News Release Archive

Nova Scotians who fail to pay provincial court fines will face
tougher collection action by the Province of Nova Scotia. The
Department of Business and Consumer Services will now seek to
collect outstanding fines on behalf of the Department of Justice. 
Those in arrears for more than one year will receive notices
outlining sanctions that may be imposed if arrangements for
payment are not made. The sanctions include a possible denial  of
services from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, including refusal
to renew a licence or vehicle permit. An additional $30 will be
charged to the individual to regain these services. Or the
province may take steps to place a judgment against an individual
which could include garnisheeing a wage.

"By ignoring the fines imposed by the courts, individuals are
undermining the integrity of the judicial process," said Justice
Minister Alan Mitchell. "We are serious about seeking redress
from these individuals and will take every reasonable action in
order to do so."

"Those who feel they can continue to ignore the explicit orders
of our courts must now face the consequences," said Wayne Gaudet,
Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

Individuals may repay their debt over a period of time. Once an
individual receives the notice, he or she must contact the
Department of Business and Consumer Services within 10 days to
make appropriate arrangements for payment. Individuals may also
take their payments to the nearest provincial court.   

As well, those in difficult financial circumstances can take
advantage of the Fine Option Program, which is an alternative
method of fine payment through community work. The program allows
an individual to work for a volunteer or not-for-profit
organization to satisfy the debt. The number of hours of work
required by an individual is determined by dividing the amount of
the fine by the provincial minimum wage. If an individual is
unemployed, they must be available to work at least 35 hours per
week. If employed, they must be available to work at least 10
hours per week.

The majority of revenue from fines are collected through
infractions of the Criminal Code (which includes failing the
breathalyser) and the Motor Vehicle Act. In the past year, Nova
Scotians were fined more than $8.5 million. Approximately $1
million of that amount was uncollected.

Contact: Michele McKinnon
         Department of Justice

         Louise MacDonald
         Business and Consumer Services

ngr                    August 22, 1997 - 9:35 am