Ottawa gets power to mail tickets to out-of-province drivers

The Ontario government has given municipalities the right to go after parking offenders even if they live outside the province. The new rules came into effect Jan. 1

Unpaid fines have cost city hundreds of thousands of dollars, says councillor

The fine for paying a parking ticket late went up $20 to $40 New Year's Day. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

If you thought you didn't have to pay a parking ticket from the City of Ottawa because you live in Quebec, think again.

As of Jan. 1, the Ontario government has given municipalities the right to go after offenders even if they live outside the province.

Rick Chiarelli says he hopes the jolt of receiving a ticket in the mail will encourage more people to pay their traffic tickets. (CBC)

For the last several years Ontario has been trying to improve the way it collects unpaid tickets involving the Provincial Offences Act. Most of those tickets involve traffic code violations and parking tickets.

While Ontario drivers could be threatened with suspended licences or impounded cars, until Jan. 1, it was more difficult to go after out-of-province offenders.

Coun. Rick Chiarelli says unpaid fines have added up to close to half a million dollars. 

"There was no mechanism for us to recover  those funds. So we end up, as a city, short hundreds of thousands of dollars," Chiarelli said.

"And more importantly, the respect for law here erodes when everyone knows they can get away with it."

Change heralded as a "positive"

Ottawa city council has passed a resolution asking the provincial government for help collecting fines across provincial boundary lines. 

Municipalities can now mail notices to out-of-province offenders.

​Diane Deans, chair of the city's community and protective services committee, says that's good news.

"Anytime we get an additional enforcement tool to ensure compliance with our bylaws is a positive," she said.

There's another incentive to pay a traffic ticket regardless of where you live: the fine for late payment went up $20 to $40 on New Year's Day.

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