B.C. looks to bar those with unpaid COVID-19 fines from renewing licenses
The British Columbia Legislature in Victoria. (Supplied by B.C. Government)
Legislation proposed on Wednesday could prevent those with unpaid COVID-19 fines from renewing their diver’s or other vehicle licenses.
“That small minority of persons who have been fined for violating the rules in place to protect us all are going to be held accountable for the debt they owe,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We’ve already moved up the deadline for sending unpaid COVID-19 fines to collections. Now, we’re going to refuse to issue offenders a driver’s license or vehicle license if they still won’t take their tickets seriously and pay up.”
The B.C. Government said 1,679 COVID-related violation tickets have been processed by ICBC as of May 8th. Collectively, the value of the tickets is $1,179,980, from that $172,825, or 14%, has been paid.
If passed, this proposed amendment will extend the Motor Vehicle Act’s “refuse to issue” (RTI) restrictions to include fines issued under the Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act.
This RTI will apply to all outstanding fines issued under these acts and will work retroactively. Notices will be sent out prior the license’s expiration date if it is associated with an outstanding fine
If passed, the amendments will come into effect on July 1st.
In December of 2020, the Province instructed ICBC to send unpaid COVID-19 tickets to a collections agency after 30 days when the dispute period has ended or the courts have confirmed guilt. Other unpaid violation ticket files typically go to collections after 12 months.
British Columbians have several payment options available to them:
- People with COVID-19 fines are able to request the court lower the fine if they lack the means to pay.
- Repayment arrangements can be requested and will be considered by ICBC depending on financial and hardship needs.
- RTI decisions can also be appealed to the superintendent of motor vehicles to be reviewed on any grounds including hardship.
More: COVID-19 violation ticket information (B.C. Government)