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Ontario Court of Justice – Summary Conviction Offences              ;

In Canada, summary offences are usually referred to as summary conviction offences. Summary conviction offences are considered less serious than indictable offences because they are punishable by shorter prison sentences and smaller fines. These offences appear both in the federal laws of Canada and in the legislation of Canada’s provinces and territories. For summary conviction offences that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, section 787 of the Criminal Code of Canada specifies that, unless another punishment is provided for by law, the maximum penalty for a summary conviction offence is a sentence of 6 months of imprisonment, a fine of $5000 or both.

“Summary” means in a quick and simple manner. A judge hears summary conviction cases in provincial court. There is no choice of court, and the accused does not have a right to a jury trial. Usually, a person charged with a summary conviction offence is not arrested, but given the notice to appear in court on a certain date at a certain time. The person must be charged within six months of the offence. After this time a person cannot be charged with the summary conviction offence.

Provincial Offences Act matters

The Ontario Court of Justice hears virtually all provincial offences matters as well as offences against municipal by-laws. Examples of such cases include:

  • Highway Traffic Act charges such as speeding or traffic violations;
  • Municipal by-law charges relating to excessive noise, animal control, etc.; and
  • Charges laid under provincial legislation such as

  • the Environmental Protection Act, 
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act, 
  • Dog Owners’ Liability Act and
  • the Trespass to Property Act.

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