Ottawa is expecting a massive increase in photo radar revenue. Here’s why.

Photo radar cameras in Ottawa are issuing so many speeding tickets that the city needs to spend more than $2 million on a new processing centre to deal with the volume.

The city is installing 23 new photo radar cameras this year, more than doubling the number of cameras across Ottawa.

But the expected crush of tickets means the Toronto centre where they are sent won’t be able to process most of them, according to a city staff report.

“With the installation of more cameras, it’s inevitable we have to take this and do it in our own city,” said Coun. Tim Tierney, chair of the city’s transportation committee.

If the city builds its own processing centre instead of sending the tickets to Toronto, it projects to net more than $58 million from photo radar tickets next year.

“It doesn’t go back into our general coffers,” Tierney said. “It actually goes directly into road safety.”


Right now, photo radar speeding tickets issues in Ottawa are all processed at a joint processing centre in Toronto, which is dealing with an increased load from across the province.

The tickets must be processed within 23 days, but in 2022, only two-thirds of Ottawa photo radar tickets were processed within the time limit.

This year, the Toronto centre has capped the number of Ottawa tickets it will process at 250,000.

That represents under 40 per cent of the projected charges for the year.  The city of Ottawa estimates 370,000 of the infractions won’t be processed, leading to millions in lost revenue.

The proposal would see the city of Ottawa spend $2.4 million to establish a local processing centre to deal with the tickets.

It would also involve hiring 30 full-time positions, including a program manager, clerk, analyst, three supervisors and 24 provincial offence officers.

The centre would take up about 30,000 square feet in a city administrative building,w hich would need to be retrofitted. The aim would be to have it operational by 2024, when another 20 speed cameras will be put up.

The revenue differences are stark. By 2024, if a new centre isn’t built in Ottawa, gross revenue would be limited to $16.3 million.

But with the new centre,the city projects a whopping $66.3 million in gross revenue from photo radar speeding tickets in 2024.

They would cost just over $8 million to process, netting the city more than $58 million.


Residents have had mixed reactions to the increasing number of speed cameras in Ottawa.

Olga Medina, who lives near a community safety zone in Barrhaven with a speed camera, said she thinks the cameras work “somewhat” but wants to see more enforcement.

“With many kids here trying to cross drivers are rushing and rushing and they don’t stop,” she said.

“We need more police presence,” she said. “They installed the camera, but I don’t believe the camera is enough … people are still speeding.”

Medina said she wants to see revenue from the cameras go toward more traffic calming measures, such as a new stop sign along Longfields Drive at Via Verona Avenue.

“If you want me to be honest, I think it’s more cash grab, they are making a lot of money with the cameras, but what about safety?” she said. “

Jason Dingsdale lives near Chapman Mills Drive, in Barrhaven, where a new speed camera is slated to be installed.

“I think it’s necessary along here, especially,” he said “There are three schools along this road and far too often I see people just flying down this road.

“I think it’s going to help slow the traffic, the traffic has even slowed around here since they put up the warning signs that it’s coming.”


Right now, to process all the tickets, Tierney said a bonded member of Toronto’s processing centre has to drive to Ottawa, use ladders to get the chips from the cameras, put them in a locked vault and drive them back to Toronto for processing.

He said processing the tickets here is the next logical step in the program.

“I wish we weren’t going over the 250,000-ticket cap for processing in Toronto and if it dropped, I would be happier,” he said. “But with the installation of more cameras it’s inevitable we have to take this and do it in our own city.

“Those will all be funded through the program itself, so it’s no cost to the taxpayer.”

The city’s transportation committee will debate the plan to build a new Ottawa processing centre at its meeting next Thursday.

– with files from Tyler Fleming, CTV News Ottawa

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