CHALLENGING A FINE FOR NON-COMPLIANCE:
Even if you maintain a defensible position for operating a non-essential business during the lockdown, including demonstrating compliance with the new health and safety guidelines, a by-law officer or police officer may still issue a ticket to employees or businesses for non-compliance with the provincial lockdown order.
So far, in the CKL, there is no specific legal Court to challenge or dispute these tickets.
As a result, a business or individual will have to challenge a fine or other penalty issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act through Provincial Offences Court or, where available, municipal administrative bodies for municipal by-law offences related to COVID-19.
It may be possible in the CKL to request, if you were ticketed by a municipal by-law officer, an early resolution meeting with a prosecutor to resolve the matter without the need for a trial or request a trial at Provincial Offences Court.
It is hoped that the CKL will facilitate and encourage alternative dispute resolution for these types of offences.
Formal challenges to tickets and fines issued by by-law officers or police officers will likely not be heard until Provincial Offences Court resumes in-person hearings or commences virtual hearings.
This said, during this emergency period, the Province of Ontario has suspended limitation periods applicable to Ontario court matters retroactive to March 16, 2020 until the order is revoked, so in-person challenges will not likely be heard until the Courts re-open.
When Provincial Offences Court reopens and hears cases again, a ticketed business or individual can file an appeal for convictions within thirty days of the conviction date.