Canadians really don't like paying fines to federal government. So much so that unpaid federal fines tripled over a decade to reach a whopping $136 million, according to tender documents.
Back in 2002-2003 the government launched a new debt-collection strategy to tackle what was then $47 million in outstanding fines.
The good news is they collected $81 million over 12 years. The bad news is outstanding debts grew in 11 of those 12 years and hit $136 million by 2013-2014.
Federal fines are applied to people or companies that break federal statutes. It could range from a trucker breaking transportation rules to a pesticide company dumping pesticides in a river.
Last week the government gave a new contract to collection agency Partners In Credit Inc. of Markham, Ontario, to go after the people who owe Ottawa money.
Partners in Credit has a two-year contract where it will collect an unspecified cut of every debt it collects for a maximum commission of $7.6 million.
The government has turned to outside collections services since 2010 but the amount of outstanding fines keeps growing.
Who's behind all this debt? Documents indicate that it's largely the most severe offenders, and they're disproportionately from Quebec.
Major fines of over $10,000 make up $62 million of the total. By comparison, small fines below $250 make up just $666,000.
The government no longer breaks down the offenders by province. But a tender document from 2011 shows that a disproportionate amount of the most severe fines were from Quebec.
That province accounted for 968 outstanding fines of over $10,000 in 2011, making up nearly half of the national total of 2,009.
Ontario, with five million more people, had 508 outstanding fines of over $10,000.
The names of the offenders are not revealed.
Looking at the number of tickets instead of the amount owed, Atlantic Canada stands on top. There were more fines there than any other region of the country, despite the Atlantic provinces making up less than one tenth of Canada's population. But those fines were heavily weighted towards smaller amounts of under $500.
Paul McLeod is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Paul McLeod at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.