The following article was posted in response to a question of When Will Enforcement Start? Link at the end of the article.
I don’t know if you know this but you don’t even have to call the City. Many by-laws which create offences, create a provincial offence meaning that you personally can take action and lay an information (charge) directly to a Justice of the Peace at the Ontario Provincial Court (Near Algonquin College) at Baseline Station. (The Tall City Building down the path with the City Logo beside the Theatre)
Section 1 of the Provincial Offences Act defines the following: “offence” means an offence under an Act of the Legislature or under a regulation or by-law made under the authority of an Act of the Legislature; (“infraction”)
(This means, that a by-law can create an “offence” under the Provincial Offences Act (POA) which means you can use the POA and it’s sections to “enforce” a by-law.
“prosecutor” means the Attorney General or, where the Attorney General does not intervene, means the person who issues a certificate or lays an information and includes an agent acting on behalf of either of them; (“poursuivant”)
(This means that usually POA offences are initiated and pursued by the Attorney General (actually done by, or delegated to Crown Attorneys … ‘The Crown’)… then it says.. where the Attorney General does not intervene… meaning if the Crown does not pursue the charge, (by issuing a certificate, or laying an information) then it means the person who lays the information becomes the “prosecutor”. That means YOU!
Now moving on to the good part (Section 23 of the POA) See the section below
23. (1) Any person who, on reasonable and probable grounds, believes that one or more persons have committed an offence, may lay an information in the prescribed form and under oath before a justice alleging the offence and the justice shall receive the information. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33, s. 23 (1).
Section 23, Subsection (1) above actually shows or instructs that if you have reasonable and probable grounds (both reasonable and probable) to believe that someone (or more than one person) has committed an offence (violated a by-law) you can be the person who goes and tells a Justice of the Peace (not a Judge) at their desk in a private office, at the Provincial Offences Court near Algonquin College … that you believe an offence has been committed under article number X of by-law (name here). You do so by “laying an information” which just means you fill out the charging form (the prescribed form) called an “Information” or an “Information Form”, and bring your evidence or photos etc. and copies of the by-law or the section of the by-law that creates the offence into the Justice of the Peace so that you can explain the offence, show the law, and evidence, they will voice record you as you “lay the information”. The Justice of the Peace SHALL (must) at least hear you out and record your “Information” and you swearing that you are being truthful etc. Now to the part that tells the Justice of the Peace (Justice) what to do once you have laid the information (given the Information form to the Justice and swore and told your story, and presented your evidence in their office at a desk)
24. (1) A justice who receives an information laid under section 23 shall consider the information and, where he or she considers it desirable to do so, hear and consider in the absence of the defendant the allegations of the informant and the evidence of witnesses and,
(a) where he or she considers that a case for so doing is made out, (ii) issue a summons
This just means that once the Justice of the Peace has received the “Information” form or the charging document, they must then hear you out and recorded it all.. and review your evidence and that of any witneses you bring (photos, records/documents or people etc.) the Justice SHALL (aka MUST) consider the information and, if the justice considers that you have a case, shall issue a summons (another document to be served upon the offender(s)) according to the other sections of the POA which govern and direct how that is to be done etc.
So hopefully all this helps you realize that YOU can press charges directly anytime you see someone violating a by-law, especially if you call by-law and they don’t do anything about it.
Once you have done this, it is possible that the Crown Attorney will take over the case, or the Crown can intervene and “Stay” or kill the charges basically… or not intervene at all and allow you to proceed with the charges.
Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me. 613-709-3866 if you need any info on this procedure. I am not a lawyer, I have just conducted a private prosecution myself from start to finish so know the process.