Fine Option program leads to desire to volunteer for Regina man
REGINA -- Shylow Chief learned the value of giving back to his community through the Fine Option program.
"That experience really kind of empowered me to get more experience within that to be able to broaden my perspective,” Chief said.
Chief says he participated in the program because he didn't have the money to pay his fine, but he gained a lot more. He now works full time for John Howard Society of Saskatchewan helping others and still volunteers in his free time.
"The experience overall was just great, being able to be involved with people, get involved in other people's lives, to be able to express interest in the community and to be able to help where ever is needed and a lot of people really do need help out there,” Chief said.
Distracted driving tickets for first time offenders doubled in price on Feb. 1 to $580.
The Fine Option program through the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan in Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw is an option for wanting to avoid handing over money to pay that fine.
"$580 is a pretty big price tag, the best thing to do is to not get a ticket in the first place, but if you do find yourself with a ticket we're one option to help people out,” John Howard Society of Saskatchewan CEO Shawn Fraser said.
If you choose the fine option program at your court date, John Howard will connect you with a non-profit organization in the community to work off your fine at minimum wage.
"Let's say you had a hundred dollar fine, it would be about nine hours of volunteer work that you'd have to do to work off that fine,” Fraser said.
More than 3,000 people in Saskatchewan chose to use the Fine Option program last year. That worked out to 60,534 hours of community service in Saskatoon, 41,497.5 hours in Regina and 4,026 in Moose Jaw.
Fraser says these hours contributed more than $1 million in service to the community.
"Not only is that good for people who don't want to fork out the money for their fine, it also is really giving back to the community, so it's a win-win program,” Fraser said.