Red-light camera fines could net Ottawa $500K from outside Ontario

Drivers with a licence plate from outside Ontario are no longer anonymous to Ottawa's 34 red light cameras — and that could lead to an extra $500,000 in revenues for the city.

Ottawa can now contact drivers in all Canadian provinces and U.S. states if they're caught here running a red


Drivers with a licence plate from outside Ontario are no longer anonymous to Ottawa's 34 red light cameras — and that could lead to an extra $500,000 in ticketing revenue, the deputy city treasurer estimated.

The provincial government changes came into effect Jan. 1, allowing Ontario municipalities to send tickets to drivers from other Canadian provinces and U.S. states if they are caught on red-light cameras or fail to stop for school buses. 

"It's a big win for us," said deputy city treasurer Wendy Stephanson.

She said Ottawa has been pushing for these extra powers for a long time as many Quebec drivers pass through the city daily. 

"We're a border town in the sense that Quebec is right next door," she said.
Wendy Stephanson, deputy city treasurer at the City of Ottawa, says until new powers came along Jan. 1, 2016, it wasn't fair that Ontarians could be pursued for provincial offences, but not someone living outside the province. (Kate Porter/CBC)

The city currently brings in about $12 million annually in fines from provincial offences, including $3.9 million last year from red-light cameras. Five more cameras will be added this year.

Also on Jan.1, the fine for the late-payment of provincial tickets, including red-light tickets, went up from $20 to $40. 

Stephanson doesn't expect the city to receive much more revenue from that, though. The funds will likely go toward offsetting costs of running Provincial Offences Act courts, including costs for justices of the peace, which also went up Jan. 1.


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