The Manitoba government has yet to collect a large proportion of the COVID-19-related fines issued since the start of the pandemic.
So far, about 87 per cent of the money hasn’t been paid, out of around $3.5 million worth in tickets.
The provincial government has collected just over 13 per cent of COVID-19-related fines issued since April 2020, up from the less than 10 per cent Global News reported in October.
A Manitoba government spokesperson said people facing fines had paid $458,785 of 2,586 offences under The Public Health Act, The Emergency Measures Act and the Quarantine Act totaling $3,500,661, as of Feb. 6, 2022.
“Although this figure represents a smaller percentage of the total fines issued, it’s important to note that Manitoba’s large-scale provincial enforcement efforts only began in November of 2020 and collection efforts are ongoing,” they wrote in an email.
The province reminds Manitobans that people who leave fines unpaid without giving a response face a default conviction and must pay an additional $100.
“In such cases, the individual would also be prohibited from obtaining or renewing a driver’s licence or vehicle registration until the amount is paid,” the spokesperson said.
“Unpaid amounts are also sent to a collections agency for further collection action,” they said.
Former justice minister Cameron Friesen previously told Global News, “We have a proper process and procedure that is being followed.”
“No one is ‘getting away,'” he said last fall.
At the time, Manitoba Justice said it wasn’t able to provide data on the number of Manitobans facing COVID-19-related fines who’ve appealed their tickets or the number of people blocked from getting or renewing their driver’s license or vehicle registration.
However, it did release overall Criminal Code and provincial statute collection figures in its annual report. The collection program processed $40 million for these fines, the report says.
“In addition, 15,086 active driver’s license holds and 15,705 motor vehicle registration holds were put in place, and 444 collection actions (which include garnishing wages and bank accounts) and one writ (to seize vehicles) were utilized for the collection of outstanding fines,” the report says.
The province says it’s keeping all of the 3,300 officials designated to enforce public health orders as restrictions ease by mid-March.