Provincial Offences Court - Frequently Asked Questions
What are Provincial Offences?
Non-criminal offences include, but are not limited to:
- Highway Traffic Act offences - Speeding, careless driving, not wearing your seatbelt, etc.
- Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act offences - Failing to surrender your insurance card or possessing a false, invalid insurance card or no insurance
- Liquor Licence Act offences - Being intoxicated in a public place or selling alcohol to a minor
- Trespass to Property Act offences - Entering prohibited premises or failing to leave premises
- Occupational Health and Safety or Environmental Offences
- Municipal By-law Offences - Noise, animal care, trees, etc.
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 reopenings 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 need a lawyer to appear in Provincial Offences Court. Legal Aid may be available to defendants experiencing financial hardship that meets the criteria laid out by Ontario Legal Aid, when the Crown is seeking a custody / jail term.
Duty counsel is not available for Provincial Offences Court matters.
Contact your local Legal Aid office to find out if you would be eligible.
How can the public or media get audio or video court proceedings?
Email POAmgmt@niagararegion.ca or call the Manager, Court Services at 905-687-6590 ext. 1631 for information on how to access remote and virtual court proceedings.
What is the Vision Zero Road Safety Program?
Learn about our Vision Zero Road Safety Program.
Provincial offence notices
Who can issue Provincial Offence notices or tickets?
There are many enforcement agencies in Niagara who can issue you a ticket, including:
- CN Rail Police
- City Bylaw Enforcement
- City Fire Services
- Lincoln County Humane Society
- Ministry of Environment
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Labour
- Ministry of Natural Resources
- Ministry of Transportation
- Niagara Parks Police
- Niagara Regional Police
- Niagara Region Public Health
- Niagara SPCA
- Ontario Provincial Police
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
- Any other designated Provincial Offences Officer
- What are the 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 get a ticket?
Review your ticket and the options provided on the ticket itself. The court is bound by those three options.
Option 1: Plea of Guilty - Payment Out of Court
If choosing Option 1, you can complete payment using one of the following options:
- Call 905-687-6590 to pay with Visa, MasterCard or a prepaid credit card
- Mail a cheque or money order to 445 East Main St., Welland, ON L3B 3X7. Cheques should be made payable to the Regional Municipality of Niagara.
- Pay in person at 445 East Main St., Welland
Option 2: Early Resolution Meeting
To select Option 2, confirm your address is correct on your ticket and then complete one of the following:
- Visit ontario.ca/ticketsandfines to request a meeting online to resolve your case and track your progress
- Check the box for Option 2 on your ticket. Take a picture of the ticket and email to POAInfo@niagararegion.ca or Fax 905-687-6614
- Check the box for Option 2 on your ticket and deliver via mail or in-person to the Niagara Region Courthouse at 445 East Main St., Welland, ON L3B 3X7
Option 3: Trial Option (Not Guilty)
If choosing Option 3 to request a trial, be sure to check the box under Option 3 and complete the Notice of Intention to Appear form, then send it to the courthouse using one of the following options:
- Email POAInfo@niagararegion.ca
- Fax 905-687-6614
- Mail or deliver in person to 445 East Main St., Welland, ON L3B 3X7
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. Your offence notice will be reviewed and you may be convicted 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.
Vision Zero - automated speed enforcement
What is automated speed enforcement?
Automated speed enforcement is an automated system that uses a camera and a speed measurement device. The device detects and captures images of vehicles travelling more than the posted speed limit. This safety tool complements traditional police activities by enforcing safer speeds. It works alongside other methods and strategies including engineering measures and education initiatives.Automated speed enforcement focuses on altering driver behaviour to decrease speeding.
Automated speed enforcement devices are installed as part of the Vision Zero Road Safety Initiative.
How does automated speed enforcement work?
An automated speed enforcement unit takes an image and records the speed of any vehicle travelling over the posted speed limit. The camera stores the images which are then reviewed by a Provincial Offences officer. The officer will determine if a ticket should be issued. Tickets are issued to the owner of the vehicle, even if they were not the one driving at the time.
- If I receive a ticket in the mail, what are my options?
How long does it take to get a speeding ticket in the mail?
Automated speed enforcement tickets are sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. Tickets are sent by mail to the last address on file with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Expect tickets to arrive within 30 days or less of when the violation takes place.
How much is the fine?
The fines for speeding are set by statute. They are based on the number of kilometres over the speed limit your vehicle was travelling. The total payable fine will include the set fine, a victim surcharge (an amount based on the set fine) and a $5 court cost.
Are there demerit points for an automated speed enforcement ticket?
There are no demerit points for an automated speed enforcement camera charge, however, if the fine goes unpaid, the license plate of the vehicle cannot be renewed.
Will an automated speed enforcement ticket affect my insurance?
While tickets issued will not affect demerit points, a speeding ticket, whether issued by a police officer or through a camera, could affect your insurance. Individuals should consult with their insurance company about potential impact.
Can I pay my ticket online?
When paying online, payment may take three to five days to reach our office. Contact the Provincial Offences Court office if your due date is less than three days from the current date, or if you have a court date or early resolution date scheduled.
Will I be able to pay a parking ticket at a Provincial Offences court?
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 Application for Extension of Time to Pay. 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 two weeks to get 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 third party collection agencies
- Licence plate denial
- Adding delinquent fines to property tax roll
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 driver's licence. The Ministry of Transportation will determine if your licence will be reinstated. You will be responsible to pay the reinstatement fee to the Ministry of Transportation.
Refer to the Official Ministry of Transportation Driver's Handbook for more information on suspended licences and demerit points.
Other outstanding matters may result in your licence remaining suspended. Demerit points are administered by the Ministry of Transportation.
What does the collections office do?
The collections office pursues payment of all unpaid Provincial Offence fines. Call 905-687-6590 or email Provincial Offences Act Collections Office with your inquiry.
Trials / appeals
I have a trial date scheduled and I can't attend. What should I do?
You must contact the Provincial Offences Court office well in advance of your court date.
A request for adjournment requires that a Notice of Motion be served by you or an agent on the prosecutor, giving three days notice, then filing the Notice of Motion with the Court.
You can have a legal representative, or someone you know with written and signed authorization from you to appear and speak on your behalf, attend to provide the court with your reasons why you cannot be present. They may appear virtually by Zoom, or in person at the courthouse. The Justice of the Peace may still choose to proceed in your absence
I have a court matter. How can I attend?
You can attend your court matter in person or remotely.
For in-person appearances, your matter will be held at 445 East Main Street, Welland.
For remote court matter by video conference, use the link or Meeting ID provided on your notice. You are encouraged to log on 15 minutes before to avoid disrupting the court. If you do not have a Zoom compatible device or are unable to connect by video for your trial, email the trial coordinator or call 905-687-6590 to discuss available options.
How do I submit an exhibit (evidence) for my court matter if it's occurring virtually?
Your exhibit will need to be emailed to the courthouse before your trial.
For more information, contact the Court Administration team at email@example.com or call 905-687-6590, option 3.
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?
If you have received a ticket and would like disclosure, complete the request for disclosure form.
To avoid inconvenience to you, 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?
How do I file an appeal of the courts 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. Your application(s) will be addressed before a Provincial Court Judge who will consider whether or not to grant your requests.
Appeal documents may be obtained from the Provincial Offences office, from the Ministry of the Attorney General court office, or online from Niagara Region's Provincial Offences Administration Forms.
Can I show digital or video evidence during my trial?
Yes. Our courtrooms are equipped to allow you to present digital and video evidence from the defendant table and from the witness box/.
You must provide your own working equipment (laptop or tablet) and the appropriate cables (HDMI or VGA and audio) to connect to our video equipment.
Refer to the Provincial Offences external connections information sheet for more information.
Will I have to leave the digital or video evidence used during my trial with the court?
Yes. Any digital or video evidence used during your trial that is marked as an Exhibit will be retained by the court and securely stored in accordance with Exhibit Handling Procedures.
Ensure the evidence is on a detachable memory stick or USB drive that you can leave with the court. Your exhibit will be returned to you after the required retention period.
Will court staff help me with displaying digital or video evidence?
No. You must be able to display your own digital or video evidence without help.
Demerit points / licence suspensions
How many demerit points will I receive once I am convicted of this charge?
Demerit points are administered by the Ministry of Transportation. Learn about understanding demerit points.
How can I receive more information about the current status of my driving record?
Visit the Ministry of Transportation. 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 must go to your local Ministry of Transportation office and pay a 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?
If your fine is not related to a parking offence, you may complete payment for your fine with the Provincial Offences Court or at any Service Ontario office.
All parking offence matters rest with the local municipality. If your outstanding fine is a parking offence, 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:
Manager, Court Services
445 East Main St.
Welland, L3B 3X7
Email the manager