The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide only general information on legal issues within the province of Alberta. This service is provided by Calgary Legal Guidance funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation. The purpose is to make you aware of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.
This topic will discuss the Fine Option Program.
The Alberta Fine Option Program enables offenders to work off fines rather than making cash payments or going to jail. It is available to offenders who are 18 years or older. A similar program is available through City of Calgary Social Services to young offenders under the age of 18 years. In order to be eligible for the Fine Option Program you must be able to work in Canada.
All placements are made through the Alberta Justice Fine Option Program. Participants work in community service projects and gain credits of minimum wage for each hour worked. While the current rate is at $8.80 per hour, compensation rates will reflect whatever the minimum wage is at the time that you participate in the program. There are a variety of placements, such as: work crews organized through the Alberta Justice Attendance Centre, public recreation centres and many charitable non‑profit organizations. The type of work must be approved by the Chief Executive Officer or a government worker serving as his delegate. The work should benefit both the individual offender and the community. Community work can be done between 8:00 a.m. and midnight any day of the week.
An Institutional Fine Option Program is also offered to offenders who are serving a sentence for a default in the payment of a fine. These offenders may be granted a temporary absence to allow them to work at assignments in the community. Others may be assigned work at their correctional centre and will be released once the fine is worked off.
If you agree to participate in the Fine Option Program but fail to complete the program or pay the outstanding balance, you will be arrested and taken into custody to serve the default jail term. Participants from institutions serving time will have their temporary permits cancelled. If some community service work has been completed prior to the default date imprisonment penalties will be reduced accordingly. Partial cash payments will be accepted at any time reducing the number of work hours required. If you require further assistance call the Alberta Fine Option Program at 403-297-2345.