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Ontario driver has licence suspended for 13-year-old traffic ticket

An Ontario driver was shocked to get a letter in the mail saying her licence had been suspended over a traffic ticket she received 13 years ago.

“My driver’s licence was suspended because I had an unpaid driving fine,” said Christine Coldwell of Mississauga.

Coldwell said she remembered getting the ticket, which was for an improper turn in Toronto, and as an accountant she said she keeps all her documents for 10 years. But since the ticket was from 13 years ago, she said she has no way to prove whether or not she paid it.

“I’m not disputing the fact that I got a ticket in 2011, I know I did, but I’m pretty sure I paid it,” said Coldwell.

If you get a traffic ticket, your licence can be suspended and you’ll be reminded to pay up when you go to ServiceOntario.

But Coldwell said despite many interactions with ServiceOntario over the years, such as renewing her driver’s licence and her licence plates, there was never any mention of an outstanding fine.

“I went and either renewed my licence or changed my address five times and in the 13 years it (the traffic ticket) wasn’t there,” she said.

Coldwell was told in order to get her licence back she had to pay the fine of $115, a late payment fee of $49 and a licence reinstatement fee of $281 for a total of $445.

“There is no recourse for me. None. It’s just pay the $445 fine and thank you very much,” said Coldwell.

Coldwell said she feels it’s unfair for the City of Toronto to demand payment after such a long time and said she was told the city is going over its books looking for revenue.

“The City of Toronto is doing a bunch of audits and their auditors found a few things that were not paid and this is how they dealt with it,” she said.

Coldwell feels drivers should be allowed to pay an outstanding fine without losing their licence and said tickets should be dealt with sooner than 13 years.

“I paid it under protest because I had no choice because I need to drive,” said Coldwell.

Other drivers are also getting notices to pay fines from many years earlier and CTV News Toronto did a story with another viewer who said his licence was suspended for a ticket he received 25 years ago.

Anytime you get a traffic ticket, it’s best to pay it right away.    

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