Bill 108, the Streamlining of Administration of Provincial Offences Act, 1997

Update: see previous posts May 17, 2010 1 Billion Dollars in Unpaid Traffic Tickets (Ontario), December 31, 2008 Auditor General of Ontario’s 2008 Annual Report: Court Backlogs Getting Worse and Tickets Have Dramatically Increased in the Ontario Cities of: Ottawa (155%), York (95%) and Toronto (78%)

Backgound:

Bill 108, the Streamlining of Administration of Provincial Offences Act, 1997 was passed by the Ontario Legislature on June 9, 1998. The Bill received Royal Assent on June 11, 1998. It was agreed that the Province would provide a two (2) year implementation period to provide time to municipalities to get prepared for the transition.

Since that time, the responsibility for POA administration was transferred from the Ministry of the Attorney General to Municipalities within Ontario from 1999 – 2002. The Ministry of the Attorney General retains responsibility for all other Court services, including Civil, Criminal, Family and Small Claims Court matters.

The Province of Ontario transferred responsibility for the administration of the Provincial Offences Courts to Municipalities across Ontario.

Primarily, municipalities assume the responsibility to prosecute minor ticket-type offences, such as speeding and parking violations, etc. Administrative functions and court support services related to prosecutions will also be provided by municipalities.

The Provincial Offences Act (the “POA”) is a procedural law for administering and prosecuting provincial offences, including those committed under the:

  • Highway Traffic Act
  • Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act
  • Trespass to Property Act
  • Liquor Licence Act
  • Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act
  • other provincial legislation
  • Municipal By-laws (ie-parking, etc.)
  • minor federal offences
  • The POA governs all aspects of the legal prosecution process, from serving an offence notice (certificate of offence – generally referred to as a “ticket”) to an accused person, to conducting trials, including sentencing and collection of fines to appeals.

    Between the years 1999 – 2002, the Ontario Government transferred enforcement of provincial offences to municipalities throughout Ontario. This meant that municipalities now have the responsibility to collect on the fines, from the tickets that were issued within their municipality. Most of the fines transferred as a result of this change are for offences committed under the Highway Traffic Act, which falls under the POA.

    Municipalities benefit from this transfer of power as they retain net revenues from fines collected from tickets and prosecutions. Municipalities collect gross fine revenue and remit a portion to the Province for the Victim Fine Surcharge and a share of the Province’s continued operating and administrative costs for the POA. Municipalities delivering services under the POA have the authority to use remaining revenues not only to support the POA process, but also to address local priorities.

    Bill 108 does not change law enforcement procedures or adjudication of provincial offences. The Province also retains the responsibility for setting standards and monitoring the justice system. The Government introduced an amendment to ensure that services in French would be maintained at provincial standards during and after the transfer of  POA responsibilities.

    Since this responsibility was transferred, municipalities have been required to pay the costs for administering courts, prosecutions, and the collection of fines, and to reimburse the province for its associated costs, including the cost of Justices of the Peace who preside over municipally administered courts, and the cost of the municipalities’ use of the ICON system for tracking offences and payments. Under transfer agreements established with these municipalities, the Ministry sets performance standards for the conduct of prosecutions, for the administration of the courts, and for the provision of court support services.

    Under transfer agreements established with these municipalities, the Ministry sets performance standards for the conduct of prosecutions, for the administration of the courts, and for the provision of court support services.

    When Bill 108 came into effect, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) expected the revenues from this new arrangement to bring municipalities an estimated $67 million dollars annually.

    Provincial Offences Act Amended: Bill 108 Passed

    36:2 Bill 108, Streamlining of Administration of Provincial Offences Act, 1997:

    DateBill StageActivityCommittee
    June 11, 1998Royal AssentRoyal Assent received
    June 09, 1998Third ReadingCarried on Division
    June 09, 1998Reported as amended
    June 09, 1998Considered by Committee of the Whole House
    December 18, 1997Ordered carried over from previous session
    December 18, 1997Carried over to next session
    December 18, 1997Considered by Committee of the Whole House
    December 15, 1997Considered by Committee of the Whole House
    May 08, 1997Ordered referred to Committee of the Whole House
    May 08, 1997Reported as amended
    May 08, 1997Consideration of a BillStanding Committee on General Government
    May 01, 1997Consideration of a BillStanding Committee on General Government
    February 27, 1997Ordered referred to Standing CommitteeStanding Committee on General Government
    February 27, 1997Second ReadingCarried
    February 27, 1997Second ReadingDebate
    February 12, 1997Second ReadingDebate
    January 20, 1997First ReadingCarried

    On December 1, 2010 Bill 126 will be implemented and includes the following changes:

    Section 40 of the  Highway Traffic Act currently provides that the Minister of Transportation, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, may enter into reciprocal agreements respecting drivers’ licences with the government of any American state. This is amended to remove the requirement for the Lieutenant Governor in Council’s approval and to allow for reciprocal agreements with any province or territory of Canada as well. Sections 41 and 42 of the Act currently provide for reciprocal enforcement by imposing penalties for contravention of a provision enacted by a state of the United States of America that is designated by the regulations. These sections are amended to impose penalties for a contravention of a provision enacted by any other jurisdiction, including by a municipality in another jurisdiction, that is designated in a reciprocal agreement entered into under section 40.

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