On April 23, 2024, Council adopted the Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) By-law (24-021). AMPs are a tool available to municipalities to encourage by-law compliance, separate from traditional tickets. For more information, see the Council Highlight from April 23, 2024

Read on for frequently asked questions (FAQ) on AMPs:

Q: What are Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs)?

The AMP program, a newly adopted approach to By-law compliance in the Municipality of Mississippi Mills, is a fair, effective, and efficient program where violators of certain By-laws can be issued a Penalty Notice. Penalty Notices served will outline the infraction committed and the corresponding penalty, payable to the Municipality. As all aspects of the AMP program will be handled by the Municipality, residents can expect to experience a local and accessible dispute resolution system, flexible to meet the needs of residents. To start, the municipality will pilot the AMPs program for one year, then review its effectiveness. 

Q: How are AMPs different from traditional fines?

AMPs are a civil process available to municipalities to encourage by-law compliance – they are not criminal or quasi-criminal in nature and are not subjected to the courts (whereas traditional fines are). AMP revenue stays in the municipality, whereas revenue from fines issued under POA are shared with municipalities in the county. By moving towards an administrative review model using AMPs over traditional fines, the Municipality can encourage by-law compliance without the use of a punitive system tied to the provincial courts. 

Q: What gives the Municipality of Mississippi Mills the power to issue AMPs?

The Municipal Act (2001) grants authority to municipalities to issue AMPs. In 2017, the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act was passed to grant municipalities to issue AMPs for property standards by-law infractions. 

Q: What by-laws will be covered by AMPs during the one-year pilot period?

 During the one-year pilot period, the following By-laws will be covered under AMPs:

  1. Sewer Use By-law (By-law 18-92)

  2. Protection of Lot Grading and Drainage Features By-law (By-law 24-20)

Q: How much are the penalties?

For the pilot period, AMPs will only be issued for violations of the Sewer Use By-law (18-92) and the Grading By-law (24-20). Penalties for violations of these by-laws range between $200 and $500 for the first offence and up to $1,125 for the third offence. Please see the full AMPs By-law for a detailed list of violations and corresponding monetary penalties. 

Q: When must AMPs be paid?

AMPs are typically due 15 days after being issued unless a requested extension is granted. After the due date, a late fee of $50 will be applied. 

Q: What is the process of being issued an AMP and paying it?

Below is a brief summary of how the AMP By-law will be applied. For the full process, please see the By-law.

  1. Municipal staff identifies a violation. A Penalty Notice is issued to the violator. The receiver of the Penalty Notice has the right to request an extension to request a review of the violation, within 10 days of issue.

    • For certain violations, a warning will be issued, and property owners will be given 7 days to remedy the violation.

  2. The receiver of the Penalty Notice has the right to request a review of the violation, within 15 days of issue.

  3. The penalty is then payable as per instructions on the AMP notice. Do not pay the penalty to the issuing officer.

If the receiver of the Penalty Notice requests a review of their case, their case will be reviewed by a Screening Officer (first appeal). If the receiver further disagrees with the Screening Officer, they may have their case reviewed by a Hearing Officer (second and final appeal).

Q: How is a Penalty Notice issued?

For the pilot period, Penalty Notices will be issued by mail to the property owner. In the future, Penalty Notice may also be issued in other ways:

  • a copy is placed on or affixed in any manner to your vehicle, home or property;

  • a copy is handed to you;

  • a copy is delivered to your last known home address;

  • a copy is delivered to your last known FAX address; and

  • a copy is delivered to your last known email address. 

Q: How can I request a review or an extension of my Penalty Notice?

A request to review or extend a Penalty Notice must be made in writing to the Municipality with the following information:

  • the Penalty Notice number;

  • your mailing address, and if applicable, your FAX address and/or email address;

  • (in the case of a request to extend the time to request a review) your reason for requesting an extension; and

  • (in the case of a request to review) your argument against the Penalty Notice. 

Q: What if I disagree with the results of my review?

If you disagree with the results of the review by the Screening Officer, you may appeal again to have a Hearing Officer review your case, within 15 days of your first review. The Hearing Officer’s decision is final.

Q: Does it cost anything to request a review or extension?

To cover administrative costs and labour, a fee of $50 will be required to request a review by a Screening Officer (first appeal), and a fee of $200 will be required to request a review by a Hearing Officer (second and final appeal). There will be an additional fee of $100 if you fail to appear at your hearing.

Q: Why is the Municipality of Mississippi Mills using AMPs?

By issuing AMPs instead of traditional fines issued through Provincial Offences Act (POA), residents can expect faster processing times for issuing, appeals, and payment, compared to the congested court system. As AMPs do not use the courts, AMPs are not imposed based on criminal or quasi-criminal proceedings and are instead a civil mechanism. By adopting AMPs as an additional tool to encourage by-law compliance, the Municipality of Mississippi Mills is moving in line with other municipalities across the country. 

Q: Why are only a few by-laws selected for the pilot AMP program?

The municipality will review the amount of staff time required to administer AMPs, as well as their effectiveness. The goal is to encourage compliance with municipal by-laws while making the process fair, efficient, and effective for residents. 

Q: What will happen after the one-year pilot period?

After the one-year pilot period, Municipal Staff will review the AMP program's effectiveness and bring forward recommendations for Council to consider.

Q: What happens if I ignore my Penalty Notice and the due date passes? 

The Municipality will address unpaid Penalty Notices by adding the unpaid penalties to the violator’s Tax Roll.

Q: How do I tell if my Penalty Notice is real?

When in doubt, contact the Municipality for clarification.

Email: bylaw@mississippimills.ca

Phone: 613-256-2064

Fax: 613-256-4887

In-person: 3131 Old Perth Rd, Almonte ON, K0A1A0 (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on statutory holidays)

Disclaimer: this page is provided for information purposes only. Please see By-law 24-021 for the complete description of the Municipality’s AMP program. If you do not understand By-law 24-021, please consult your own licensed provider of legal services.