Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's jaywalking fine could be part of wider review, minister says

The Nova Scotia government has temporarily put the brakes on implementing a controversial — and hefty — fine for jaywalking included in legislation passed last fall.

Last fall, government said $700 fine would create consistency between fines for drivers and pedestrians

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan said Thursday the $700 fine hasn't been proclaimed yet because it may be reviewed ahead of the release of a road safety strategy in June. (Robert Short/CBC)

The Nova Scotia government has temporarily put the brakes on implementing a controversial — and hefty — fine for jaywalking included in legislation passed last fall.

The change would boost the fine to nearly $700 from $410 — more than the penalty for using a cellphone behind the wheel.

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan said Thursday the fine portion of the legislation hasn't been proclaimed yet because it may be reviewed ahead of the release of a road safety strategy in June.

Critics have called the fine "disproportionate and counterproductive."

'It's fair to have a look'

"When people give opinions and there's legitimacy to it, I think it's fair to have a look," said MacLellan. "In trying to understand the context of fines and how they relate to each other, the timing couldn't be better."

MacLellan said the strategy would rewrite the Motor Vehicle Act and include a review of all road safety fines, but he wouldn't say whether that means the proposed jaywalking fine will ultimately be reduced.

"Looking at the big picture, texting and driving, impaired driving — I think it's a reasonable thing to take a full-scale look," was all he would say.

Rationale behind the fine

Last fall, MacLellan said raising the pedestrian fine to a level equivalent with the highest fine for drivers sends the message that road safety is a shared responsibility.

Provincial officials said the logic behind increasing what was already the highest jaywalking fine in the country was to create consistency between fines for drivers and pedestrians while also acting as a deterrent.

The move was partly in response to a rash of vehicle pedestrian accidents in the Halifax area in particular.

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