Unpaid COVID-19 tickets could cost you your driver’s license

VICTORIA, B.C. – Anyone who doesn’t pay their COVID-19 fines might be unable to get a new or renewed British C…

VICTORIA, B.C. – Anyone who doesn’t pay their COVID-19 fines might be unable to get a new or renewed British Columbia driver’s license.

New legislation proposed Wednesday would extend “refuse to issue” restrictions to fines issued by the Emergency Program Act and the COVID-19 Related Measures Act.

“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,” says 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 license or vehicle license if they still won’t take their tickets seriously and pay up.”

In December 2020, ICBC was instructed by the provincial government to send outstanding fines to collections agencies after 30 days. Typically, unpaid fines go to collections after one year.

People with outstanding fines will be notified by ICBC before the expiry of their current driver’s license.

As of May 8th, 1,679 violation tickets have been processed for a total amount of $1,179,980. Only 14 per cent, or $172,825 has been paid so far, according to a release.

People can request the court to lower the fine if they can’t afford to pay. Repayment arrangements are available with ICBC depending on a person’s financial needs.

The amendment will take effect on July 1st, 2021.

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