Fine Revenue Distribution

Year: 2014


Whereas the current system of fine revenue distribution is unfair, benefiting only 108 urban municipalities; and Whereas fine revenue for municipalities is limited to infractions noted as occurring within the boundaries of each municipality; and Whereas the majority of urban municipalities pay for RCMP policing; and Whereas the Ministry of Justice has been working on a proposal in which all municipalities paying for policing would receive a percentage of fine revenue; Therefore be it resolved that SUMA lobby the Ministry of Justice to implement a more equitable fine revenue distribution model that distributes fine revenue to urban and rural governments in direct correlation with the percentage of provincial RCMP policing costs each municipality pays. Background The province currently collects fine revenue from the enforcement of The Traffic Act, holds back 25 per cent for administration and court representation costs, and then returns the other 75 per cent to the municipality in which the offence occurred  but only if it is on a list of 108 grandfathered municipalities entitled to fine revenues; all other fine revenue goes to the province’s General Revenue Fund. The 108 municipalities were generally grandfathered on the basis of population (Towns > 500). Population changes, and changes to policing costs have made the grandfathered list somewhat arbitrary. SUMA has met numerous times with the Ministry of Justice over the last decade to address this situation, but no solution has been implemented. Members continued to contact SUMA periodically to express their unhappiness with the way fine revenue is currently distributed. The Ministry of Justice has proposed a new fine revenue distribution model that would see fine revenue distributed in proportion to the amount a municipality pays toward policing each year. This amount would be deducted directly from the bill each municipality receives for policing. The Ministry has discussed including fine revenue from tickets issued on all roads in the province, other than highways owned by the province. This would mean an additional $1 million in fine revenue available for distribution, less a 25 per cent administrative fee for the province. Some urban municipalities currently receiving fine revenue (64 out of 108) will see a decrease under the new model, based on the three-year payment average. However, the fine revenue will be extended to a total of 450 urban municipalities once the new model is in place. This is the first time in a number of years that the Ministry of Justice has been interested in discussing fine revenue distribution, as it coincides with major system and policy upgrades in the Ministry.

Provincial Response

With regard to fine revenue distribution, I recognize that the issue of inequities of this distribution has been a long-standing issue; however any distribution that is agreed to will result in a decrease in revenue to the Province. Accordingly, it must be balanced with other competing government priorities. Therefore, I have requested officials within the Ministry to review the impacts related to SUMA's Resolution and to continue with our discussions.

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