Having your driver’s licence suspended for not paying a traffic ticket isn’t unusual. But a Richmond Hill woman was shocked to learn her licence had been suspended due to a ticket issued to her 25 years ago.
“Are you kidding me? Isn’t there a statutory limitation?” Adele Accardi tells CityNews. “I don’t understand why or how the Ministry of Transportation is doing this now.”
Accardi says she learned of the suspension from her insurance broker. She called Service Ontario and found out the ticket in question was issued in her maiden name in Tottenham where she grew up.
“I don’t even know what it was for, if it was a speeding ticket or a seat belt ticket – who knows what it was for.”
Accardi tells CityNews she has lost her licence and gotten it renewed since then without encountering any problems. She also admitted to having her licence suspended in the past for previous traffic infractions but says she cleared her record and paid those fines. At no time was she informed about the 1993 ticket that resulted in this latest suspension.
In an email statement to CityNews, the Ministry of Transportation says it “does not make independent decisions on whether to suspend a driver’s licence for unpaid fines. Generally, the ministry takes the appropriate licensing action once it receives a court order to suspend a person’s driver’s licence when a defaulted fine is identified.”
The Attorney General’s office tells CityNews there is no limitation period for enforcing the consequences of a conviction under provincial law.
“In Ontario, municipalities administer the courts in which Provincial Offences Act matters, such as traffic offences, are heard. When an offender does not pay a court-ordered speeding fine, the municipality responsible may enforce collection by requesting that driver’s licence be suspended.”
Accardi says she had to fork out $118 for the ticket and $198 just to get her licence reinstated. She is still debating whether or not to travel all the way to Barrie to fight the ticket in court.