The province is mulling over new ways to collect cash owed by COVID-19 rulebreakers, including those who hosted or attended gatherings, posing a public health risk.
Police issued more than $1.1-million in fines but a large majority of those violation tickets in B.C. have gone unpaid, according to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
From the start of the pandemic until Tuesday (March 27), 1,570 people were issued tickets in British Columbia, amassing $961,400 in fines.
Violations include refusing to wear a mask, violating the food and liquor serving order and throwing house parties or events in bars or restaurants.
Additionally, 128 individuals found breaching the Quarantine Act were slapped with $217,494 in federal fines – bringing the total owed in the province by scofflaws to $1,178,894.
ICBC administers the retrieval of ticket fees on behalf of the government, sending them to collections after a 30-day period or after an alleged offender is found guilty in court.
As of Tuesday, COVID-19 rule violators owed the Crown corporation $716,930. Only a small fraction, 12 per cent, of the 1,162 COVID-19 ticket holders ICBC is processing have paid their dues.
Only 12 quarantine violation tickets have been paid, with $317,073 still owed federally by British Columbians. A portion are being challenged in court.
If a fine is not paid, ICBC said it may take additional measures including garnishing wages or assets or going to court to seize personal assets.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the province is looking into holding driver’s licence renewals until COVID-19 fines are paid.
“There will be more to come in the weeks ahead on further measures to collect outstanding fines,” he told Black Press Media.
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