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FAQ – Continuity of Administrative Functions during POA Court Closures

 

  • Did the order for extension under section 85 of the Provincial Offences Act (POA) include the filing of Part I offences?

The POA Extension Order pursuant to s. 85 did not extend the time for the filing of Part I offences. Section 85 cannot be used to extend the timelines for the commencement of proceedings. Municipal court offices need to ensure that they are able to accept the filing of Certificates of Offence from enforcement agencies. 

  • What is required if the POA court is attached to a municipal building, which has been instructed to close by the municipality? 

If a municipality has ordered municipal buildings to temporarily close, the POA court should comply with those instructions. In these circumstances, POA courts should prioritize addressing urgent intake matters (e.g., search warrants, re-openings where the fine is already in default, extensions of time to pay where the fine is already in default), where possible.

Please notify your Regional Senior Justice of the Peace (RSJP), your Local Administrative Justice of the Peace (LAJP) and the Ministry of the Attorney General (at JUS.G.MAG.POASupport@ontario.ca) if your municipal building has been closed and you need to make alternate arrangements for intake court functions. 

  • What should a POA court do if a justice of the peace is not available to review intake matters? 

Please discuss the review of intake matters with your RSJP and LAJP. If a justice of the peace is unavailable, please notify your RSJP, LAJP and the and the ministry (at JUS.G.MAG.POASupport@ontario.ca)

  • How should POA courts process affidavits that require a defendant to swear/affirm before a commissioner of oath in the application (e.g., re-opening applications)? 

POA courts should prioritize processing urgent intake matters, such as re-opening applications where the fine is already in default. 

The Chief Justice’s order pursuant to s. 85 extended the timelines for applying for a reopening (s. 11), when a fine is due (s. 66) and when a fine goes into default (s. 69). As a result, unless the defendant’s fine went into default prior to March 16, 2020, the application for a reopening is not considered urgent. 

For these non-urgent matters, if a commissioner is unavailable, the defendant may need to be directed to return and complete the affidavit when the court is fully operational, or they can retain their own lawyer/notary to commission the document.  

 

  • Do Part III statements need to be given to a justice of the peace within a certain timeframe? 

There is no set timeline for delivering the statement and the information to a Justice of the Peace, however it could impact the limitation for laying an offence. 

If the enforcement officer is concerned about a delay affecting the limitation period (i.e., they are laying the information within a day or two of the expiry of the limitation period for the offence), they should be directed to lay the information in person before a Justice of the Peace.   

The court office can work with the local RSJP or LAJP to determine the best manner and frequency to deliver these to a justice of the peace for review. 

  • Are POA appeals being heard during this time? 

POA appeals are not being heard during this time. The matter will be adjourned on its scheduled appearance date. There is no need for parties to attend. Parties should contact the criminal courthouse hearing the appeal for information about the new date for hearing the appeal. 

  • What are the next steps if someone in the courthouse (e.g., staff, a member of the public, etc.) tests positive for COVID-19 and has been present in the POA courthouse?

You should be following the direction of your local Medical Officer of Health. Should this situation arise, please notify and consult your RSJP, LAJP and the ministry (at JUS.G.MAG.POASupport@ontario.ca)

ICON 

Please note that these are ICON guidelines and each process may vary depending on previous updates and the status of the case.

  • Where is the RV code entered on the ICON Request for Trial screen?

The RV code is entered in the appearance type field on the Request for Trial screen (ISRFT).  More detailed information regarding this process can be found in POAIB 182, issued in August 2011. 

  • Will the Notice of Trial be updated to contain new wording to identify that it is a revised Notice of Trial? 

A new Notice for the RV appearance will read ‘Revised Trial Notice’ if an RV appearance has been scheduled.

  • If the RV code doesn’t work.  How do I process this case?

The RV code can only be used for Part I offences if the scheduled date is the first date. If the matter was previously adjourned to that date, this process can not be used.  

To move this case, access the last court date through the Count Disposition screen (ISCDS) and make the adjustment to the next appearance date. Alternatively, you could access the Count Court Dates screen (ISCCD) screen to update the next court appearance. For these processes, staff must complete a manual Notice of Trial. A fillable version of the Notice of Trial is available on the POA Information Services website.

  • Can I use the Revised Trial Date Process to reschedule Early Resolution (ER) matters?

The Revised Trial Date process can only be used for trial matters. For ER matters, courts should delete the future meeting date and then process a new date through the ISRFT screen.  A new meeting notice will be generated and can be printed to send to the defendant.

  • Will Fail to Respond (FTR) dockets continue to print?

FTR dockets will continue to print. POA courts should not be processing these dockets at this time.  

The Provincial Offences Act Extension Order pursuant to section 85 includes the Deemed not to Dispute provision (s. 9(1)(a)). This Order extends the time a defendant has to exercise an option if they are served with an offence notice. The extension is to April 23, 2020.

We are continuing to evaluate the situation and if further closures are ordered we will determine all necessary ICON changes to assist POA courts.

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