UCP hiring more workers to deal with traffic ticket backlog

The provincial government introduced Bill 21 this week, which, if passed, would introduce, among other things, an adjudication branch of the government.

The provincial government introduced Bill 21, the Provincial Administrative Penalties Act this week, which, if passed, would introduce the Immediate Roadside Sanction programme, an adjudication branch of the government, and a ticket dispute system for non-criminal traffic offences.

The Immediate Roadside Sanction program will be introduced in late 2020 and includes new consequences for impaired drivers:

  • New fines up to $2,000
  • Increased length of vehicle seizure up to 30 days for certain offences
  • Mandatory education programs for repeat offenders
  • Increased driver’s licence suspensions for repeat offenders
  • Expanded mandatory ignition interlock for repeat offenders

The new adjudicator branch will be operational this autumn, focusing on resolving impaired driving infractions. The following year, they will take on all driving infractions, other than those causing bodily harm or death. Eventually, the branch could be expanded so that used by any regulated area of provincial jurisdiction, not just traffic infractions.

According to 10(1) of Bill 11, the minister of justice can appoint anyone to be the director of the adjudicator branch. Section 10(2) gives the director authority to designate any public employees as adjudicators.

Finally, the new ticket dispute system will be entirely online and operational by late 2021, and it will allow people to pay, request more time to pay, or dispute a ticket. The provincial government claims that nearly 2 million non-criminal traffic tickets would move from being administered by the court system to being administered through the online system. Adjudicators must review the tickets within 21 days of issuing, rather than months later, as the case is now. According to 18(4), adjudicators are “not bound by the rules respecting evidence applicable to judicial proceedings” when reviewing documentation provided by those disputing the tickets.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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