Can I have my provincial offences trial in French?

These French language rights are available in all court proceedings, including your provincial offence hearing or trial:

  • you’re allowed to file your court documents in French
  • you have the right to ask the court to translate the Reasons for Judgement or any other document filed with the court into either French or English, at no cost to you

If you live in Ontario and speak French, you have the right to have your provincial offence proceedings in French. Provincial Offences Court deals with matters such as traffic tickets, speeding tickets, trespass, and noise complaints. A provincial offence is not a “crime” under criminal law. You will not get a criminal record for a provincial offence. But you might get a fine and sometimes even jail time.

In a Provincial Offences proceeding, you also have the right to a bilingual jury in these areas in Ontario:

  • the counties of Essex, Middlesex, Prescott and Russell, Renfrew, Simcoe and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
  • the County of Welland as it existed on December 31, 1969
  • the territorial districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Nipissing, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timiskaming
  • the Municipality of Chatham Kent
  • the City of Hamilton, Ottawa, Greater Sudbury, or Toronto
  • the Regional Municipality of Peel

The law doesn’t use the words “French proceeding” or “French trial”. Instead, proceedings are referred to as bilingual proceedings.

You have the right to bilingual proceedings in all hearings in your provincial offences case, like motions, pre-trials, and conferences.

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