PLO401 - Provincial Offences / Motor Vehicle Offences

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-05 11:33:50.864
Last review date 2018-07-16 00:15:00.988

Subject Title
Provincial Offences / Motor Vehicle Offences

Subject Description
The subject permits students to learn and apply their knowledge of the Provincial Offences Act to specific offences, with emphasis on motor vehicle offences and trials. Students develop research and analytical skills as well as a practical knowledge of trial procedures.

Credit Status
This is a credit course applicable to the Paralegal Certificate program through the Faculty of Continuing Education and Training.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1.      Distinguish between criminal and provincial offences through an understanding of provincial offences procedure as set out in the Provincial Offences Act, Courts of Justice Act and any other relevant legislation.
2.     Identify the key provisions of statutes, regulations and procedures that form the provincial offences system in Ontario, for example, Highway Traffic Act, Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, Liquor Licence Act, Environmental Protection Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Trespass to Property Act, Blind Persons' Rights Act, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, municipal by-laws.

3.     Understand the duties, obligations and powers of the police, Crown, provincial offences officers, lawyers and paralegals in the provincial offences system.

4.     Demonstrate an understanding of applicable investigatory powers, for example, search and seizure, investigation, questioning of suspects.
5.     Compare and contrast the different procedural streams, charging documents and processes under parts 1,2, and 3 of the Provincial Offences Act.
6.     Compare and contrast the three categories of offences: mens rea, strict liability and absolute liability.
7.     Demonstrate an understanding of judicial interim release/bail.
8.     Explain the consequences of various plea options available to a person changed with a provincial offence.
9.     Understand and analyze the elements of a provincial offences proceeding, including information, first appearance/arraignment, disclosure, pretrial motions, Charter applications, trial proper and appeal.
10.  Apply the rules of evidence in a provincial offences proceeding as they relate to such matters as:  types of evidence that may be introduced, methods of introduction, and required procedures for compelling attendance of a witness.
11.  Understand and explain the common offences under the Highway Traffic Act , such as  speeding, fail to stop, improper turn, following too closely, careless driving, fail to report, fail to remain, seatbelt violations, and the available defences to these, both procedural and substantive.
12.  Referring to sentencing provisions in the provincial offences system, analyze the applicable principles and purposes of sentencing.

13.  Research the offence provisions of various provincial statutes and relevant cases, with emphasis on the Highway Traffic Act.
14.  Using fact situations and simulations,  develop the skills required to represent a client in a provincial offences matter.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

All Modules One to Three  Courses

It is your responsibility to ensure that program requirements and course prerequisites as outlined are met. Prerequisites are included for your academic protection. Course content and your instructor's teaching assumes that students are academically prepared and instruction will proceed accordingly. Students lacking prerequisites not only jeopardize their own ability to succeed but present unnecessary interruption. If you lack appropriate prerequisites (or advanced standing for the prerequisite course) you may be asked to withdraw or transfer to a more appropriate course with the risk of academic/financial penalty.

Topic Outline
1. Introduction to the Provincial Offences Act, and the commencement of proceedings under the legislation.

2. Procedural issues in traffic offence trials including:

  • disclosure
  • technical challenges to the charging document
  • motions prior to plea and pleas
  • role of the judge, the prosecutor and the defence
  • time limitations on the prosecutions and the defence
  • young offenders in traffic court
  • the presentation of evidence
  • Charter & other constitutional issues

3. Introduction to the Highway Traffic Act and the related vehicle legislation

4. Procedural issues in traffic offence appeals.

5. Specific offences under the Highway Traffic Act including:
  • speeding
  • careless driving
  • fail to report
  • fail to remain
  • failure to wear a seat-belt
  • following too closely
  • fail to provide insurance
  • driving while suspended
  • failing to stop
  • turrning violations

6. Common defences

7. Sentencing in traffic cases and other provincial offences cases

8. Offences under the Liquor Licence Act

9. Offences under the Trespass to Property Act

10. Offences under the Blind Persons' Rights Act

Mode of Instruction
Students learn through interactive classroom lectures, discussion and group problem solving.

It is the student's responsibility to save documents, articles and notes that the instructor has provided on Blackboard or in class. Students will not be able to access Blackboard as of the last day of the student's class. 

Prescribed Texts
Jennifer Zubick, Steve Weir Provincial Offences for Paralegals, Higher Education Professional, 2013, ISBN# 978-1-55239-325-4

Reference Material

Promotion Policy

             Grading Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

Midterm Test 35%
Assignment 30%
Final Exam 35%

Materials permitted into tests and exams are at the discretion of the instructor.
Students must attain a grade of at least 50% to pass the course.

Please Note
  • Exams are evaluated on subject knowledge as well as correct language usage, organization, and mastery of the subject.
Absenteeism and Tests
  • Students should be aware that absenteeism will impact on their ability to achieve satisfactory grades.
  • If you miss a test, you must provide the reason in writing to the instructor prior to the next scheduled class. If your reason is accepted, you will be permitted to write a make-up test. Otherwise, you will be given a zero for the test. You must submit an original doctor’s certificate identifying the date, length of time of expected absence and the specific reason for your absence, or other appropriate documentation.

Academic Honesty

Students at Seneca College are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavours.  When students cheat on an examination, steal the words or ideas of another, or falsify their research results, it corrupts the learning process. A Seneca College degree, diploma or certificate signifies to society mastery of a set of defined learning outcomes in a designated field of study. If academic credit is obtained dishonestly, the value of every graduate's diploma in the field of study is diminished, as is the reputation of the college as a whole.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

The penalty for a first offence is a grade of '0' on the assignment or examination. The penalty for the second offence is expulsion for a time period determined by the Academic Honesty Committee, normally for a minimum of three terms. or further information refer to the policies section of the Seneca College student handbook, or to the following website:

Prior Learning Assessment
Please be advised that, in accordance with current Law Society of Ontario Paralegal Education Program Accreditation Policy guidelines (September, 2017, ss. 2.15 and 3.8), PLA for prior work experience is no longer permitted in any of the compulsory legal courses in the certificate program, including the field placement. All students, regardless of prior work-related training must fulfil the requirements of all components of the Paralegal Program.

Approved by: Sandra Noble