City of Regina collecting on $7 million in unpaid parking fines

Letters have been sent to numerous Regina residents notifying them of years-old parking fines. The City of Regina is looking to collect on the old tickets.

The City of Regina has been pursuing close to 20,000 accounts with outstanding fines

The City says as of Jan. 1, 2017 approximately $7 million in unpaid parking fines is still due from around 20,000 accounts. (Aldo Columpsi/CBC)

Some people in Regina are learning the hard way that the statute of limitations does not apply to parking tickets.

The City of Regina has been sending letters to residents notifying them of unpaid parking tickets, some of which stem from violations almost a decade ago. The cumulative average of the tickets can be in the hundreds of dollars for some people.

For Aaron Stuckel his $600 worth of fines came as a total surprise.

"I thought I had them all taken care of," said Stuckel. "But then I get this letter, you know, five years later or four years later saying that I still owe $600. So it's just a bit frustrating."

Stuckel accrued many of his tickets during his time studying journalism at the University of Regina — despite his parking pass. He said many of his tickets were successfully appealed, but with this recent notification the typical thirty day period to appeal does not apply, since these tickets are already several years overdue.
Aaron Stuckel said he is frustrated to learn he owes $600 in unpaid fines, especially since he is not able to appeal tickets he thought were paid. (CBC Saskatchewan)

"I dealt with so many of these when I was at the U of R," said Stuckel.

At the time, he was driving his parents car. His parents in turn sent the letter they recently received on to their son. Stuckel says the letter was delivered a few months after the provincial budget was released and felt that the city hounding him and others to pay old tickets might have something to do with the $10.3 million budget shortfall faced by the city.

"It felt like a little bit of a cash grab by the city when times were tight for the city," said Stuckel. "I should say too, that the people at the city have been fairly understanding. This is obviously a surprise to a lot of people."

Approximately $7 million in unpaid fines

The letters state that a minimum of one ticket per month is to be paid until the balance is zero and for those who can't accommodate that payment structure, there is an alternative offered.

However, if the tickets are not paid the account owing the ticket will be forwarded to the Credit Bureau of Canada, which is a private company.

"Any of the information we collect would be ownership information from the parking ticket," said Faisal Kalim, manager of parking services with the city. "Any ownership information that the city would have the collection agency would have available to them."

Which means any information used to register your vehicle would be handed off to the collection agency.

Despite feelings that the revved-up collection practice had something to do with the budget shortfall, Kalim said that is not the case. The city has been fully in charge of collecting parking fines since 2012 when the service was transferred from the Regina Police Service to the City of Regina.
The City of Regina has been fully in charge of collecting parking fines since 2012. (CBC Saskatchewan)

The recent strategy of sending letters to people with old outstanding parking tickets started in December 2016.

"Our collections folks started with highest value accounts and they've been working their way down to accounts that today only have one or two tickets," said Kalim.

After going through a backlog of approximately 20,000 accounts owing around $7 million the city is now processing the lower-value accounts. According to Kalim that's why more people are receiving letters in the mail now. In his experience a high value account could owe over $10,000.

Kalim said this method of collection will cost $20,000 to $30,000 in postage alone, though that is one of the biggest expenses.