If you’ve ever been caught running a red light, you know firsthand the sinking feeling that comes with it. Not only is it dangerous and illegal, but it can also result in a hefty fine. Some parts of Canada have embraced red light camera tickets, with Alberta installing 453 cameras since 2009. Meanwhile, Ontario has more than 300. Yet, other provinces have paused or have yet to use this type of technology.
But just how much does a red light camera ticket cost in each Canadian province? In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of red light camera tickets and explore the varying costs across the country.
What is a Red Light Camera Ticket?
A red light camera ticket reflects a form of automated enforcement that aims to improve road safety. It uses technology to detect and record motorists who fail to stop at a red light. Law enforcement officials review the evidence and, if deemed necessary, send a citation to the registered owner of the vehicle.
The process of issuing a red light camera ticket involves several steps. First, the camera captures an image or video of the vehicle at the red light. Next, a trained personnel checks the file to ensure the violation clearly and accurately reflects what happened.
Once confirmed, a citation gets mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle, regardless of who was driving. This places the responsibility for the infraction on the owner, who is ultimately responsible for the actions of their vehicle.
The Cost of Red Light Camera Tickets Across Canada
Now that we have a better understanding of red light camera tickets, let’s explore their costs across each Canadian province. It’s important to note that these figures are subject to change and may vary depending on individual circumstances.
|Province or Territory||Cost of a Ticket|
|Manitoba||The red light camera program program was suspended in 2019|
|New Brunswick||The red light camera program is not in place|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$400|
|Nova Scotia||The red light camera program is not enforced|
|Prince Edward Island||The red light camera program is not in place yet|
Red Light Camera Tickets in British Columbia
In British Columbia, a red light camera ticket will set you back approximately $167 and give you two demerit points. However, you can save $25 by paying for your ticket within the first 30 days after the offence. Conversely, this amount can increase if you fail to pay the fine within the specified timeframe. You can also pay it in installments if needed.
The province re-introduced these cameras in 2018 strategically at intersections known for high accident rates.Drivers will see 140 red light cameras in British Columbia, most of them in high traffic areas around the Lower Mainland.
The tens of millions of dollars generated from traffic tickets in British Columbia gets shared between the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and municipal governments. The local councils can invest in improving transportation infrastructure. By using the funds for this purpose, the Province aims to create safer roadways for all residents and visitors.
Red Light Camera Tickets in Alberta
Alberta residents caught running a red light can expect a ticket costing $405, depending on the severity of the offense. Additionally, offenders may receive demerit points on their driver’s license, which can have further consequences.
Alberta’s red light camera program started in 2009 and has 453 locations in Edmonton, Calgary, Wetaskiwin, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie. The intersection of 127 Street and 126 Avenue in Edmonton generated the most tickets – 51. Also, no one escapes the cameras! In total, the city-owned vehicles had to pay more than $69,200 to the Province for violations in 2020 and 2021.
Unfortunately, 64 people die and more than 8,000 people get injured in collisions at intersections each year. Many of these collisions involved speeding. The province strategically places these cameras at high-risk intersections, where a significant number of accidents have occurred in the past.
Red Light Camera Tickets in Saskatchewan
In Saskatchewan, the cost of a red light camera ticket is approximately $230. However, you must pay a late charge of $60 if you let the ticket sit unpaid for 30 days or more. Further, a driver cannot renew a license until they settle the fine and any late payment charges.
The Province has eight cameras that it rotates through locations in Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.
In Saskatoon alone, this program reflected an 9 per cent reduction in injury and fatality rates at four locations in 2018. That includes a 12-per-cent reduction in right-angle collisions that cause the most damage. At one intersection, injury and fatality rates fell by 25 per cent and right-angle collisions by 45 per cent.
In particular, they focus on locations that have high risk, high collision rates or a high volume of vulnerable pedestrians, such as near schools or playground zones. Municipalities, law enforcement and Indigenous land/territories can apply for grants arising from the Provincial Traffic Safety Fund to improve traffic safety in their communities.
Red Light Camera Tickets in Manitoba
Manitoba started its red light camera program in 2001 with one camera in Winnipeg at Sherbrook Street and Broadway Avenue. Over the years, 48 more were installed near zones for schools, playgrounds and construction areas.
However, the program was suspended in 2019 and could face cancellation altogether. Politicians questioned the value of this technology after data didn’t show a clear effect. For example, in some years, collisions per capita increased while others declined. Instead, traffic lights were adjusted so amber lights last longer, giving drivers more time to stop.
Red Light Camera Tickets in Ontario
Ontario currently has a set fine of $325 for red light camera violations, but no demerit points. Drivers will see signs for more than 300 cameras in the province, half of them within the Greater Toronto Area. The additional ones collect images in Ottawa (75), Peel Region (33), Hamilton (42), London (9), Region of Waterloo (16) and Sudbury (6).
Between 2008 and 2014, Toronto Police recorded a 23 percent decrease in injuries and 40 percent of fatal collisions at intersections with devices. Nearby, Brampton residents faced the highest auto insurance premiums in the province until 2019. After installing 33 red light cameras, all collision types at those intersections dropped by a 44.8 per cent reduction. (And now Vaughan has that insurance premium record.)
Red Light Camera Tickets in Quebec
In Quebec, the cost of a red light camera ticket starts at $150. You can find them at eight different regions across the province, with a map showing each location. Since signs tell drivers about the cameras, that awareness alone slows down drivers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a result, the Province says these devices have decreased collisions by 28 percent.
However, if you get caught, you must pay your fine to keep your driving privileges. If not, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) will withdraw your driving privileges until you settle up.
In Montreal, you will get a ticket if you turn right at a red light, even after stopping. This only applies within this city and at intersections where a sign alerts drivers to prohibited right turns.
Red Light Camera Tickets in Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador planned to set up red light cameras after provincial consultations on regulatory changes to automobile insurance in 2017 and 2018. After all, members of the public, the insurance industry and police asked for them. However, the pilot program didn’t roll out until June 1, 2023 – three years later than planned.
On that day, drivers in the City of Mount Pearl and the Town of Paradise had a chance to get detected and fined. The penalty for running a red or amber light stands at $400 and two demerit points.
However, drivers didn’t get tickets. Instead, they received “speed detection notices” that left them wondering if they should watch for a follow-up message. The letters show a picture of the cars and the words, “This is not a ticket.”
Yet, the transportation minister says police can legally ticket a driver as a result of camera footage. Registered drivers can expect a fine when the full project rolls out, she added. The provincial government will review the information collected over the summer.
Red Light Camera Tickets in Nova Scotia
In Halifax, eight red light cameras capture traffic violations, but they don’t result in a ticket. That is, unless the police catch you red-handed.
The province passed a bill in 2007 to permit the use of red light cameras so their images could be used as evidence for ticketing and prosecutions. However, those amendments never passed into law as planned in 2018. Therefore, the provincial legislation doesn’t empower Halifax police to use images captured from a red light camera to issue tickets under the Motor Vehicle Act.
The new Traffic Safety Act, to replace the Motor Vehicle Act, also faces years of delays since Nova Scotia doesn’t have the supporting information technology system it needs. “There is little value in implementing red light cameras and electronic speed detection devices” until that happens, a provincial report states.
As it stands, Halifax can install red light cameras, but can only ticket the driver, not the registered owner.
Red Light Camera Tickets in New Brunswick
New Brunswick opened the door for municipalities to install red-light cameras starting in April 2023. However, no one has launched a program to date.
Legislation passed in 2021 allowed the camera and licence-plate readers to catch drivers at red lights. Adding the plate readers breaks new ground for any jurisdiction in Canada. Currently, no municipalities have these devices.
Moncton city councillor Shawn Crossman has lobbied for the cameras for years to prevent people from running red lights. He describes it as a user-pay system with a price to pay for breaking the law. Yet, the City has yet to roll out a program. He and former minister of public safety Ted Flemming say red-light cameras would likely reduce motor vehicle accidents and injuries.
Red Light Camera Tickets in Prince Edward Island
Like other Maritime provinces, PEI has yet to roll out a red light camera ticket program. For years, this province has had the lowest speed limits, thanks to the presence of farm machinery and slow-going tourists. However, its government plans to introduce these cameras soon.
In June 2023, the transportation and justice ministries were developing regulations to help police crack down on misbehaving drivers. Yet, no start date appears on the calendar.
Factors Influencing the Cost of Red Light Camera Tickets
While the figures above shed light on the costs for red light camera tickets, several factors can influence the final amount. Let’s explore two of these factors:
Defending Yourself from Traffic Laws and Regulations
If you face a red light camera ticket, you can pay the fine or defend yourself in traffic court. You can take one of two approaches.
First, you can say that you did stop at the stop sign or that the light had not turned red when you entered the intersection. However, you need a credible witness or other evidence to bolster your case. If you’re lucky, the police officer may not show up in court to rebut your claim, so you could win.
Second, you can argue that you couldn’t see the sign due to a tree or another object. To succeed, you would need photographs from the date and time of the alleged offence. However, you cannot blame the level of tint on your car’s windows.
Statistically, drivers rarely win against red light cameras. Since the introduction of photo radar in Quebec in 2009, zero out of 102,000 drivers have successfully disputed their tickets. You can hire a lawyer to represent you, but that comes with an additional cost.
Multiple red light camera violations within a specified period can lead to increased fines and potentially, the suspension of one’s driver’s license. Thus, take these violations seriously and adhere to traffic laws to avoid further complications.
In conclusion, the cost of a red light camera ticket varies across each Canadian province – if the program even exists. No matter where you live, it’s cheaper to obey traffic laws to avoid the consequences of running a red light. Remember, road safety should always be a top priority.
FAQs About Red Light Camera Tickets in Canada
The cost of a red light camera ticket in Canada varies from province to province. Further, none of the territories operate these programs. The lightest penalty lands in Quebec at $150 with Alberta charging $405.
Yes, you can defend yourself in traffic court when you get a red light camera ticket in Canada. You can argue that you did stop by providing a credible witness. Alternatively, you can state that a tree or other object blocked your view so you didn’t know you had to stop. However, success rates for this type of legal defence are very low.
To prevent a red light camera ticket in Canada, come to a complete stop at amber and red lights. As a result, you’ll help improve safety for you, other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians using intersections.
A red light camera ticket gets issued to the registered owner of the car, and not the driver. Therefore, this type of ticket doesn’t go on your driving record. However, if you don’t pay your ticket, that prevents you from renewing your licence.
Since a red light camera ticket gets sent to the registered owner of the car, it doesn’t impact your insurance. Remember, this only applies to this type of traffic ticket. Regardless, paying your traffic fines keeps your driving record clear and allows you to keep your driving privileges.
Every jurisdiction has its own practices. For example, expect to receive your red light camera ticket within seven days in the Durham Region, east of Toronto. Yet, some regions and provinces take 30 days between the violation and delivery of the ticket by mail.
If you get nailed with a red light camera ticket in Ontario, expect to pay a fine of $325. This applies in every one of the seven municipalities that enforce the law.
To fight a red light camera ticket in Ontario, you must prove that your view of the intersection was blocked. Otherwise, you can argue that you did stop and the camera was wrong. However, most cases end up with the driver having to pay a fine.
If you get a red light camera ticket in Calgary, or anywhere else in Alberta, brace for a $405 ticket. The provincial program began in 2009 and also operates in Edmonton, Calgary, Wetaskiwin, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.
Manitoba has suspended its red light camera ticket program in Winnipeg, therefore it doesn’t collect fines. Police data showed the cameras didn’t have a consistent, significant effect on collision rates, so it was paused in 2019.
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