The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) has commenced a feasibility study with stakeholders, including the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), that will look at the potential benefits for the introduction of an online administrative monetary penalty system (AMPS), which could replace certain aspects of the existing court system that deals with traffic related Provincial Offences and Municipal infractions.
Under the AMPS concept, the person(s) or organization(s) charged would still have the option to pay or dispute the charges, however much of the process would be modernized through a web-based interface. The ministry asserts that any new system developed would need to be fair, effective and maintain the principles of procedural fairness, including the right to be heard before an unbiased decision-maker.
From OTA’s perspective, the question for owners of commercial vehicles is whether the movement to an online system would be of benefit or would serve as a hindrance to their ability to dispute Municipal or Highway Traffic Act offences. To address this question and to assist OTA in preparing a response to the Ministry of the Attorney General, OTA will be hosting a meeting on Tuesday April 7th (10 am to 12 noon) at its offices for member and non-member carriers to discuss this matter.
To aid in the discussion, carriers are asked to consider the questions below and come prepared to address the issues. This is an opportunity for carriers to plug themselves into the process, with a final goal towards providing the Ministry of the Attorney General sound guidance in their consideration of a modernized justice system.
- What benefits and challenges do you see in the current court system with regards to challenging: municipal offences (parking tickets), provincial offences issued by MTO officers (scale violations) and provincial offences issued by the OPP?
- What benefits and challenges do you see moving forward with an online system with regards to challenging: municipal offences (parking tickets), provincial offences issued by MTO officers (scale violations) and provincial offences issued by the OPP?
- What kind of infractions do you think could be fairly and appropriately addressed in an online legal system?
- If the first phase of the transition to an online system was to focus on traffic infractions, what should be included? What should be excluded?
- If you deal with a municipality that is currently using an online appeal system for parking infractions, please tell us about your experience. What did you like/dislike about the system?
- In general, what impact would such a have on your organization? What challenging implementation issues do you foresee?
As a second part to the meeting, after lunch (1 pm to 2 pm), OTA has arranged for MTO staff to provide a briefing on Bill 31 (Making Ontario’s Roads Safer). Bill 31, if passed, contains a number of measures that impact the trucking industry that may be of interest to carriers.
To register for the meeting please click here . If you are unable to attend the meeting please click here to submit your responses to the questions about the online judicial system (all responses will be kept confidential).
According to the Attorney General’s discussion paper circulated to stakeholders as a start to their feasibility study, the ministry is exploring a system that:
1. Takes place online, and provides essential educational and/or law related resources to help users understand and navigate provincial or municipal infractions;
2. Utilizes independent hearing officers, rather than judicial officers;
3. Directs as many straightforward infractions out of the courts as possible;
4. Resolves disputes through an informal, fair and accessible hearing process.
The ministry also highlighted:
- It will assess what kind of ticketable infractions could be captured within such a system;
- How a new system could use a phased-in approach; where offences like parking tickets would be introduced in the first phase and followed by other yet to be determined offences;
- That serious offences raising significant concerns about public safety and welfare would continue to be prosecuted as offences in the court system, and;
- That Ontario has not committed to moving to an AMPS system, but is seeking input on such a move.
For a complete copy of the Attorney General’s discussion paper click here.