N.W.T. parking ticket law needs updating, says city's lawyer
The City of Yellowknife says it wants to speed up the the way it prosecutes parking tickets, after a judge threw out a parking ticket case because it took a year to get to trial.
Under N.W.T. law, unpaid parking tickets are handled in much the same way as criminal charges. A bylaw officer must go to the courthouse and essentially start a court action, then hand-deliver notice of a court date to the person ticketed.
"If we're not the last, we're very close to the last place in Canada that follows this process," said Kerry Penney, lawyer for the City of Yellowknife.
"I mean, you can imagine the City of Toronto is not hand-delivering every parking ticket, the City of Edmonton — even St. John's or the City of Halifax — with the volume, it wouldn't be doable."
Last Friday, a judge threw out the case of a parking ticket given to local lawyer Serge Petitpas after lengthy delays. Petitpas had requested a trial in French.
Penney says the cumbersome parking ticket process — not the language issue — was the main cause of the delay.
She says the city has been lobbying the territorial government to change the law for the last two years, but so far it's had no success.
Roger Sheppard, a spokesperson for the N.W.T. Department of Justice, said in an email there may be options for the city to streamline the process.
"Changes were made in 2010 to help relieve some of the pressure. We are open to continuing these discussions with the City for improvements."