Province hopes changes will make it easier to resolve traffic tickets

Police Chief Jon Bergen speaks at a news conference at École St. Anne school on Sept. 16, 2020 about a new traffic safety program. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

Traffic tickets will become easier to pay, thanks to new initiatives announced by the provincial government Monday.

Under The Summary Offences Procedure Amendment Act, 2021, the provincial government is hoping to make it easier for citizens to resolve traffic tickets by introducing several process improvements and a new online system.

The changes will first be implemented for traffic tickets, and may later expand for tickets for other offences.

“The amendments will make the process for resolving tickets simpler and more efficient while still being fair for all citizens,” the province said.

The amendments will allow defendants to request an extension to their fine payment due date without attending court, enroll in the Fine Option Program prior to their court appearance to allow them to start paying down the fine earlier and participate in an early resolution discussion with a prosecutor online, on the phone or in writing.

The government said that it hopes these changes “significantly reduce” court volumes by allowing defendants to resolve many tickets without having to travel to a courthouse.

An online system is being developed in order to enact the changes. The first phase of the online system is expected to be ready by this fall.

Tickets issued under the Traffic Safety Act represent 90 per cent of all charges for provincial offences. The most frequent offences are speeding photo laser speed enforcement, red-light cameras, unregistered vehicles and holding, viewing or using electronic communications equipment such as cell phones.

“The current procedure for resolving tickets can be cumbersome,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said. “These changes will modernize the court process and will provide citizens timely and effective access to justice.”