What are provincial offences?
Provincial offences are regulatory (non-criminal) offences that include, but are not limited to:
- Speeding, careless driving, or not wearing your seat belt
- Failing to surrender your insurance card or possessing a false or invalid insurance card
- Being intoxicated in a public place or selling alcohol to a minor
- Trespassing or failing to leave premises after being directed to do so
- Occupational Health and Safety Act and Ministry of Environment violations
- Noise, taxi and animal care city bylaws.
Who can issue provincial offence tickets?
Many enforcement agencies can issue tickets, including:
- City By-law enforcement officers
- Local Police Services
- Ontario Provincial Police
- Ministry of Transportation
- Ministry of the Environment
- Ministry of Labour
- Ministry of Natural Resources
- Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
- GO Transit
- Toronto Transit Commission
What are the different types of Provincial Offence Notices (tickets)?
There are three different types of Provincial Offence Notices.
Part I – a ticket that is issued to an individual
Part II – parking tickets
Part III – a summons (including a court date)
How many days do I have to respond once I receive a provincial offence ticket?
You have 15 days to respond on your ticket. Please read and follow the instructions provided on back of the yellow ticket. Within 15 calendar days, you must choose one of the following options:
- Plea of guilty – payment out of court
- Plead guilty with an explanation
- Trial option or a meeting with a prosecutor
Why are there two amounts on my ticket?
One amount is the set fine and the second is the total payable. The total payable consists of the set fine, court costs and the Victim Fine Surcharge. The set fine is ordered by the Chief Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice as an amount payable by the defendant in lieu of attending court to contest the charge. Court costs are an amount to be paid by the defendant for the service of the offence notice and/or summons and upon conviction of an offence. The costs are authorized by Section 60 of the Provincial Offences Act and the amount is set by regulation. Section 8 of the Provincial Offences Act provides that payment of an offence notice (ticket) constitutes a plea of guilty and results in a conviction being registered. The Victim Fine Surcharge is imposed by the Provincial Government and is added to every fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act. The amount of the Victim Fine Surcharge is variable, and is based on the amount of the set fine. Proceeds from the surcharge are used to maintain and expand provincial services to victims of crime.
What is the victim fine surcharge?
- The provincial government adds a victim fine surcharge (VFS) to every non-parking fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act. It is deposited into a special fund to help victims of crime.
- The amount of the VFS is usually 20% of the imposed fine. For example, a $100 fine would result in a $20 surcharge. Fines over $1,000 carry a surcharge of 25%
What happens if I don’t pay my fine in full?
Failure to pay your fine in full could result in a conviction being entered against you. Upon conviction you will be required to pay the set fine including court costs and the applicable victim fine surcharge by the due date. Failure to pay the fine imposed upon conviction by the due date will result in one or more of the following:
- Refusal by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to issue validation of your vehicle permit
- Refusal by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to issue a vehicle permit
- Driver’s licence suspension
- An additional administrative fee
- The defaulted fine information is provided to a credit bureau.
What if I need more time to pay a provincial offence fine?
If you need more time to pay a provincial offence fine, visit the court office noted on the back of your ticket (Offence Notice) or the address indicated on the top of your Notice of Fine and Due date. You will be asked to fill out a form. This form will require you to fill in all of the information regarding your ticket including how much you have paid so far and a specific date that you would like it extended to, etc. You may or may not be required to see a Justice of the Peace to give a verbal explanation.
What is the Offence Notice (ticket) process?
After being served a ticket (Offence Notice) the defendant has three options
- Pays fine – a conviction is registered
- Pleads guilty with explanation – a conviction is registered
- Attends court office to file a request for trial (must complete a Notice of Intention to Appear) and/or meet with a prosecutor.
If you do not exercise one of the above options within 15 days, or if you do not appear for your trial, a Justice of the Peace will review your case and may enter a conviction in your absence.
What is a reopening and how is it processed?
A reopening is a process for people to follow if they feel they have been convicted of a Part I (minor traffic matter) or Part II (parking matter) through no fault of their own. The reopening must be requested at the administration office of the court address indicated on the back of your ticket. Once the paperwork is complete the person requesting the reopening will see a Justice of the Peace. If a reopening is granted, the original conviction and fine are struck and a new trial is given, normally at the same time. A reopening can be requested at the appropriate court office Monday to Friday (except holidays) between 8:30 AM and 2:00 PM. Please note that large volumes may necessitate a cut off earlier than 2:00 PM at the instructions of the Judiciary.
What happens if I am found guilty? Will I receive any notification in the mail?
If you are found guilty you will be charged. Your sentence could include a fine, probation, court order, by-law related order, licence suspension, imprisonment or any combination thereof. You should receive a document entitled “Notice of Fine and Due Date”. However, if you do not receive this document, you are still responsible to pay the fine within the time period granted by the Justice of the Peace.
Someone fraudulently used my name and I have been wrongly accused of an offence that I didn’t commit. What should I do?
“personation” is a fraudulent act committed by a person identifying themselves as someone else. It is a criminal offence to swear to an affidavit when you have knowingly provided false information within that affidavit. If you believe that your name has been used falsely in a traffic violation, you have to go to the Police Services – Personation Unit. You must:
- Attend the court location that dealt with the ticket(s)
- Obtain a copy of the ticket(s)
- Obtain a copy of the ICON printout in relations to the ticket(s) in question
- Swear to a ‘General Affidavit’ before a Justice of the Peace outlining your claim of personation
- Contact the personation investigators in order to make an appointment
For claims of personation involving other offences (other than traffic violations) please contact the investigating officer of the enforcement agency who laid the charge(s). Improperly registered vehicles should be reported to the closest police division.