The Prosecutors’ Association of Ontario (“PAO”) is an incorporated non-profit organization with a membership comprised of approximately 273 prosecutors from across Ontario who prosecute offences within the Ontario Court of Justice, Provincial Offences court. Formed in 1995, the PAO unites members who are employed or contracted by various prosecuting agencies, including provincial ministries, municipalities, transit authorities, conservation authorities, health departments and other agencies.
Our purpose is to provide a professional networking and training environment to promote excellence in the delivery of prosecution services in Ontario. We do this by holding annual spring training workshops (1 or 2 days), conducting an annual week-long training conference every fall, regular newsletters to members and hosting this website. In addition, the volunteer Board of Directors (elected annually from the membership) are regular speakers at events or conferences of other organizations supporting front-line enforcement, including police, fire departments and municipal law enforcement officers.
Our mandate includes working with justice partners with a view to improving the administration of justice as it relates to provincial offences. Consequently, proposed and new legislation and regulations which impact the prosecution of provincial offences are monitored and reported to our membership and from time to time the PAO will take a position and act as an advocate relating to POA matters. The PAO sits on several provincial committees, including the POA Policy Table at the Ministry of the Attorney General including the POA Streamlining and French Language Services sub-committees.
The Board of Directors is comprised of 13 volunteer positions. Four positions are open for re-election each year at the annual general meeting and any member in good standing may run for the Board. The executive is comprised of President, Immediate Past President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary. Directors also chair or sit on various committees of the Board which are: Education, Finance, Constitution, Legislative, Awards, Membership and Annual General Meeting committees. Members are invited to assist the Board from time to time and may become a member of a committee.
As a member, you will receive “The Disclosure” newsletter which includes updates on the law, new cases of interest and activities of the PAO including announcements and registration information for upcoming events and educational seminars. While the annual spring workshop is available for non-members (provided you are professionally involved in the enforcement or prosecution of offences), the week-long educational conference is for members only. The nominal annual cost for membership is immediately offset by the reduced member rate to attend the spring workshop.
The educational workshops and conferences provided by the PAO continue to be available at a very affordable price to employers and enjoy a well-deserved reputation of attracting excellent speakers and instructors, experts in their field, including judges, justices of the peace, counsel and senior prosecutors from across the province. The agenda is varied and always topical, with the most pressing issues of the day squarely addressed. Both veteran and beginner prosecutors come away a little (or a lot) wiser, with an expanded network of professional contacts and most importantly, a renewed pride in the role they play within the administration of justice. Renewed and refreshed, members evaluation forms tell us that the PAO educational events are invaluable to their practise.
Visit our Membership page for information on becoming a member, including instructions on applying and application forms.