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New provincial changes taking effect on Feb. 1 will affect how Albertans deal with tickets. The overhaul designed to streamline the court system will see traffic court eliminated, speeding tickets emailed, and $150 fee to dispute the ticket. Albertans will also now have only seven days to contest a ticket.
Alberta’s NDP announced Friday that it was calling on the UCP to scrap its plans to impose new fees and reduce deadlines on Alberta drivers who want to dispute a speeding ticket.
“The UCP are denying Albertans their right to due process,” said Irfan Sabir, NDP Critic for Justice in a media release Friday. “Charging $150 to appeal a ticket and allowing only seven days to submit your appeal means many working Albertans will be prevented from making their voices heard.”
Under the second phase of the plans approved by the passing of Bill 21 back in 2020, the traffic court will be replaced with an adjudicator who will render a decision within 30 days. When the bill was before the Legislature two years ago, the NDP say they attempted to amend the bill to remove the appeal fees and extend tight deadlines.
“The concern around this is simply that a lot of people in this province – and this, in my view, doesn’t apply just to those who are most vulnerable – find themselves frequently in the position where they’re living paycheque to paycheque,” said NDP MLA Kathleen Ganley in the same release, in the legislature. “In those instances, those individuals may not find themselves with a few hundred dollars to spare on seven days’ notice. The punishment for that ought not to be an inability to appeal.”
Over the past few weeks, the administrative changes have been criticized in a variety of media for removing the right to be presumed innocent until found guilty.
The province has also imposed tighter rules on photo enforcement to start later this year.