Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act amends the Provincial Offences Act

Please see the following communication from Tawnya Roberts, OFMEM

This impacts all AFM’s who utilize POA Part 1 Certificate of Offences you if you are not already aware; please share.

On July 21, 2020, Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020 received Royal Assent. Schedule 18 of the Bill amends the Provincial Offences Act (POA) to remove barriers to electronic delivery of documents and remote appearances in POA proceedings.

As a result of these amendments:

  • Provincial offences officers can now seek search warrants remotely in all cases, not only where it is impracticable to do so in person; and
  • Any court participant, including a witness, can attend any POA proceeding by electronic method (audio or video) made available by the municipal court office, unless a judicial official orders otherwise.

These amendments are effective July 21, 2020. Further details about the POA amendments can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90p33#top

In order to implement the amendments, municipal POA courts will need to temporarily supplement the information on the back of the provincial offence notice, also known as a ticket, to advise defendants of new options for responding to a ticket (e.g., by mail, email, or other electronic method established by the municipal court). This supplemental information will only be necessary until such time as appropriate amendments to the regulated offence notice can be made and new ticket books can be printed and distributed to enforcement agencies.

The Ministry of the Attorney General will be working to update regulated forms, including forms that are included in ticket books, as quickly as possible and no later than July 21, 2021.

The Ministry of the Attorney General’s website has been updated to notify members of the public of these important changes that will minimize the need to attend court in person and help keep people safe as courts gradually return to normal operations. However, we need the assistance of police services to ensure that every defendant knows they do not need to attend court in person to request a trial or early resolution meeting and are aware of any remote appearance options available to them.

Municipal POA courts have been asked to provide provincial offences officers with this supplemental information in the form of a flyer. Please ask police services for their assistance.

 

Tawnya Roberts
Operations Manager
Program Development and Analytics Unit
Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management
Ministry of the Solicitor General
Tel: 613-570-8296
Email: Tawnya.roberts@ontario.ca
Other: 1-800-565-1842

www.ofm.gov.on.ca; Fire Code Online; Building Code Online