This general information is provided for your assistance only. For specific information refer to the Provincial Offences Act or obtain legal advice.

In administering the Provincial Offences Act (POA) Courts, the City of Thunder Bay's court staff are responsible for setting trials, prosecuting certain Provincial Offence matters, recording court proceedings, generating transcripts and receiving fine payments resulting from charges laid by the various police forces and enforcement agencies operating within the District. The City of Thunder Bay upholds the decisions of the court by pursuing collection of unpaid Provincial Offence fines.

What is POA?

The Provincial Offences Act (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.

Guide to defendant - Provincial Offences Court Guide to Appeals in POA

Location

Court Location: 101 S. Syndicate Avenue - Victoriaville Mall

Administration Office: 101 S. Syndicate Avenue - Victoriaville Mall

General Inquiries: 807-625-2999 Fax: 807-623-7751

Hours of operation

8:30  - 4:30 pm Monday to Friday (excluding holidays)

For intake court hours please call the Administration Office for availability.

Payment of fines

Payment is accepted in person or by mail.

Payment can be made by Visa, MasterCard, debit, cash, cheque or money order payable to the City of Thunder Bay

On-line payments at www.paytickets.ca

Forms

Frequently asked questions 

What are Provincial Offences?

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

  • Highway Traffic Act offences - Speeding, careless driving, or not wearing your seat belt; talking on your cell phone while driving
  • 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 Ministry of the Environment offences.
  • Municipal By-Law Offences:  Noise, animal care, trees, etc.

What do Provincial Offences Courts do?

  • Accept payment of Provincial Offence fines (exception - parking fines)
  • Schedule and support Provincial Offence trials
  • Support walk-in guilty plea courts
  • Manage the filing of Provincial Offences Act matters including appeals, 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 Offences matters.  Contact your local Legal Aid Office to confirm your eligibility.

Who can issue Provincial Offence notices or tickets?

There are many enforcement agencies in the Thunder Bay District that can issue you a ticket. These agencies include:

  • Thunder Bay Police Services
  • Ontario Provincial Police
  • City By-Law Enforcement
  • Thunder Bay Fire Services
  • Ministry of Transportation
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Ministry of Labour
  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Ministry of Health
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Canadian Pacific Railway

What are the different types of Provincial Offence notices?

There are three different types of Provincial Offence notices:

  • Part 1  -  a ticket that is issued to an individual/company
  • Part 11  -  a parking infraction
  • Part 111  - a summons (including court date)

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 set fine amount written on the tickets, you must appear in court at the time and date assigned.  If you do not attend, a trial will be scheduled in your absence.  You will not receive any further notice. 

What options do I have if I receive a ticket?

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

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 either in person or by mail at any Provincial Offences Court location in the Province of Ontario. Cheques should be made payable to the City of Thunder Bay.

Option 2, Plead Guilty with Submission as to Penalty

By choosing this option, which is also known as a "walk-in plea of guilty," you are stating that you are guilty but will provide submission as to penalty (ability to pay fine or more time to pay). You must visit the Provincial Offences Court office, indicated on your ticket within the dates and times on the back of your ticket. Please bring your ticket with you.

Option 3, Trial Option (Not guilty)

If you wish to plead not guilty you must sign your name under Option 3 on the back of the ticket as well as note any change to your address. You can either mail it or drop it off at the Provincial Offences Court office indicated on the back of your ticket (yellow/blue copy). You will receive a Notice of Trial in the mail in the next few weeks after we receive your request. 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.

How do I make a complaint?

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

If the complaint is concerning the conduct of the prosecutor, you must provide your complaint in writing to: 

City Solicitor Corporate Services City of Thunder Bay Box 800, 500 Donald Street East Thunder Bay Ontario   P7E 5V3

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

Supervisor, Court Services City of Thunder Bay Box 1600, 125 Syndicate Avenue South (Victoriaville Mall) Thunder Bay Ontario   P7C 6A9

I'm from out of town but want to exercise option #2 (Walk-in Guilty Plea) or Option #3 (Trial Option), can I attend at the courthouse where I live?

  • Option 2 - You must attend at the Provincial Offences Court indicated on the ticket.
  • Option 3 - You must file the ticket at Court Office indicated on the back of the Offence Notice; however, the trial will be conducted at the Provincial Offences Court indicated on the Notice of Trial.

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 Certificate of Offence 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 costs which are 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. Proceeds from the surcharge are used to maintain assistance programs to victims of crime.

Can I pay my fine over the phone using my credit card?

Yes - we can accept credit card payment over the phone.
Will I be able to pay a parking ticket at a Provincial Offences court?

No.  Municipal parking tickets must be paid at the Parking Authority Office located in Victoriaville Mall.

Can I serve jail time 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 the Court Services office and complete the prescribed form for an 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 1 week of filing the application 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
  • Licence plate denial
  • Involvement by 3rd party collection agencies
  • Credit problems

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

Notification will be given to 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 required reinstatement fee to the Ministry of Transportation.

NOTE:  Other outstanding matters may result in your licence remaining suspended.

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

Well in advance of the actual trial date, contact the Court Office where the trial is scheduled. A request to adjourn your matter to another court date requires an Application for Adjournment Form which can be obtained from the Court Services Office.  The form is required to be completed, signed and filed with our office as well as the Prosecutor's Office.

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 your trial.

How do I obtain disclosure?

Attend the Prosecutor's Office, 101 N. Syndicate Avenue, Suite 408, Chapples Building and fill out a Request for Disclosure form. To avoid any inconvenience to you, you should apply for disclosure as soon as possible after you have received your Notice of Trial.

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 Court.

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

You must attend the Court Services Office, 125 S. Syndicate Avenue (Victoriaville Mall), to obtain details and forms regarding a re-opening or an appeal. It is suggested that you call the office prior to ensure the availability of a Justice of the Peace.

How do I file an appeal of the court decision?

You must file a Notice of Appeal on Part 1 and Part 3 matters within 30 days of the conviction date. For a Part 1 & Part 3 (ticket) matters, the fine must be paid in full or an Application to File an Appeal Without Paying the Fine must also be completed when filing the Notice of Appeal. If you are past the allotted timeframe, you may also complete an Extension of Time to Appeal. A Provincial Judge must grant both the applications prior to the appeal being heard. For more information on the appeal process, please contact either the Court Services Office or any Provincial Court location.

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

Demerit points are administered by the Ministry of Transportation. Therefore, please contact one of the local Service Ontario offices. 

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

All driving record information is maintained and administered by the Ministry of Transportation, and more information can be obtained by contacting one of the local Service Ontario offices.

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

Contact your local Court Services 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 Service Ontario Office and pay a reinstatement fee. If you are certain that you have no outstanding fines, contact the Ministry of Transportation, Driver Control Division at 1-800-387-3445.

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

The Provincial Offence 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 any Provincial Offences Court offices.

 

If you require a PDF in an accessible format, contact our Municipal Accessibility Specialist at 807-625-2240 or email accessibility@thunderbay.ca.

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