Two years into the pandemic, a majority of fines given out for COVID violations in B.C. have not been paid.
Nearly $2 million in tickets have been given out, but newly released data from ICBC shows just under $400,000 has been paid so far while $623,300 in fines remain unpaid.
ICBC is responsible for collecting ticket fines in B.C.
As of Feb. 12, total of 2,724 tickets have been issued. Of those, 736 have been paid, 417 are disputed and 1181 are unpaid by people found guilty of the ticketed offence. A person can be found guilty if the ticket passes the 30-day window without dispute or was disputed and the offender was found guilty. Around 120 tickets have been withdrawn and the rest have either been cancelled, found not guilty or a dispute is in progress.
When asked about the large number of unpaid fines at a news conference on Thursday (Feb. 24), Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the tickets “will be paid”.
“It may take a little time, but they will be paid.”
Tickets are sent to a collection agency after 30 days if they have not been disputed. The fines must be paid when a person goes to renew their drivers licence or insurance at ICBC.
In some cases, ICBC can garnish wages or assets and place liens on the property of individuals who do not pay their fines. The province has previously warned that failure to pay could result in criminal charges that carry additional penalties or jail time.
COVID-19 violation tickets could be issued for a number of offences, including the failure to check B.C. Vaccine Cards where required, failure to wear a face mask, acting abusively toward others in relation to public health orders and attending or hosting events that are not compliant with public health orders.
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