Mohammad Movassaghi, a man who allegedly operated a makeshift nightclub at his Vancouver penthouse, was issued fines against him and his suspected guests totalling more than $17,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Mohammad Movassaghi, a man who allegedly operated a makeshift nightclub at his Vancouver penthouse, was issued fines against him and his suspected guests totalling more than $17,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

88% of COVID-19 rulebreakers in B.C. haven’t paid their fines, $716K owed

The province is now looking into holding driver’s licence renewals until COVID-19 tickets are paid

The province is mulling over new ways to collect cash owed by COVID-19 rulebreakers, including those who hosted or attended gatherings, posing a public health risk.

Police issued more than $1.1-million in fines but a large majority of those violation tickets in B.C. have gone unpaid, according to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

From the start of the pandemic until Tuesday (March 27), 1,570 people were issued tickets in British Columbia, amassing $961,400 in fines.

Violations include refusing to wear a mask, violating the food and liquor serving order and throwing house parties or events in bars or restaurants.

Additionally, 128 individuals found breaching the Quarantine Act were slapped with $217,494 in federal fines – bringing the total owed in the province by scofflaws to $1,178,894.

READ MORE: Saanich poker game with 10 guests nets $2,300 fine

ICBC administers the retrieval of ticket fees on behalf of the government, sending them to collections after a 30-day period or after an alleged offender is found guilty in court.

As of Tuesday, COVID-19 rule violators owed the Crown corporation $716,930. Only a small fraction, 12 per cent, of the 1,162 COVID-19 ticket holders ICBC is processing have paid their dues.

Only 12 quarantine violation tickets have been paid, with $317,073 still owed federally by British Columbians. A portion are being challenged in court.

READ ALSO: Victoria partiers hid in closets trying to avoid fines

If a fine is not paid, ICBC said it may take additional measures including garnishing wages or assets or going to court to seize personal assets.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the province is looking into holding driver’s licence renewals until COVID-19 fines are paid.

“There will be more to come in the weeks ahead on further measures to collect outstanding fines,” he told Black Press Media.

RELATED: B.C. more than doubles fine for breaking COVID-19 gathering orders



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

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