time (years)
    and I would also contact my MPP and ask for his or her advice, referring to this matter as an economic hardship that you cannot pay and ask
    that it be excused and waived.

    Good luck, it sounds like things have been hard for you and that you have integrity and want to do the right thing.

    Remember to always

  20. I was arrested in 1997 for driving without a licence and fined for no insurance ($5000.00). Last week a collection agency called me to notify me that this fine was still outstanding (as if I didn’t know). For the past 16 years I have been a sole support parent of 2 children, one is on his own now, the other still with me. I didn’t have the money to pay this fine for 16 years now and the future isn’t looking any better. Is there any way I can fight this, I think 3 weeks in jail and 16 years of being prohibited from driving far outweighs the punishment I deserved for my own stupid decision. I have taken full responsibility and admitted my guilt, however I don’t agree that I should be barred from ever driving again due to my inability to pay? Over the years I have turned down numerous well paying jobs simply because I didn’t have the transportation. Which in turn directed affected my ability to secure any legal advice and my ability to work out a payment arrangement. So please, any advice would be helpful.

  21. Hi Mike:
    In 2001 the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administration approved changes to the Compact, which had the effect of mandating that each participating Province/Territory to the Compact where the offence had occurred would have to notify the home jurisdiction of the driver’s offence, expecting the home Province/Territory to take action with respect to unpaid fines, suspensions etc. This may include the home Province/Territory having to withhold/suspend the driver’s driving privileges or the denial of vehicle registration. In 2003, the Criminal Code was included, including section 249.1 -this information was to be shared in the event of a conviction.


    If you received a suspension or revocation of your driver’s licence and your auto insurance company cancelled your auto insurance, there is a record.

    Due to the implementation of technology, the sharing of driver information is almost automatic, upon a Highway Traffic Act or Criminal Code conviction.

    If you went to another Province and attempted to apply for your driver’s licence, there would be a record of your prior convictions and that Province or Territory which have occurred within the issuing jurisdiction’s normal record retention period. That Province/Territory not be in a position to issue you a new licence, if the conviction was still outstanding. Even if you were able to apply for and receive another licence, you would be forced to jump over the auto insurance hurdle.

    If you were able to get insurance, you would have to be honest on the application.

    Wait until the mandatory time limits expire and then re-apply for your licence and insurance.

    Remember to always http”//

  22. Is there a statute of limitations on curt appointed fines for ie. impaired, no insurance, etc.?

    Also, prohibited from driving in Ontario, can you get licenses in other provinces?

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