What Are Regulatory Offences?
Regulatory offences are crimes created under provincial laws, which differ from province to province. Conversely, criminal offences are crimes created under federal laws (i.e. the Criminal Code of Canada), and thus apply equally throughout Canada. Regulatory offences are prosecuted under the Provincial Offences Act (POA) in the Ontario Court of Justice, and are generally far less serious in nature than criminal offences.
Although you do not receive a criminal record upon conviction of a regulatory offence, the consequence can still be quite drastic. Penalties often involve substantial monetary fines or probation orders, and in some cases can include jail time. Regulatory offences should not be taken lightly, as they may have a real and substantial effect on your life, even when the actual penalty is marginal. For example, fines for careless driving may only be a few hundred dollars, but they may increase your insurance rates by thousands of dollars and possibly result in the loss of your driver’s license. For these reasons, it is important that you consult a lawyer before making any decisions with respect to your case.
Examples Of Regulatory Offences
Daniel Freudman represents clients charged with regulatory offences under legislation including but not limited to the following:
Highway Traffic Act (HTA)
The HTA regulates the conduct of those who drive on Ontario roads. Fines under the HTA can be as high as $50,000, and motorists can also receive jail time for offences such as careless driving or failing to pull over when signalled by police. Other examples of offences under the HTA include:
- Failure to wear a safety belt
- Driving without a valid license
- Careless driving
- Stunt driving
The Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act also makes it an offence for failing to have insurance while operating a motor vehicle. This offence carries a minimum fine of $5,000 on first conviction, and $10,000 on a subsequent conviction.
Liquor License Act (LLA) and Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA)
The LLA regulates the use and sale of alcohol, and applies both to individuals and corporations. The LLA makes it an offence to be intoxicated in a public place or to carry an open bottle of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Persons convicted of regulatory offences under the LLA may be subject to a maximum fine of $100,000 and a year jail time.
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act regulates the use and sale of tobacco products. The SFOA makes it an offence to sell tobacco to persons under the age of 19, or to display tobacco products in a place where such products are sold.
Other Provincial Legislation
Environmental Protection Act (EPA)- regulates the actions of persons in charge of pollutants.
Trespass to Property Act (TPA)- penalizes illegal or unauthorized entry into private and public property.
Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)- protects workers from health and safety hazards at the workplace.
Fire Protection and Prevention Act (FPPA)- regulates fire codes and safety regulations.