London

Watch out lawbreakers: city could issue fines online or through mail

The city is looking to crack down on lawbreakers in a new system that would issue fines directly through email, fax or mail.

Fines could be issued for illegal parking or idling, lack of property maintenance and nuisance infractions

City of London to consider an Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) system. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

The city is looking to crack down on lawbreakers in a new system that would issue fines directly through email, fax or mail.

The proposed Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) system would see the modern ticketing methods used to address a spectrum of bylaw violations. Instead of being issued a ticket in-person, a law officer could use your licence plate or email to more effectively issue fines.

Fines could be issued for illegal parking or idling, lack of property maintenance and nuisance infractions.  

"Londoners want compliance with community bylaws – we get more and more requests to make amendments to bylaws because of behaviour and property issues," said Orest Katolyk, the city's chief municipal law enforcement officer.

Council gave city staff the green light to prepare a business case to implement the system, already in place in other cities such as in the GTA.

Courthouse to city hall

(Chris Ensing/CBC)

AMPs would also bring changes to the way a defendant may appeal a ticket.

The system would transfer bylaw disputes from the courtroom to the municipality through screening and hearing officers. They would be able to cancel or reduce the fine or make arrangements for payment extensions.

The move comes after the province reported that about 90 per cent of appeals were settled on the trial date without the trial.

Katolyk said this eats up court and city resources.  

'Difficult to seek compliance'

Katolyk said city officers experienced difficulty in ticketing drivers who were illegally parked or idled in drop-off and pick-up areas in school zones. Many parked cars were also blocking private driveways.

"As soon as the violators …. see the enforcement officer — they leave. So it's difficult for us to seek compliance," he said.

"[Through AMPs], behaviour in terms of parking improves because even though you're not getting a ticket on your windshield you are getting some sort of penalty."

Katolyk said the system would also help crack down on noise and other complaints coming from residential areas near Western University and Fanshawe College that are mostly occupied by students.

Bylaw officers often deal with landlords, who often aren't the ones causing any disturbances, rather than the tenants who are.

Katolyk said it's difficult to determine who the student-tenants are because of confidential leases — however bylaw officers can issue tickets by screening car licences or getting the email addresses of residents.

They could also issue tickets related to local infringements to lawbreakers outside of the city by partnering with other municipalities.

City staff will present a business case later in 2018.