Calgary

10K delayed photo radar tickets land in mailboxes of Calgary drivers

The Calgary Police Service is in the midst of sending out approximately 10,000 delayed photo enforcement violation tickets for infractions that occurred up to five months ago during the Canada Post strike.

Delays were originally prompted by Canada Post strike

A fixed photo-radar camera in Calgary. Mobile photo-radar units are also deployed in changing locations across the city. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

Roughly 10,000 delayed photo radar tickets are now making their way into the hands of Calgarians — up to five months after the infraction actually took place.

Calgary police said the backlog stems from the Canada Post strike, which saw mail service across the country interrupted or stalled between Oct. 22 and Dec. 18, 2018.

"Now we are reissuing some of those tickets,"said Amanda Welfare, manager of police business operations.

Strike caused switch to courier delivery of tickets

Welfare says that in mid-September, CPS was told by the City of Calgary to cease using Canada Post because of pending labour negotiations. 

Immediately after, Welfare said the service obtained a court order that authorized CPS to serve photo enforcement violations using courier, and they began processing the violations. 

But, despite the use of couriers, Welfare says there are two situations where someone would receive a ticket up to five months after the offence took place.

"If somebody has a P.O. box or if it's an apartment and the courier company couldn't get into the building they weren't able to deliver it," she said. 

"This speaks to the fact that we need to be absolutely sure that somebody has got that ticket and we couldn't do that in those situations."

The second reason for delayed issuances of tickets, according to Welfare, is because of an error in processing, in which CPS failed to include the court order that told citizens Calgary police allowed tickets to be sent via courier. 

"We had to cancel and recall those tickets and re-issue them," she said. "There is a letter attached to each ticket which describes why they are receiving the tickets right now."

This letter is being included with delayed photo enforcement violations making their way to Calgarians. (CBC)

Social media confusion

In early January, CBC learned of this potential issue from a thread on the website Reddit. But, when CBC News reached out to police, they said their use of a courier had mitigated that being an issue — something they now acknowledge was an error.

Some Reddit users wrote that in some cases, they had never received a notice of violation, but had already received a notice of conviction.

That's something Welfare said should not have happened. 

"The delay in getting the re-issued tickets out is because we always check with the courts first to see whether somebody has paid their ticket before we recall it, because we don't want to have to have them pay it twice," she said.

"So, once the court advised us who paid and who didn't, we only re-issue to those people that didn't pay. So nobody should have that kind of letter."

But, if someone does believe their ticket was delayed or lost as a result of the strike and courier use, Welfare said they're encouraged to contact the CPS Ticket Control Unit at 403-428-5991.

"I can appreciate how people are confused that they're getting this for maybe the second time and I can appreciate the frustration," she said. 

Despite any confusion, Welfare said there is a reason violations still have to be issued.

"Our purpose of photo enforcement tickets is about traffic safety," she said. "It's a deterrent when somebody gets a ticket ,it reminds them to stay within the speed limit."

About the Author

Lucie Edwardson

Journalist

Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary. In 2018 she headed a pop-up bureau in Lethbridge, Alberta. Her experience includes newspaper, online, TV and radio. Follow her on Twitter @LucieEdwardson

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