As cities aim to improve their sustainability, by improving air
quality and congestion, the City of Toronto is looking at ways
to make it easier to ticket cars blocking bike lanes by moving to
Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) system. And to save
some money in the process.
We weren't able to find much on the City's website
talking about details. The survey link asking for input on an AMP
system is now defunct. But
media reports from early December are indicating that bylaw
officers will be able to ticket vehicles illegally parked in bike
lanes by taking a photo of the car, looking up the registered
owner, and then mailing a violation notice to the
offender. The new City By-law could be in force by spring 2016.
An AMP system is intended to move offences into a
civil penalty system which does not involve proving a
quasi-criminal offence in court. An AMP system exists under
the Environmental Protect Act for
specified industries, and due diligence defences are not
The Ministry of the Attorney General released a
paper in March 2015 in which it explored an online
AMP system for infractions of provincial and municipal by-laws in
Ontario. While AMPs do not lead to convictions,
administrative decisions may still lead to demerit points or driver
This review seems to have been spurred, at least in
part, by the cost of managing straight-forward infractions
through the court system – the report notes that there were
approximately 1,650,000 provincial offences in the previous year,
compared to 500,000 – 600,000 criminal charges laid.
Toronto, in 2013, was responsible for 1/4 of all POA charges in the
province. Toronto has budgeted over $50 million for POA courts
in recent years.
We will find out in the spring if Toronto moves forward with
this new system and if it results in more violation
notices for specific offences, including to
delinquent drivers blocking cycling lanes.
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