Ottawa City Employees Should Have To Pay Their Driving Tickets: Mayor

Ottawa’s mayor says city employees who receive tickets for running a red light or speeding while using city-owned vehicles should pay the cost of the tickets, for which they are not currently responsible.

“The employees, if we can identify them as being in that vehicle at the time, should pay the fine, not the taxpayers,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

“This is the basic responsibility of employees,” echoed Riley Brockington, River District Councilwoman and advocate for expanded photo radar areas.

Watson and Brockington’s comments came in the wake of recent access to information requests made to the city by the Canadian Federation of Taxpayers.

According to the findings, the city issued a total of more than 200,000 automatic tickets for speeding near schools and running red lights from early 2019 through September 27, 2021. The automated speed enforcement program, which captures photos of vehicles driving too fast in community safety zones near schools only started in July 2020.

Of that total, 989 were delivered to city-owned vehicles, although the vast majority of them were occupied by emergency vehicles such as paramedics, police and firefighters, who are exempt from fines.

Below is a breakdown by department of tickets issued to city vehicles, which the federation says were provided by the city.

Of the 989 tickets, 622 were red light camera tickets and 287 auto speeding tickets, while the remaining 80 were incurred by transit services for which the city had no fault.

Jay Goldberg, Ontario director of the Canadian Federation of Taxpayers, said not forcing employees to pay fines is unfair and creates a two-tier system.

“You can’t just have a group of people working for any kind of city department who don’t have to obey the laws and know that if they run a red light, they don’t have to pay a fine,” Goldberg said.

“If you’re going to have a photographic radar, you must [have] go to the end.”

‘It’s taxpayer money,’ says mayor

In a statement emailed to CBC News, City Attorney David White said the charges brought under the Red Light Camera and Photographic Camera provisions of the Highway Traffic Act are property owner liability offenses. , “with the result that the city of Ottawa, as the owner of the vehicle, is legally responsible for the payment of the fine.

“As a result, the city does not require drivers to pay those tickets, which is also in accordance with the provisions of the Labor Standards Act that prohibit deductions from wages.”

At an unrelated event Tuesday, Watson said he would have staff look at ways to recover costs.

“At the end of the day, it’s taxpayer money and individuals are paid by taxpayers,” Watson added. “They should obey the law, and if they don’t, they should be punished.”

Launch of the new ‘fleet security program’

CUPE Local 503, the largest union in the municipality, declined to comment.

White said the city addresses speeding violations with red light cameras or photos as disciplinary matters, “in accordance with the relevant collective bargaining agreement or employment contract and its discipline policy.”

Under a “fleet security program” launched earlier this month, drivers of City of Ottawa vehicles are authorized to operate (ATO), which uses a system similar to checkpoints. provincial demerits “based on unsafe actions, conditions, or preventable collisions, including violations.” for speeding and failing to obey a stop sign,” White said.

That could involve measures “up to and including” the suspension of an ATO, he added.

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