Sask. has withdrawn nearly as many tickets issued for breaking COVID-19 rules as it has convictions
Sask. has yet to collect nearly $400K it is owed from fines
Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Saskatchewan has withdrawn as many tickets for violating COVID-19 restrictions as it has secured convictions.
A review of ticketing data by CBC News shows that Saskatchewan has issued 712 tickets for violating orders under the province's Public Health Act.
Tickets were issued for things such as failing to mask indoors when it was mandatory or not abiding by gathering limits.
As of March 31, the province's justice department says 27 per cent of tickets have resulted in a conviction.
While 26 per cent of tickets have been withdrawn, nullified or lost jurisdiction.
The province said jurisdiction is lost when a case can't proceed because of specific circumstances outside the accused's control.
Of the tickets, 47 per cent are classified as pending. Pending means those tickets are waiting to be heard by a court or for a resolution to be reached.
Nearly $400K remains uncollected
Of the 191 convictions, 21 charges have had fines fully collected while eight charges have been partially collected.
The total amount of cash collected as a result of convictions is $48,203.
That means the province has yet to collect $398,286 in outstanding fines and surcharges from people convicted of violating the Public Health Act.
The province's orders under the Public Health Act expired at the end of Februarry, and were not renewed, which means unless something changes 712 tickets will remain the total number of tickets issued over the COVID-19 pandemic.
How fines work
Those ticketed for violating the rules under the Public Health Act faced a maximum ticket of $2,000, while corporations can be ticketed a maximum of $10,000.
Each ticket may also include a 40 per cent victim surcharge.
Courts can decide the fine amount for violating the Public Health Act — $7,500 for individuals or $100,00 for corporations — depending on which act the charges were laid under.
Each of those fines can also include a 40 per cent victim surcharge.
According to the province, if people pay their charges more than 15 days after the due date they will face an additional $60 late charge.
If the fine remains unpaid 90 days past its due date, the Ministry of Justice sends it to a collection agency, the Canada Revenue Agency, or both.
Further enforcement can include garnishing of wages, seizure of personal property, suspension of a person's driver's licence and, in extreme cases, possible incarceration.