Alberta going after $126 million in unpaid traffic tickets

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EDMONTON, Alta. — The Alberta government is cracking down on motorists with unpaid traffic tickets in an attempt to make a dent in 651,000 outstanding fines worth $126 million, according to a recent story in the National Post.

Alberta Justice is expanding a pilot program across the province that will use measures such as intercepting income tax returns and GST rebates, garnishing wages and bank accounts and, in the worst cases, seizing property.

“The message is, pay your offences on time,” said Steve Jackson, the executive director of claims and recovery with Alberta Justice. “If you don’t pay your offences on time, we will come after you.”

Two years ago, the province started a pilot project targeting 50,000 late tickets in Edmonton worth about $9 million. First, letters were sent out to offenders requesting payment within 14 business days. If payment arrangements weren’t made within 30 days, the names were registered with the Canadian Revenue Agency and progressively harsher collection measures were implemented. The province claims it recovered 50% of the outstanding fines.

Now, 15,000 letters are being sent out to Edmonton drivers by the end of this month, with another 15,000 to go out to addresses in that city by December. Calgary-based drivers will also be targeted.

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