12/14/2012 03:42 EST | Updated 02/13/2013 05:12 EST

New Brunswick recovers $5.5 million in unpaid loans, fines in past year

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government has recouped more than $5.5 million since it expanded its efforts to collect on overdue accounts a year ago.

The province's Finance Department says that brings to $19 million collected since 2009, when New Brunswick began using the Canada Revenue Agency to help collect on unpaid student loans.

Last November, that program was expanded to include unpaid vehicle fines, court fines, social assistance overpayments and unpaid loans or bills for the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries.

The government has started collecting on $101 million using the Canada Revenue Agency set-off — a deduction from income tax refunds.

Earlier this week, Social Development Minister Madeleine Dube said her department has been able to collect more that $500,000 in the past year from about $14.5 million in social assistance overpayments.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the program was expanded to include multiple departments.