File photo

File photo

B.C. moves to bar people with unpaid COVID fines from getting, renewing driver’s licence

Only 14% of people have paid their fines as of May 8

Individuals who don’t pay their COVID-19 fines may soon be unable to get or renew a B.C. driver’s licence or vehicle licence from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

New legislation was introduced Wednesday (May 12) which could give the province the power to hold back those licences. The province has given out 1,679 fines, amounting to $1,179,980, for breaking COVID-19 rules, but said that only $172,825 – or 14 per cent – have been paid as of Saturday.

“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 Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.. “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 licence or vehicle licence if they still won’t take their tickets seriously and pay up.”

If the proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act pass, they will extend “refuse to issue” restrictions to fines issued under the Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act. These are not the only fines due to which ICBC can refuse to give out or renew licences; people who do not make their child support payments or have unpaid motor vehicle fines can also be refused.

Those with COVID-19 fines will still have options in terms of payment by asking the court to lower the fine if they cannot pay or working with ICBC to come up with a payment plan.

As of December, COVID-19 fines have been sent to collections after 30 days, or when the dispute period has ended, or court has confirmed guilt. Typical violation tickets only go to collections after 12 months.

If passed, the proposed measures are scheduled to come into force on July 1.

READ MORE: B.C. more than doubles fine for breaking COVID-19 gathering orders


@katslepian

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