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.
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.
NOVA SCOTIA :
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.
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