Volunteer-based organizations concerned about losing Sask.’s fine option program

The government’s decision to scale back the provincial fine option program has some community-based organizations worried.

The fine option program allows people to pay traffic and parking tickets through hours of community service.

“We rely very heavily on fine options to come in with volunteers who are working off traffic and parking fine tickets,” Tracey Mazur, Habitat for Humanity’s acting CEO, said.

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“Last year alone, the 2016/2017 year, it was over 1200 volunteer hours that we had from fine options and really what it equates to if we were paying minimum wage, which we don’t, is over $18,000 worth of wage payments,” she added.

By reducing the availability of the fine option program for people who have traffic violations, the government wants to save more than a million dollars. It argues less than half of those who register for the program actually complete it.

“They’re supposed to be held to task, but the way that the program works is that we’re not always made aware of those people that don’t complete,” Justice Minister Gordon Wyant said.

“There’s going to be some consequences to some [community-based organizations], but I think returning to the original intent of the program is appropriate. We are going to keep an eye on the effect and our community-based organizations. We do value the work that they do within the communities, but again, if people aren’t completing the work, then I’m not sure that the value to the province is there.”

People in the fine option program usually average 30 to 40 hours at Habitat for Humanity, Mazur said.

She also said it isn’t common for people to miss their shifts.

“We have forms that we fill out so the government and the John Howard Society can keep track, and we certainly submit those forms, but we’ve certainly had very low to no problems with that at all,” she said.

According to the John Howard Society, which manages fine options, more than 27,000 hours of community service helped pay off 1,300 fines in Regina alone last year.

Many of those volunteers actually return to help out after all fines are paid, Mazur said.

“When you look at what they’re looking at as a cost savings, it’s peanuts compared to what the community impact is,” Mazur said.

The changes are expected to take effect July 1.

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Oilers give up 3-0 lead to lose Game 5 to the Ducks

Corey Perry scored 6:57 into the second overtime as the Anaheim Ducks completed an improbable comeback to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series on Friday night.

Rickard Rakell, Cam Fowler and Ryan Getzlaf scored for Anaheim in the final 3:16 of regulation to erase Edmonton’s 3-0 lead and send the game to an extra period. John Gibson made 35 saves for the Ducks, who became the only team in NHL history to win a playoff game in overtime after trailing by three or more goals with less than four minutes to play.

Perry took a crisp pass from Getzlaf, faked a shot to get Cam Talbot off balance and put it around the goalie’s left skate. The Ducks barreled onto the ice to dog pile Perry, while the Oilers trudged back to their dressing room.

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The Ducks now lead the series 3-2.

Connor McDavid had a power-play goal and Drake Caggiula and Leon Draisaitl also scored during a three-goal eruption in the second period for the Oilers. Talbot made 60 saves.

Game 6 is Sunday in Edmonton.

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Honda Center was emptying out when Getzlaf finally scored, only for Fowler to come up with a second goal 35 seconds later.

The tying goal perfectly captured the madness of the moment, with Fowler throwing the puck on net from the blue line where it ended up among a mass of bodies, including two Ducks, two Oilers and a sprawling Talbot. Somehow the puck came loose after two attempts by Perry and ended up at Rakell’s feet, and he fired a backhand shot that got through all that traffic with 15 seconds left.

It was an ending that did not seem possible given the Oilers’ mastery of the middle 20 minutes of regulation.

Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry, left, scores the game winning goal past Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot during the fifth period in overtime in Game 5 of a second-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, May 5, 2017.

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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After being outscored by three goals in the second in their last game at Rogers Place, the Oilers were happy to return the favour. Draisaitl scored just 15 seconds in, pouncing on a rebound of Oscar Klefbom’s shot for his second goal of the series and third this post-season.

McDavid then capitalized on a two-man advantage to put the Oilers up 2-0, swatting a rebound between nemesis Ryan Kesler’s legs into an open net. It was McDavid’s third consecutive game with a goal.

McDavid picked up an assist on Caggiula’s goal, finally notching his first multi-point performance of the playoffs after posting 30 during the regular season to claim the Art Ross Trophy as top scorer in the league. The Oilers were able to spring a 4-on-2 break but only needed a give-and-go between Caggiula and McDavid to break the game open.

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The Oilers were lucky to get out of the first without giving up a goal, especially as absences on defence piled up. Klefbom missed roughly half of the period after taking a puck to the chest, while Matt Benning briefly exited the game after being cleanly checked into the boards by Nate Thompson. Andrej Sekera was shaken up on a seemingly routine check from Getzlaf with an apparent left leg injury.

Sekera did not return, leaving the Oilers with only four defencemen for part of the second when Kris Russell was also shaken up.

Getzlaf missed a penalty shot after Milan Lucic had to grab the white-hot Ducks captain to disrupt a breakaway, and Anaheim failed to capitalize on two dominant power-play chances, allowing Edmonton to recover during the first intermission and seemingly take control of the game until the dramatic final 3:16.

Watch below: Anaheim Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle spoke to reporters following his team’s win in double overtime of Game 5 in their series against the Edmonton Oilers.

NOTES: Edmonton’s Zack Kassian and Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie each received 10-minute misconduct penalties in the second after fighting in spite of several warnings from the officials. … With Patrick Eaves (foot) and Ondrej Kase (lower body) out of the lineup, forward Nic Kerdiles made his first post-season appearance for the Ducks. Kerdiles is the Ducks’ first player from Orange County.