Provincial Offences

Provincial Offences are laws made by the Province of Ontario.

Provincial Offences can be classified as non-criminal, quasi-criminal or regulator offences.  Provincial Offence laws are made by the Province of Ontario with the responsibility for the Provincial Offences Courts under the municipalities across Ontario. All offences authorized by the Provincial Offences Act are primarily enforced by the originating Agency, of a Provincial Ministry or the Police.

If you, your business or your establishment has received a Provincial Offences Ticket or Summons, it is important to know the consequences of a conviction. A fine can also follow a criminal and or business licence suspension.

Common Questions
Common Examples of Provincial Offences

Most Common Provincial Offence matters as well as offences against municipal by-laws, include:

  • Highway Traffic Act charges such as speeding or traffic violations, careless driving, or not wearing your seat belt;
  • Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act such as failing to surrender your insurance card, or possessing a fake or invalid insurance card;
  • Liquor License Act such as being intoxicated in a public place; selling alcohol to a minor or to a person who is intoxicated; or selling alcohol without a license or selling alcohol with a suspended or revoked license;
  • Trespass to Property Act  such as entering premises when entry is prohibited or failing to leave the premises after being directed to do so;
  • Municipal by-law charges relating to excessive noise, animal control, or garbage disposal

Commonly Enforced Provincial Legislations:

  • Environmental Protection Act
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • Dog Owners’ Liability Act
  • Trespass to Property Act
  • Fire Protection and Prevention Act
  • Liquor Licence Act
  • Health and Safety Act
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • Provincial Parks Act
  • Consumer Protection Act
Types of Provincial Offence Notices

Part I notice is a “Ticket” (Form 3) and provides three options:

(i)  Plead guilty by paying the total amount shown on your ticket.
(ii) Go to the court office shown on the ticket and plead guilty and make submissions about the penalty (including the amount of fine or how much time you have to pay).
(iii) Ask for a trial date. See the back of your ticket for information about how to get a trial date set.

If you get a ticket and do not do one of these things within 15 days of receiving your ticket, or if you or someone on your behalf does not attend court for your trial, you may be found guilty

Part II notice is a parking infraction and provides two options:

(i) Plead guilty by paying the total amount shown on your ticket.
(ii) Ask for a trial date. See the back of your ticket for information about how to get a trial date set.

Part III notice is a “Summons” (Form 4) and provides a court date:

You may request a meeting with a prosecutor by checking a box on the Summons. You will then receive a notice of the date and time of the meeting. By meeting with the prosecutor, you do not give up your right to a trial; however, you may be able to resolve the case. Possible resolutions could include a withdrawal of the charge or an agreement in which you plead guilty to a less serious charge. If you or someone on your behalf does not attend the meeting or the court date scheduled after the meeting, you may be found guilty.

If you get a summons, you or someone on your behalf must attend court at the time and place shown on the summons:

(i) If you or someone on your behalf does not attend court and it is a trial date, a warrant for your arrest may be issued or your trial may go ahead without you. If your trial goes ahead without you, you might be convicted and sentenced. Depending on the offence with which you have been convicted, you might be sentenced to jail and a warrant issued for your arrest.
(ii) If you or someone on your behalf does not attend court and the date is not a trial date, a trial date may be set at that time and you will not be notified of the trial date.
(iii) If you or someone on your behalf does not appear at the time and place shown on the summons or for a scheduled court date, you may be charged with “failing to appear” in court.
(iv) If you or someone on your behalf does not attend a scheduled court date, it is your responsibility to find out from the court office what happened, including whether a trial date was set and for what date.

Penalties

Provincial Offences commenced by a “Ticket”

The maximum fine limit is $1,000.00.

Serious Provincial Offences are commenced by a “Summons” or “Information”.   

The maximum fine is $5,000.00 unless the charging legislation allows a greater penalty or imprisonment.  In some provincial legislation, such as the Consumer Protection Act, the fine can be up to $50,000.00 for an individual or two years imprisonment, and $250,000.00 for a Corporation.

Defending your Charge

In deciding whether or not to obtain legal advice, you must consider the consequences of:

  • the charge you are facing,
  • the complexity of the case,
  • your understanding of the legal process and the issues, and
  • the risk of a substantial fine, jail time or other penalty that would have significant personal impact (for example, driving demerit points, driver’s licence suspension).

Download the Guide to learn more about Defending Provincial Offence Cases.

Appealing a Conviction

You may appeal against your conviction, the sentence you received (including a probation order), or against both the conviction and the sentence (including a probation order).

Learn more by downloading the following Guide to Appeals.