Ottawa

Out-of-province scofflaws still safely outside Ottawa's red light reach

The City of Ottawa is missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue because it still doesn't have a process in place for pursuing Quebec drivers who run red lights — despite being given the power to do so by the Ontario government at the beginning of the year.

More than 1,200 out-of-province drivers evade fines, 6 months after province gives Ottawa power to pursue them

The City of Ottawa now has the power to pursue out-of-province drivers caught running red lights, but still needs to reach an agreement with Quebec. (CBC)

The City of Ottawa is missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential revenue because it still doesn't have a process in place for pursuing out-of-province drivers who run red lights — despite being given the power to do so by the Ontario government more than six months ago.

In the first quarter of 2016, the city issued 5,266 violations to drivers caught in the act by the city's red light cameras, and estimates it could have handed out another 1,241 to owners of vehicles with out-of-province plates.

The ticket for running a red light comes with a $260 fine, a $5 service fee and a $60 victim surcharge, according to the city. The city has estimated out-of-province fines could be worth $500,000 a year

Yet despite being granted the power to pursue out-of-province scofflaws on January 1, the city says it's still developing a process with the Quebec government to track drivers using that province's digital database.

Fines to be issued once agreement reached

"Once this process and agreement are in place the violations will be mailed to the registered owners of the vehicles similar to the process for Ontario plated vehicles," said Phil Landry, the city's manager of traffic services, in a written statement.

It's not clear whether those fines will be issued retroactively, or will only apply to out-of-province drivers caught after an agreement with Quebec is reached.

In 2015 Ottawa's red light cameras snapped pictures of 17,658 vehicles with Ontario plates, plus an estimated 4,900 sporting out-of-province tags.

Before the change in Ontario law, the city collected about $12 million a year from provincial fines, including $3.9 million from red light runners.

There are 34 red light cameras in Ottawa, and the city planned to add five more in January, 2016. (Google)

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