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B.C. to refuse driver’s licence renewals to people with unpaid COVID-19 fines

Click to play video: 'Unpaid COVID fines linked to B.C. driver’s licence' Unpaid COVID fines linked to B.C. driver’s licence
People who don't pay their COVID-19 fines may be unable to obtain or renew a British Columbia driver's or vehicle licence under proposed legislation introduced Wednesday. Richard Zussman reports. – May 12, 2021

The B.C. government says people who don’t pay COVID-19-related fines could be refused driver’s or vehicle licences.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the move Wednesday, which will be accomplished by amending the Motor Vehicle Act.

Read more: ‘We are not going to let it drop’: Majority of $1.1M in COVID-19 fines issued in B.C. remain unpaid

The change would empower ICBC to refuse to issue or renew licensing due to unpaid fines associated with B.C.’s Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act.

Click to play video: 'B.C. considering new measures to collect unpaid COVID-19 fines' B.C. considering new measures to collect unpaid COVID-19 fines
B.C. considering new measures to collect unpaid COVID-19 fines – Mar 28, 2021

The province says the refusals would apply to all outstanding fines, and be applied retroactively. People with an outstanding fine would get a warning ahead of their driver’s licence expiry date, and would retain the right to appeal through the superintendent of motor vehicles.

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The new enforcement is scheduled to begin on July 1.

Read more: B.C. to more than double COVID-19 fines for attending social gatherings

The move comes as the province struggles to recoup fines issued to people caught violating COVID-19 restrictions.

ICBC, which collects ticket fines on behalf of the provincial government, has processed 1,679 violation tickets so far, amounting to $1.17 million — just $172,825, or 14 per cent of that figure, has actually been paid.

In December, the province directed ICBC to send unpaid fines to collections as soon as their 30-day payment or dispute penalty ended.

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