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Unpaid COVID-19 fines can now lead to a driver's licence denial in BC

Those with outstanding COVID-19 related fines could be left without a driver's licence in BC.

On Wednesday, the provincial government announced a planned amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act that will allow the refusal of future licence applications to ICBC.

"That small minority of persons who have been fined for violating the rules in place to protect us all are going to be held accountable for the debt they owe," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

"We've already moved up the deadline for sending unpaid COVID-19 fines to collections. Now, we're going to refuse to issue offenders a driver's licence or vehicle licence if they still won't take their tickets seriously and pay up."

People with outstanding fines will receive notice of the RTI from ICBC ahead of their driver’s licence expiry and vehicle licence renewal.

These amendments will be enacted on July 1, 2021.

However, the province said people have various options available to them when it comes to paying these fines, including:

  • People with COVID-19 fines can request the court lower the fine if they lack the means to pay;
  • Repayment arrangements can be requested and will be considered by ICBC depending on financial and hardship needs;
  • RTI decisions can also be appealed to the superintendent of motor vehicles to be reviewed on any grounds, including hardship.

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 with only 14%, or $172,825, having actually been paid.

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