WATCHDOG: Clean up or pay up: Ontario property owners owe nearly $1 million in fines

Ruth Uranga stands outside her northwest Ontario property, which has accumulated $74,250 in fines since November 2019. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

ONTARIO - Day by day for months, city fines mounted on Ruth Uranga’s northwest Ontario property.

Ontario officials wanted her family home cleaned up, hoping the penalties would force her to act.

But the city wants $74,250 in civil penalties – thousands more than the property is worth.

“I have no money to pay for (a) lawyer or to fight,” Uranga told the Enterprise in an interview.

Such jaw-dropping penalties have come into public focus in Ontario as city officials wrestle with reforms to a system that has accumulated nearly $1 million in unpaid fines in the past four years.

The fines are imposed on homeowners and businesses . . .