Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray plans to introduce legislation next month to allow municipalities to recoup upwards of “$350-million in outstanding fines” he told a joint conference of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and the Ontario Good Roads Association on Wednesday.


Murray drew applause after the announcement at the conference where he was the keynote speaker.


He also, rather scoldingly said  “Scofflaw drivers from other provinces should no longer get a free ride”.


Out of province drivers have long been avoiding fines in Ontario, costing municipalities millions in unpaid tickets.  At a time when the province is dumping more and more responsibilities on to municipalities the least the Ontario Liberals could do is help them recoup this money.


The planned legislation would need to pass the minority legislature, and would affect those guilty of a list of common driving offences in Ontario and force them to pay up.


Municipalities will be able to reach in to the past seven years to chase these drivers, with the goal of raising hundreds of millions of dollars.


“Every 1 per cent increase in fine collection is about $2.5-million, so there’s potentially $100-million a year in more revenue right now for municipalities just from better enforcement of the law,” Murray said.  Those “who are successfully getting away with avoiding their responsibilities, we will have a better toolkit to make sure that they’re compliant with the law” he continued.


The offences set to be targeted include speeding, improper lane changes, illegal turns, driving with no insurance and careless driving. Drivers who choose not to pay may be denied a licence plate, theoretically making them easier to spot.


“People, we find, drive without drivers’ licences to avoid costs; there’s enough people doing that that it’s becoming a problem,” Mr. Murray said. “If you [target] a licence plate it’s a lot harder to avoid that. It’s pretty easy for police to notice if you’re trying to drive a car without a licence plate on it. Or with an expired plate on it.”

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