Tickets and fines

What is the maximum number of tickets someone can receive?
There is no maximum number of tickets a vehicle can receive. A ticket will be issued to the registered plate owner each time their vehicle exceeds the speed limit in an ASE-enforced school zone or community safety zone. Speed limits are not guidelines – they are the law, and the best way to avoid receiving a ticket is to comply with the speed limit.


How are ASE tickets processed?
After the ASE system captures an image of the vehicle exceeding the speed limit, the image is stored and sent to a processing centre. The image is then reviewed by a provincial offences officer with the ticket, which contains a digitized copy of the image and an enlargement of the plate portion, mailed to the registered vehicle plate holder. On conviction, the only penalty is a fine – no demerit points are applied.


What are the fines associated with an ASE ticket?
Tickets issued for speeding when detected through the use of ASE clearly indicate the set fine, which is determined by the Chief Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice and is specific to the rate of speed over the speed limit that the vehicle was travelling at the time the image was taken. For more information regarding set fines, please refer to the Ontario Court of Justice. The total payable indicated on the ticket includes the set fine, court costs and the victim fine surcharge, which is credited to the provincial victims’ justice fund account.


Will a ticket affect my insurance?
While tickets issued will not result in the imposition of demerit points, the reality is that a speeding ticket – whether issued by a police officer or through the use of ASE – could potentially affect your insurance. This is a matter for your insurance company. The best way to avoid any increase in your insurance premium due to speeding is to abide by the posted speed limit.


Will ASE tickets affect driver/owner records such as demerit points?
No. Since the ticket is issued to the registered plate holder and not the driver, no demerit points can be applied.


What will happen to the revenue collected?
Fine revenue, minus certain remittances to the province, is retained by the municipality. For each fine payment, the municipality must remit the victim fine surcharge portion as well as court and certain other costs, such as the cost of adjudication, to the province. The municipality retains the net fine revenue, if any, after remittances and municipal costs. Most municipalities across Ontario have road user safety education or communications programs to which municipal revenues can be directed.


Will municipalities benefit from the profit generated by ASE?
ASE isn’t about profit. Even if there was a surplus of revenue over expenses, those funds could be reinvested into the program or other safety initiatives. The reality is that municipalities will likely be operating at a loss in terms of the ASE program.


Is ASE simply a revenue-generating tool?
ASE is about safety – period. The system will only operate in school zones and community safety zones. Municipalities across Ontario have been collecting speed data in their communities, data that is now being used to identify locations where speed is an issue to help ensure ASE is used efficiently and effectively and aligns with police enforcement. Furthermore, speed limits are not guidelines – they are the law. Complying with the posted limit will ensure that a ticket is not issued. Greater compliance means less tickets issued and therefore less revenue generated.


Who reviews the image before a ticket is issued to the registered plate holder of the offending vehicle?
Every image captured is reviewed by a provincial offences officer at a processing centre. Images are only captured by the ASE system when a vehicle is detected travelling above the posted speed limit. A provincial offences officer then reviews the image and lays a charge when the image proves that the vehicle was speeding and the plate holder (owner) is identified.


How will privacy for the information collected by the ASE system be maintained?
The data collected by the ASE system is encrypted and stored on a secure device, then transported to a processing centre in a locked container. Only a provincial offences officer has the key to the locked container and only the ASE image processing software can use the encrypted data. Once the data has been downloaded, all recorded data on the storage unit is erased.


What if the license plate is damaged and the license plate cannot be captured?
Provincial offences officers review each image generated by the ASE system.  Only when sufficient evidence exists will this lead to the issuance of an Offence Notice.  This includes the ability to clearly identify the vehicle license plate and the corresponding vehicle owner.


What will happen to plate holders who cover or hide their plates in order to avoid their license plate being captured by ASE?
According to Section 13 of the Highway Traffic Act, license plates must be kept free from dirt and obstruction.


Is the ticket issued to the driver of the vehicle?
No. A ticket is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle, which is served by mail to the plate holder at the last known address on file with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Tickets are expected to arrive within 30 days or less of when the violation occurs.


How will someone be notified of an offence?
The ticket is sent to the registered plate holder by mail.


If someone receives a ticket, what is the process? What are their options?
If someone receives a ticket, the options will be included in more detail on the ticket. However, the three basic options are:

  1. Pay the fine according to the instructions outlined on the ticket.

  2. Request to attend court to plead not guilty and have a trial.

  3. Request to attend court to plead guilty and request a longer time to pay.

It is important to note that if one of the options is not exercised within 15 days of receiving the notice, it will be deemed that the registered plate holder does not wish to dispute the charge and a justice may enter a conviction. Upon conviction, additional costs will be added to the total payable indicated on the ticket. If the fine goes into default an additional administrative fee will be added and the information may be reported to a collection agency. This may affect the person’s ability to renew their vehicle permit or their permit could be refused until the ticket and all additional charges are paid.


If someone pleads guilty to an ASE offence, will they receive demerit points against their driver’s license?
No. Since the ticket is issued to the registered plate holder of the vehicle and not the driver, no demerit points will be applied.


How will Ontario’s court system handle the new charges associated with ASE?
All ASE speeding tickets will be processed through the Provincial Offences Court, the same as any other speeding or traffic-related offence.


Why does the registered plate holder receive the ticket instead of the person who was driving when the ticket was issued?
Like failing to stop for a red light when detected by a red light camera system, or parking infractions, legislation – known as owner liability – does not allow for the capture of images of individuals who are driving though ASE-enforced school zones and community safety zones. Therefore, given restrictions on capturing images of individuals, including vehicle passengers, owner liability results in the registered plate holder receiving the ticket.


If the ticket goes to the registered plate holder, what about people who lease or rent cars?
Like toll charges, most rental agreements include a clause that enables rental agencies to pass any fines incurred along to the driver, sometimes with an additional administration fee.


Can an emergency vehicle receive a ticket?
Yes, since the ASE system is automated, it is triggered by any vehicle exceeding the speed limit in a school zone or community safety zone. Emergency vehicles must comply with the provisions of the Highway Traffic Act regarding exceeding the speed limit (see Section 128).

PROSECUTION FAQs:

Are you sure that there are no demerit points?
Yes. Convictions for owner liability offences in Ontario, such as the failure to stop for a red light when detected through the use of a red light camera system or speeding when detected through the use of an automated speed enforcement system do not, by law, fall under the demerit point system. The only penalty is monetary. The failure to pay the fine is enforced through plate denial.


What are the penalties?
On the offence notice (ticket) that is mailed to the owner of the motor vehicle, there is a total payable. This consists of the set fine, which is based on the rate of speed over the speed limit, and the victim fine surcharge and $5 court costs. Set fines are established by order of the Chief Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice and can be viewed on the Ontario Court of Justice web site. Separate set fines apply if the offence was committed in a community safety zone – effectively the regular set fine is doubled. Neither set fines for speeding or for speeding in community safety zones have been increased because of ASE and, as a result, the fines are the same whether charged by a police officer or charged as a result of ASE.


What are the penalties if I am convicted at trial?
If you are convicted at trial, the set fine no longer applies. The actual penalties in the Highway Traffic Act apply and these allow for fines to be imposed that are higher than the set fines.


What about insurance consequences?
The insurance consequences, if any, are between you, as the vehicle owner, and your insurance company.


Shouldn’t I ask for a trial just to see if the officer shows up?
Unlike a traditional speeding charge, there is no officer to give evidence. The prosecution proves the allegation that the vehicle was exceeding the speed limit through the use of certified statements and the certified image, including the data box setting out the offence information.


What evidence will be used by the prosecution at my trial?
At your trial, the prosecutor will tender the certified statement of the provincial offences officer, the certified proof of ownership of the motor vehicle and certified copies of the image or picture of the vehicle exceeding the posted speed limit and a certified copy of an enlargement of the plate portion of that image or picture.


I wasn’t the driver – isn’t that a defence?
No. In Ontario, speeding when detected through the use of an automated speed enforcement system is an owner liability offence. Only the owner of the motor vehicle – the licence plate holder – can be charged and convicted.


It wasn’t my vehicle.
If you have evidence that the licence plate information set out in the offence notice ( ticket) that you received, and visible in the image on the offence notice,  is not your vehicle you should request a meeting with the prosecutor to provide that information to them. Please note that it is the owner as of the date of offence according to the records of the Ministry of Transportation and not the date that you received the offence notice.


I wasn’t speeding – isn’t that a defence?
If you have evidence that you were operating the motor vehicle at the time and that you were not exceeding the posted speed limit, then you may wish to request a trial. At the trial, you will be required give testimony under oath or affirmation.


I did not see a speed limit sign.
It is irrelevant whether you saw the speed limit sign. Drivers are presumed to be focused on driving and, as a result, to see signs that are posted along roadways. If the speed limit is posted the speed limit applies whether or not you saw it.


I did not see a community safety zone sign.
It is irrelevant whether you saw the sign. Drivers are presumed to be focused on driving and, as a result, to see signs that are posted along roadways. If the zone is posted as a community safety zone it is a community safety zone and the increased penalties apply whether or not you saw the sign.


I did not see a warning sign.
There are no warning signs. Sites where ASE is in use have signs posted in advance indicating that ASE is in use. Such signs are for information only. The presence – or absence – of any such signs is irrelevant as to whether the vehicle was exceeding the speed limit.


I did not see the sign indicating that ASE is in use.
It is irrelevant whether you saw the sign. Drivers are presumed to be focused on driving and, as a result, to see signs that are posted along roadways.  Sites where ASE is in use have signs posted in advance indicating that ASE is in use. Such signs are for information only. The presence – or absence – of any such signs is irrelevant as to whether the vehicle was exceeding the speed limit.


The image on the offence notice isn’t that clear – won’t the matter just be dropped?
No. The digitized print of the image on the offence notice is just that – a print. At your trial a certified copy of the actual photograph or image that is 8 x 10 in size will be tendered in evidence, along with a certified copy of the enlargement of the plate portion, by the prosecutor.


How do I get the actual photograph?
If you requested a trial and received a Notice of Trial, you can request disclosure from the prosecution office. The prosecution office will provide you with a copy of the photographs that will be tendered as exhibits at your trial. The prosecutor will have the certified copies of the photographs.


Thanks for the enlargement but the prosecutor cannot use it to prove that was my vehicle.
The law allows the prosecutor to use both the certified copy of the image or photograph and the certified copy of the enlargement at trial to prove that it was, in fact, your vehicle.


How do I get the certified statement of the officer?

You can obtain a copy of the Certificate of Offence that contains the certified statements of the officer by attending in person at the court location indicated on your Offence Notice and requesting a copy of the Certificate of Offence from the court staff. 


It wasn’t my vehicle.
Ministry of Transportation vehicle ownership records are searched to determine who the registered plate holder or owner of the vehicle was on the date of offence. In Ontario, the law provides for plate-to-owner liability. If the licence plate is registered in your name, you are liable for the ticket.


I am requesting a trial because there was another vehicle in front of/behind/ next to me.

The ASE system marks the motor vehicle that was speeding and for which it recorded the data and captured the picture. That mark is authorized by law and is obvious in the image. If it was a different vehicle that was exceeding the speed limit, your vehicle would not be marked by the system.


The officer who signed the ticket wasn’t even there.

The use of automated enforcement systems does not require that a police or other officer be present. The requirements for an ASE system are set out in law. It is a device which accurately captures and records a motor vehicle that is exceeding the posted speed limit. Proof of the offence includes the image or picture as well as certified statements setting out the specific detail.


There is no way that the officer knows anything about the location.

The provincial offences officer who issued the offence notice and completed the certificate of offence reviewed images of the location as well as the applicable by-laws designating the location as a school or community safety zone as well as the applicable speed limit for that location.


There is no way that the device is accurate. That was not my speed.

The law with regard to the ASE system requires that there be a certificate of accuracy for the device within 12 months of the date of the offence. The accuracy of the speed measurement is verified every 12 months. To challenge the accuracy of the speed measurement, for example, you would need to have evidence to the contrary to present under oath or affirmation at your trial. 


What is the certificate of accuracy?

Once every twelve months the accuracy of the speed measurement component of each ASE device is tested to ensure that the speed measurement component is accurate. The facility doing the testing certifies that the device is accurate. The officer issuing the charge must first verify that there is a certificate of accuracy for the device issued within 12 months of the date of the offence.


How do I get a copy of the certificate of accuracy?

Certificates of accuracy for ASE systems are available on the City of Toronto web site as well as other municipal web sites. The certificates are available to anyone to view. As the certificates of accuracy are publically available, a copy will only be provided to you by the prosecution, if you have requested a trial, in the rare instance the certificate was not otherwise available. Prosecutors have the option to direct you to a web site to view the certificate of accuracy instead of providing you with a copy.


I am going to have a trial as I know that photo radar was outlawed.

It is correct that the use of photo radar was discontinued in Ontario in 1994. The government has enacted provisions in the Highway Traffic Act to permit the use of automated speed enforcement in community safety and school zones. As a result, the use of ASE is permitted by law.