Want to fight a traffic ticket? You will no longer have your day in court in Alberta!

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Update: Since we met with Sarah Miller to discuss these troubling changes to the traffic infraction resolution process, in no small part thanks to her opposition to the new system, the Alberta government has had a surprising common-sense reaction to significant public backlash and put a pause on their plans. According to Minister of Transportation Rajan Sawhney and Solicitor General Sonya Savage, the government will take 90-120 additional days to “communicate and educate” Albertans about the proposed changes, although many are hopeful that this initial delay may indeed be beginning of the end for the amendment plans.

The Alberta Courts system has been so bogged down lately, likely from arresting so many pastors, that the departments of justice and transportation have undertaken a joint enterprise to streamline management of traffic violations.

Suspect you’ve been wrongly ticketed, but confident you’ll come out on top when you have your day in court? Well… those days are long behind us.

No longer are you innocent until proven guilty, rather you are guilty until you pay up to a $150 non-refundable fee to challenge a ticket — that is $150 which you will never get back, whether you win or lose your appeal.

At least you will get to plead your case to a judge face-to-face once you have paid the fee, right? Well that luxury too has apparently gone the way of the dodo bird. An administrator will instead make the final ruling, and not even in-person…

While circumventing the judicial process for traffic violations certainly frees up judges to do more important work, like issuing communist style mandated speech orders for example, it is a troubling shift which undermines procedural fairness in a substantial and concerning way. Restricting people from the seeking justice in the courts poses a serious risk to some fairly foundational elements of society.

I was joined by lawyer Sarah Miller of JSS Barristers to discuss some of the serious underlying issues with this system which circumvents due process and excludes Albertans, both monetarily and by design, from longstanding access to our legal system.

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