SUDBURY -- Greater Sudbury will consider writing off more than $3 million in defaulted provincial offences fines at their next meeting May 25.

Many of the fines are a decade old and have been deemed by city staff as uncollectible.

A report headed to city council says many of the fines are part of more than $6 million in defaulted fines transferred to the city by the province in 2000.

"Following this transfer of responsibility and outstanding fines, a number of municipalities undertook large writeoffs of the fines," the report said. "However, the City of Greater Sudbury did not perform a write off of any kind for these outstanding fines and the amount of defaulted, and unpaid fines began to accumulate."

They are three types of fines being written off: parking tickets; minor traffic offences, such as moving violations; and, more serious offences that carry a fine of $1,000 or more, such as driving while suspended or driving without insurance coverage.

In a statement May 21, city spokesperson April Low clarified which sort of tickets are eligible to be written off:

"The types of Part III offences (described in the report as more serious offences that carry a fine of $1,000 or more) that could be written off include Ministry of Labour charges, bylaw charges, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Fire Protection and Prevention Act and Environmental Protection Act charges. None of these charges could result in a person's licence being suspended.

"The fines being written off (if Council approves the writeoffs) are older provincial offences fines, all of which are considered uncollectible and non-suspendable. In this case, the fines being requested for write off are all for the period from 2010-2014." 

Smaller writeoff in 2016

A minor writeoff of the fines was conducted in 2016, when $283,000 in parking fines were written off. A second round took place in 2018, when $3.5 million of some of the biggest and oldest fines were deemed uncollectible.

To be eligible to be written off, the fine must be at least two years old, and attempts to have them paid through third-party collection agencies must be exhausted.

"Collecting fines is a universal challenge for Ontario municipalities and is not unique to the City of Greater Sudbury," the report said.

"In comparison to Municipal Benchmarking Canada comparator municipalities, the City of Greater Sudbury’s collection rate of defaulted fines falls within the top three. In 2019 the City of Greater Sudbury’s collection rate was 55 per cent compared to Windsor and Durham whose collection rates are listed at 62 per cent."

Of the current amount to be written off, $2.86 million are related to provincial offences, while $229,970 are related to parking offences.

Read the full report here.