Provincial Offences Court - Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Provincial Offence Notices

Payments

Trials / Appeals

Demerit Points / Licence Suspensions

Complaints


What are Provincial Offences?

Non-criminal offences including (but not limited to):

Most provincial offences result in out-of-court fine payments. Citizens who are issued Provincial Offence tickets should read them carefully for a complete list of their payment and trial options.

What do Provincial Offences Courts do?

  • Accept payment of Provincial Offence fines (except parking fines)
  • Schedule and support Provincial Offence trials
  • Support an Early Resolution Program
  • Manage the filing of Provincial Offences Act matters including re-openings and extension of time to pay fines
  • Respond to general inquiries about Provincial Offences

Do I need a lawyer to appear in Provincial Offences Court? Can I get Legal Aid?

You do not require a lawyer to appear in Provincial Offences Court. Legal Aid is generally not given for Provincial Offence matters

Contact your local Legal Aid office to confirm if you would be eligible.

Who can issue Provincial Offence notices or tickets?

There are many enforcement agencies in the Niagara Region, who can issue you a ticket, including:

  • Niagara Regional Police
  • Ontario Provincial Police
  • Niagara Parks Police
  • City Bylaw Enforcement
  • City Fire Services
  • Ministry of Transportation
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Ministry of Labour
  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Ministry of Health
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

What are the different types of provincial offence notices (tickets)?

There are three different types of Provincial Offence notices:

What does it mean when I receive a ticket (Part 1 offence) with a court date written on the bottom of my ticket but no fine amount?

When there is no fine amount written on the ticket, you must appear in court at the time and on the date assigned. If you do not attend, a trial will be scheduled in your absence and you will not receive any further notice.

What options do I have if I receive a ticket?

Option 1. Plea of Guilty - Payment Out of Court
By choosing this option, you are stating that you are guilty and you must pay the total payable at the bottom of your ticket. You can pay the fine online, in person or by mail at any Provincial Offences Court location. Cheques should be made payable to the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

Option 2. Early Resolution Meeting
This option offers you the opportunity to schedule a meeting with the prosecutor to discuss your charge(s). This meeting can be used to discuss a possible resolution of the charge or to request additional time to pay your fine. If you are unable to reach a resolution, a trial date will be set for you.

Option 3. Trial Option (Not Guilty)
If you wish to plead not guilty you or your Representative must attend in person at the Provincial Offences Court office shown on the back of your ticket to file a Notice of Intention to Appear. You will receive a notice of trial in the mail in the next few weeks after we receive your request. Notify the office of any change in address so that your notice of trial goes to the proper address. If you do not receive a notice of trial in 3 - 4 weeks, contact the Provincial Offences Court office to confirm the status.

Note: You have 15 days from receipt of an offence notice to exercise one of the above noted options. If you fail to respond you will be deemed not to dispute the charge.

What happens if I don't do anything after I have received a ticket?

The charge will be placed on a Fail to Respond docket and a Justice of the Peace will review the offence notice and may convict you in your absence. Once you have been convicted it is too late to choose any of the options indicated on the back of your ticket.

Why are there two amounts on my ticket?

At the bottom of every ticket there are two different amounts shown, the set fine and the total payable. The difference between these two amounts is called the Victim Fine Surcharge and is imposed by the provincial government. The amount of the Victim Fine Surcharge is based on a sliding scale depending on the amount of the fine and is added to every fine that is given under the Provincial Offences Act (except parking fines). Proceeds from the surcharge are used to maintain assistance programs for victims of crime.

Icon for paytickets.ca

Can I pay my ticket online?

You can pay your Tickets online with Ontario's PayTickets Site.

Will I be able to pay a parking ticket at the Provincial Offences court office?

No. Municipal parking tickets must be paid at the individual Municipality that issued the ticket.

Can I serve time in jail rather than paying my outstanding fines?

No. Serving time in jail is not an option.

What if I need more time to pay a Provincial Offence fine?

If you need more time to pay your fine, visit a Provincial Offences Court office and complete the Motion for Extension of Time to Pay the Fine. Once completed and returned to our office the form will be submitted to a Justice of the Peace. It is your responsibility to contact our office within 2 weeks to obtain the decision of the court.

What are the repercussions if I neglect to pay my fines?

  • Additional court and administrative costs
  • Collection enforcement
  • Licence suspension
  • Involvement by 3rd party collection agencies

My licence was suspended and I have been granted an extension of time to pay my fine. Will my licence be reinstated?

We will notify the Ministry of Transportation to remove the suspension status from your drivers' licence. The Ministry of Transportation will determine if your licence will be reinstated. You will be responsible to pay the reinstatement fee of $150 to the Ministry of Transportation.

Note: Visit the Ministry of Transportation's website for more information on suspended licences. Other outstanding matters may result in your licence remaining suspended.

What does the collections office do?

The collections office pursues payment of all unpaid Provincial Offence fines. Call 1-800-756-9477 or email Provincial Offences Act Collections Office with your inquiry.

I have a trial date scheduled and I can't attend. What should I do?

Well in advance of the actual trial time, contact the court office where the trial is scheduled.

A request for adjournment requires that a Notice of Motion be served by you on the prosecutor and the enforcement agency giving three days notice. You can have an agent appear and speak on your behalf and provide the court with your reasons why you cannot be present. The Justice of the Peace may still choose to proceed in your absence.

What is disclosure?

Disclosure is a procedure whereby the defendant is provided with copies of all evidentiary documentation which will be used by the Prosecutor at trial.

How do I order disclosure?

Step 1: Complete the form online or print the form.

Step 2: Fax the completed form to 905-734-7816 or submit in person at:

Attention: Provincial Offence Court,
3 Cross St., Welland
Prosecution Coordinator

To avoid inconvenience to you, you should apply for disclosure as soon as possible.

What happens if I am found guilty?

You will be sentenced. Your sentence could include a fine, probation, court order, by-law related order, licence suspension, imprisonment or any combination thereof.

If I am found guilty, will I receive any notification in the mail?

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.

I did not receive my Notice of Trial in the mail and now I have been convicted - what can I do?

You must attend at either your local Provincial Offences Court, or at the Court where your trial was scheduled to obtain details regarding a request for re-opening.

How do I file an appeal of the Court's decision?

You must file an appeal within 30 days of the conviction date. The fine must be paid in full or an application to file an appeal without paying the fine must be completed before filing the appeal.

If you are past the allotted time, you may also apply for an extension of time to appeal under Section 85 of the Provincial Offences Act. A Provincial Judge must grant both the application to file appeal without paying the fine and the application for extension of time to appeal.

Appeal documents may be obtained from any of the Provincial Offences offices, from the Ministry of the Attorney General court office, or online from Niagara Region's Provincial Offences Administration Forms page.

How many demerit points will I receive if I am convicted of this charge?

Visit the Ministry of Transportation's website for more information on demerit points. Demerit points are administered by the Ministry of Transportation.

How can I receive more information about the current status of my driving record?

Visit the Ministry of Transportation's website for more information driving records. All driving record information is maintained and administered by the Ministry of Transportation.

My licence has been suspended, what should I do now?

Contact your local Provincial Offences Act Court office to determine if there are any outstanding fines. All outstanding fines must be paid in full. After payment is made, you are required to go to your local Ministry of Transportation office and pay a $150 reinstatement fee.

If you are certain that you have no outstanding fines, contact the Ministry of Transportation, Driver Control at 1-800-303-4993.

I changed my address with the Ministry of Transportation, why was my notice not sent to my address?

The Provincial Offences Court database is not linked to the Ministry of Transportation database. Therefore, address changes made with the Ministry of Transportation are not on record with the Provincial Offences Court office.

I tried to renew my licence plate but I was told that I have an outstanding fine, what should I do?

In Provincial Offences Court, plate denials only apply to parking offences. Since all parking offence matters rest with the local municipality, you should contact the municipality in which you received the parking offence or pay your fine(s) at any Service Ontario office.

How do I make a formal complaint?

If the complaint is concerning the conduct of a Justice of the Peace, contact the Justice of the Peace Review Council.

If the complaint is concerning the conduct of Court Administration staff or Prosecutors, you must provide your complaint in writing to:

Associate Director, Court Services
4635 Queen St.
Niagara Falls, ON L2E 2L7
Email the Associate Director


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