Alberta aims to eliminate photo radar ‘fishing holes’

Albertans’ growing frustration over the purpose of photo radar “fishing holes” has led the provincial government to pause new photo radar equipment and locations.

The first step was to ban photo radar on ring roads in Calgary and Edmonton. And the government will engage with municipalities and law enforcement over the next year to remove all “fishing hole” locations across the province, according to a news release. Albertans can be confident that, going forward, photo radar will only be used to improve traffic safety, the province said.

“Alberta has the highest usage of photo radar in Canada, and these changes will finally eliminate the cash cow that affects so many Albertans,” Devin Dreeshen, minister of transportation and economic corridors, said in the release. “Photo radar must only be used to improve traffic safety, and with theses changes, municipalities will no longer be able to issue thousands of speeding tickets simply to generate revenue.”

“Slowing down saves lives, which is why accountability is so important. What these consequences are and how they’re enforced are up to the provincial government,” Alberta Motor Transport Association board chairman Doug Paisley told, reacting to the news.

Consulting with municipalities

The cap on any new photo radar equipment, programs, or locations will continue until the one-year consultation with municipalities is complete on Dec. 1, 2024.

Edmonton and Calgary can redeploy the photo radar units previously used on their ring roads to areas such as schools, playgrounds, and construction zones.

Alberta’s first photo radar units were introduced in 1987 and there are now about 2,387 photo radar sites across the province. Calgary’s ring road has eight photo radar sites and Edmonton’s ring road has 22.

Photo radar generated $171 million in 2022-23. Traffic fine revenue is split between the province and municipalities, with the province receiving 40% and municipalities receiving 60%.