The Municipal Ticket Information system (also referred to as MTI or municipal ticketing) enables the prosecution by local governments of minor to medium contraventions of local government bylaws.
Municipal ticketing can be used by municipalities, regional districts and also applies to local trust committees of the Islands Trust under the Community Charter, Local Government Act and the Islands Trust Act. The City of Vancouver is authorized to use a form of municipal ticketing provided in the Vancouver Charter.
Municipal Ticket Information System
In its design, the municipal ticket information system resembles a provincial violation ticket. An enforcement officer can certify the allegation and deliver the ticket to the alleged offender without first visiting a provincial court justice to swear the information and obtain a summons. The alleged offender may then choose to admit to the offence and pay the penalty without appearing in court.
Municipal Ticketing Bylaw
In order to use municipal ticketing, a local government must first adopt a bylaw that lays out the key elements of how ticketing will work in that jurisdiction. This is usually done in a comprehensive bylaw that identifies:
- Which offences are subject to municipal ticketing
- Who can issue the municipal ticket for each offence
- What penalties may be imposed for each offence
The Community Charter Bylaw Enforcement Ticket Regulation provides certain limitations on the:
- Authority to designate bylaw contraventions that are subject to ticketing
- Classes of individuals who may issue tickets
- Maximum penalties that may be imposed by a ticket
Bylaw Contraventions Not Subject to Ticketing
Under the Community Charter Bylaw Enforcement Ticket Regulation, local governments may not enforce bylaws establishing motor vehicle speed limits or regulating the discharge of firearms through the municipal ticketing information system. In the case of speed limits, police may issue a provincial violation ticket, which ensures that penalty points associated with this infraction are applied. For the discharge of firearms, prosecution under the Offence Act ensures that the alleged offender must appear before a judge in order to resolve the charge.
Issuing a Ticket
A local government council or board may allow one or several classes of persons, such as police officers, bylaw enforcement officers or local assistants to the fire commissioner, to issue tickets for any given contravention. This means that individuals with specialized knowledge of the bylaw in question may be authorized to apply that knowledge in the investigation and issuing of a ticket.
The penalty established for any contravention enforced through ticketing may not exceed $1,000 -- the current maximum penalty permitted under the Community Charter Bylaw Enforcement Ticket Regulation. The penalty is the amount that must be paid to avoid an appearance in court or a deemed conviction. If the ticket is disputed, the justice hearing the case may impose a lesser fine if there are mitigating circumstances.
For a general ticket, Form A, established in the Bylaw Enforcement Ticket Regulation, provides the front of all copies of the ticket, Form A.1 provides the back of the copy that the local government will provide to the court and Form A.2 provides the back of the alleged contravener’s copy.
For a motor vehicle-related ticket, Form B provides the front of all copies of the ticket, Form B.1 provides the back of the copy that the local government will provide to the court and Form B.2 provides the back of the alleged contravener’s copy.
Forms B.3 and B.4 provide both sides of the demand notice that may be left on the windshield of a vehicle and later completed with the details of the registered owner of the vehicle.
Responding to a Ticket
Upon being served with a ticket, which may be personally delivered or left at a person's place of residence with someone who appears to be at least 16 years of age, a person has 14 calendar days in which to pay the fine amount specified on the ticket and accept liability for the offence, or notify the local government that they wish to dispute the ticket.
Instructions for how to provide this notice must be printed on the ticket (Forms A.2 or B.2). The local government may establish an incentive for early payment by specifying one fine amount if the ticket fine is paid within 30 calendar days, and another fine amount if the ticket fine is paid after that period.
Disputed municipal tickets are referred by the local government to the provincial court for hearing. Upon referral, the clerk of the court issues a notice of a hearing that sets the time and place for the hearing, and notifies both the local government and the disputant.
The penalties associated with a municipal ticket information do not place the alleged contravener in jeopardy of imprisonment, and the fine amounts are relatively small, therefore the presiding justice has some flexibility to hear a wider range of relevant, credible and trustworthy testimony as evidence and to adopt procedures that speed the fair conclusion of the hearing.
If a person has indicated that they wish to dispute the allegation and fails to attend the hearing, the justice must review the ticket and convict the person in their absence and impose the penalty if the ticket appears to be in order. A person convicted in their absence who was not at fault for missing the hearing, may apply to the court for a time extension under limited circumstances. This appearance may be in writing, based on an affidavit (Form C) submitted attesting to the reasons for failing to respond or appear.
Failing to Respond to a Ticket
If a person fails to respond to the ticket at all, neither paying the fine nor notifying the local government that they want to dispute, the local government may submit the ticket to the court for consideration by a justice. The justice must review the ticket and convict the person in his or her absence and impose the penalty if the ticket appears to be in order.