Important Note: This general information is provided for your assistance only. For specific information refer to the Provincial Offences Act or obtain Legal Advice.
In January 2001, the Province of Ontario, as part of its strategy to realign provincial and municipal roles in the delivery of public services, transferred the responsibility for the administration and prosecution of Provincial Offences to the Regional Municipality of Niagara.
The Region of Niagara, acting as agent on behalf of the twelve local area municipalities, has established its own administration and courtrooms to deal with charges laid under the Provincial Offences Act (POA).
In administering the POA Courts, Niagara's staff are responsible for setting trials, prosecuting certain Provincial Offence matters, recording court proceedings, and receiving fine payments resulting from charges laid by the various police forces and enforcement agencies operating within the Region. The Region of Niagara upholds the decisions of the court by pursuing collection of unpaid POA fines.
The POA is a procedural law for administering and prosecuting Provincial Offences including those committed under the Highway Traffic Act, the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, the Trespass to Property Act, the Liquor Licence Act and other provincial legislation, municipal by-laws and minor federal offences. The POA governs all aspects of the legal prosecution process, from serving an offence notice to an accused person to conducting trials including sentencing and appeals.
As of March 31, 2012 the Niagara Region has instituted an Early Resolution Program whereby defendants can request a meeting with a POA prosecutor to discuss, and hopefully resolve, your charge(s). If you are unable to reach a resolution of your charge(s), a trial date will be set for you.
The Ontario Court of Justice Guide for Defendants in Provincial Offences Cases is now available on the Ontario Courts website.