Provincial offences are quasi-crimes or regulatory offences in that they are violation of laws enacted to regulate individual conduct for the protection of society as a whole and they are prosecuted by the Crown as an agent of the state; however, unlike actual criminal offences such as those found in the Criminal Code, upon conviction of a provincial offence a person avoids establishing a criminal record.
The Provincial Offences Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33, provides the procedural law that guides the process by which offences within numerous substantive law statutes are prosecuted. The range in matters falling under the purview of provincial offences is very broad and may include charges for violation of the Highway Traffic Act, Environmental Protection Act, Building Code Act, municipal by-laws or other quasi-criminal matters.
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