Regulatory amendment under the Provincial Offences Act ("POA"): adding alternatives to in-person service of POA summons on non-corporate defendants
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Provincial Offences Act
Summary of Proposal:
A summons is a document compelling an individual to attend court at a specified date and time.
While more minor offences can be dealt with through the ticketing process, the POA requires that defendants who are charged with more serious offences receive a summons to attend court to defend the charge. Witnesses can also be summoned to testify in court, as in other types of litigation.
• Provincial offences courts deal with offences made under federal law (e.g., Canada Shipping Act), provincial law (e.g., Highway Traffic Act, Environmental Protection Act) or municipal by-law offence.
Currently, in most cases, a summons must be served by "delivering it personally to the person to whom it is directed or, if that person cannot conveniently be found, by leaving it for the person at the person's last known or usual place of residence with an individual who appears to be at least sixteen years of age and resident at the same address."
The proposed regulation would amend section 26 of the POA to allow provincial offences officers to serve summonses by registered mail, courier, or email instead. If served by email, the service would only be effective if the recipient responded in writing, thereby confirming receipt. The regulation would also allow the officer, with consent, to serve the summons on the defendant's lawyer or paralegal. Section 39 of the POA provides that these methods of service would also be available to any person serving a witness summons.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The proposed regulation would allow summonses to be served more efficiently, while minimizing health risks to enforcement officers and members of the public by eliminating in-person contact.
Service by registered mail, courier, or email would save significant time as compared with travelling to effect service at the recipient's location. The ability to serve on a recipient's lawyer or paralegal, where one is available and consents to receive it, will also permits efficiencies in the charging process while still ensuring that the recipient receives the required information.
Any cost associated with paying for registered mail or courier services would be more than offset by savings in time spent completing personal service. There are no administrative costs to business associated with this proposal.
March 29, 2021
Comments Due Date:
April 12, 2021
Ministry of the Attorney General
Operational Support Branch
720 Bay Street, 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2S9