B.C. drivers, residents or businesses who receive a Notice of Bylaw Violation in the City of Dawson Creek have the opportunity to dispute their violations out of court, through independent adjudicators who hear all disputes. These adjudicators are contracted by the Provincial Attorney General’s Office and funded by the City.
The system is set out in the Provincial Government’s Local Government Bylaw Notice Enforcement Act. It is intended to resolve disputes in a simple, cost-effective manner. Dawson Creek’s Bylaw Dispute Adjudication System improves efficiency in the areas of paying and collecting fines; as well delivering a streamlined and convenient process to the public.
Why is Adjudication used?
- Simplifies dispute process
- Removes minor bylaw violations from the Provincial court system
- Reduces ticket dispute time
- Reduces need to employ lawyers to take a case to court
- More convenient for those who are challenging violations because attendance at an adjudication hearing is not mandatory. If a person chooses to attend the hearing, the time commitment is shorter than attending court
- More cost effective and efficient system
- Helps ensure bylaw compliance
- Reduces time bylaw officers spend in court, allowing them to concentrate on serving the public in other capacities
How the System Works
There are two options after receiving a ticket:
1) Pay the violation notice
Penalties can fluctuate based on when the ticket is paid:
- Reduced penalty when paid within 14 calendar days
- Full penalty when paid between 15 and 30 calendar days
- Late penalty when paid between 31 and 60 calendar days
- Ticket is sent to collections after 60 calendar days
2) Dispute the violation notice
- Those wishing to dispute their violation notice (disputant) must fill out and return the adjudication request form that is located on the back of the Bylaw Notice Violation Ticket within 14 days of issuance.
- The disputant will then have the opportunity to speak with a City screening officer. The screening officer will review the details of the violation notice and may cancel it due to technical errors or special circumstances. At this point the disputant will be shown photos taken of the violation by the bylaw officer. If the screening officer does not cancel the ticket, the disputant can:
- Schedule a hearing;
- Pay the violation notice; or
- Enter into a compliance agreement.
- If going forward to adjudication, the disputant will advise the screening officer which method of hearing they prefer either in writing, by email, by phone or in person. At that time, the screening officer will notify the disputant of what to do to present their case. The City will always present their case, in writing, to the adjudicator and the issuing bylaw officer does not need to attend the hearing.
Each ticket must be submitted separately for each ticket you choose to dispute. A date and time for adjudication will be provided and the hearing will be conducted at City Hall or another public location. During the hearing, independent adjudicators determine whether a bylaw infraction did or did not occur. If a contravention was deemed to have occurred, the full penalty will be applied as well as an adjudication fee of $25 to offset the cost of the process. If no bylaw violation was deemed to have occurred, no fine will be applied.
Bylaw Violation FAQs
What happens if I did not receive a ticket and find out about the alleged offence after the 14 day dispute period?
When a Bylaw Notice remains unpaid after 14 days, a reminder notice is sent by mail. If you advise the Bylaw office within 21 days of the issue date of the notice that you did not receive the original, the Bylaw Offence Notice may be reissued and the dispute period extended for an additional 14 days.
What is a Compliance Agreement?
When a disputant agrees to correct a Bylaw violation, in some instances the City will accept a reduced penalty. Parking violations are not applicable
What happens if a Violation Notice is ignored?
If a penalty is unpaid after 60 days, tickets are forwarded to a collection agency to recover the penalty.
When will my dispute be heard?
The City Office will mail you the date and time of your hearing.
Can I pay the penalty before the hearing date if I change my mind?
Yes, however, payments received after 14 days from when the violation notice was issued must be paid in full.
Can I pay the reduced penalty within 14 days and still proceed to adjudication?
No. Once the penalty is paid the violation notice is closed.
Do I need to appear in person for the hearing?
No. You may send a written submission or arrange for a conference call.
Can the adjudicator consider my financial position if found guilty?
No. The adjudicator will only determine if the offence occurred. The adjudicator has no authority to raise or lower the penalty amount.
Can I Appeal the adjudicator’s decision to a higher authority?
No. The adjudicator’s decision is final
What are the different types of offence notices?
- a) Bylaw Offence Notice (Handwritten or Computer Generated)
- May be issued to a person, company, or vehicle.
- Used for first time offenders or minor offences.
- Disputes are heard by a dispute resolution adjudicator appointed by the province and held at the local government level.
- Fines of up to $500 per offence.
- b) Municipal Ticket Information (Handwritten)
- May be issued to a person or company.
- Used for repeat offenders or more serious offences.
- Disputes are heard in the Provincial Court of B.C., usually heard by a Judicial Justice of the Peace (JJP)
- Fines of up to $1,000 per offence.
- c) Longform Information (Summons issued by Provincial Court Registry)
- May be issued to a person or company.
- Used for repeat offenders, serious offences, or situations were a court order may be requested.
- Case is heard in the Provincial Court of B.C. before a Judicial Justice of the Peace (JJP) or a Provincial Court Judge.
- Fines of up to $10,000 per offence, 6 months in jail, or a court order may be issued.
Paying the Notice
There are a number of ways you can pay a Bylaw Offence Notice. Payments must be received within the noted time limits to receive the discounted amount. No exceptions will be made.
PAY BY MAIL:
Cheque or Money Order Only
PAY IN PERSON:
Debit Card, Cash or Cheque
Please make your cheque or money order payable to the City of Dawson Creek. Do not send cash in the mail. A dishonoured cheque will not be considered payment of the penalty within the prescribed time. Additional Charges will apply for NSF Cheques. Postmarks are not accepted as date of payment.
Questions / Inquiries?
Please call the Bylaw Services office at 250 784-3657 prior to requesting adjudication.