POA (Court Services)
What is this Service?
In 2001, the Province of Ontario transferred the responsibility for the administration and prosecution of provincial offences to municipalities. In administering the POA Courts, 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 municipality. Municipalities also uphold the decisions of the court by pursuing collection of unpaid POA fines.
Provincial offences are minor (non-criminal) offences that include, but are not limited to:
- speeding, careless driving, or not wearing your seat belt – Highway Traffic Act
- failing to surrender your insurance card or possessing a false or invalid insurance card – Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act
- being intoxicated in a public place or selling alcohol to a minor – Liquor License Act
- entering prohibited premises or failing to leave premises after being directed to do so – Trespass to Property Act
- violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and environmental legislation
- noise, taxi and animal care by-laws – City by-laws
- Charges & Cost Structures: Parking vs. non-parking charges; costs that might be unique to some municipalities (e.g. interpreter costs, night court program–deleted from Toronto program June 2008) and ability to account for the true cost of delivering the service can affect the results.
- Enforcement: This varies year-to-year based upon the enforcement agencies staffing complement and the prioritization of their resources and is beyond the control of Court Administration.
- Geographic Location: Municipalities that experience seasonal swings between permanent and seasonal residents (i.e. cottage country), border towns or those with 400 series highways going through them, have offences disproportionate to population or local demographics.
- Judiciary Controls: No transparent rationale for allocation of court time to municipal courts, i.e. Court Administration units are assigned Justices of the Peace and, based on the priorities of the day, Justices of the Peace are reassigned. This has the effect of reducing their availability to POA Court. Justices of the Peace are not accountable to Court Administration for efficient utilization of allocated court time.
Ottawa is unable to distinguish the work and cost required to process parking fines from all other POA charges and therefore results are not comparable and have been removed from the report (see PCRT222 and PCRT305T).