Why was I charged $35 extra on my speeding ticket for a Victim Fine Surcharge?
Why was I charged $35 extra on my speeding ticket for a Victim Fine Surcharge?— LIZ VAN HOORN, TRINITY-BELLWOODS
Most of the money that you shell out for getting caught speeding goes straight to your municipality. (By the way, the idea that speeding ticket revenues enrich the coffers of the local police department is a myth.) But that Victim Fine Surcharge goes into a special kitty at Queen’s Park and is used to fund a range of programs for victims of crime. These include the Victim/Witness Assistance Program and the Victim Support Line, an information line that victims can call to receive, among other things, automatic updates on the status of an imprisoned offender (the helpful information includes “escapes or failures to return from leave”).
And the surcharge doesn’t appear solely on speeding tickets. In fact, it’s added to all fines issued by the province of Ontario. So lead foots aren’t the only ones ponying up: liquor act violators, flagrant polluters and various other miscreants get dinged, too. The amount of the surcharge depends on the fine: anything from $101 to $150 earns a $25 surcharge; fines of more than $1,000 have an extra 25 per cent slapped on. The dollars add up: between April 2005 and April 2006, the surcharge brought in $35.6 million. Sadly, speed trap victims aren’t on the list of approved recipients.