Non-criminal charges have decreased substantially in Orillia over the past five years.
The number of Provincial Offences Act (POA) charges laid in the city has decreased by 36 per cent on average between 2016 and 2021, with a high of 4,350 charges laid in 2016 and a low of 2,189 in 2021.
POA charges are non-criminal in nature and cover regulations across the Highway Traffic Act, the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, and the Liquor Licence Act, and more than 120 other acts issued primarily by the police.
The Orillia Police Services Board discussed the drop in local POA charges at its meeting Tuesday.
The issue was brought to the board’s attention in a letter from city CAO Gayle Jackson, and the board requested Insp. Coyer Yateman, Orillia OPP detachment commander, report back with a rationale for the drop in charges.
Yateman said traffic-related charges are down, while occurrences in general have risen over that time period.
“I did an analysis in terms of our history, the same timeframe from 2016 to 2021, and in the analysis it showed that we had an increased number of occurrences by 40 per cent in the City of Orillia,” he said. “We’re down 32 per cent in traffic-related charges (but) we’re up 40 per cent in occurrences.”
Yateman also pointed out some police responsibilities have shifted to the civilian side of law enforcement.
“There’s also some other aspects that come into play as well, where, prior to our collision reporting centre, an officer would investigate and lay charges for crashes. Now the collision reporting centre has civilian members investigate and charge,” he said.
“In 2016, 2017 ... I believe they had a Central Region Traffic Unit at the time that assisted the entire region. They did do a lot of traffic enforcement in this area.”