Feds eyeing unpaid fines
OTTAWA—The federal government is looking to hire a collection agency to recoup millions of dollars in unpaid fines.
A letter of interest posted on a government contracting website shows 22,313 people owed close to $129 million in unpaid fines as of March 31, 2011.
“The [Public Prosecution Service of Canada] requires the services of firm or agency specialized in collection services,” the document said.
“Specific services of PPSC are required to collect outstanding federal fines owed to Canada, including Criminal Code fines, surcharges, and court costs ordered with the federal fine at sentencing.
“This includes legal costs where applicable, using appropriate collection methods,” it noted.
The letter of interest provides a breakdown of the outstanding balances:
•2,009 people owed more than $10,000;
•1,049 people owed between $5,000 and $10,000;
•4,530 people owed between $1,000 and $5,000;
•3,702 people owed between $500 and $1,000;
•5,129 people owed between $250 and $500; and
•5,894 people owed less than $250.
The Atlantic provinces had the most outstanding accounts, with 6,618, followed by Alberta (4,129) and Quebec (3,132).
Up until 2002, the federal prosecution service ran a pilot project to recover unpaid federal fines.
The National Fine Recovery Program started in 2002 to collect money from people convicted of crimes under federal law.
The program is administered by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada’s most recent annual report said federal debt collectors have recouped $56 million in unpaid fines since 2002.