There’s a whole lot of money in traffic fines that the provincial government will just never collect, auditor general Terry Paddon reported Thursday.
There are 142 accounts on the government’s books which owe more than $20,000, and in total, the government is owed more than $33 million.
Auditor general Terry Paddon says the government is owed more than $33 million in traffic fines, and 1.5 million of that can’t be recovered. — Telegram file photo
According to Paddon, the problems with outstanding fines are only getting worse.
Liberal MHA Andrew Parsons, who has been vocal on this issue, said it’s staggering to see the numbers in black and white in the report.
According to Paddon, $1.5 million likely cannot be recovered because of unidentifiable or incomplete information in the government’s files.
“Those are staggering numbers,” Parsons said.
He pointed out that this isn’t the first time an auditor general has looked at fines.
Back in 2009, then-auditor general John Noseworthy wrote a similar report with a lot of similar findings.
“A lot of these things that the previous AG identified and recommended have still not been done,” Parsons said.
“Every time I’ve asked a question on it to successive ministers, they basically do the equivalent of throwing their arms up in the air and saying, ‘I don’t know what to do.’”
Paddon suggested that maybe fines could be tied to hunting licences, MCP cards, birth certificates and othe government services. If you don’t pay up, you aren’t able to get your moose licence, for example.
But in the Department of Justice response to the report, it said that would be a bureaucratic nightmare.
“Feedback from other Departments indicates, however, that such intercepts would likely be a manual process that would place an unreasonable administrative burden on staff. Automation of such processes to alleviate the burden would involve significant changes to systems, legislative amendments, and undetermined costs that do not appear to support the business case for introducing such a program.”