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Is it a Crime to Drive Without Car Insurance?

It is an offence under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario to drive in Ontario without car insurance, however it is not a criminal offence (an offence contained in the Criminal Code of Canada). Driving with no insurance is taken quite seriously in Ontario.

Pursuant to the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario, no owner of a motor vehicle shall operate or permit that vehicle to be operated without valid insurance.

Section 2 of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act reads as follows:

2.  (1)  Subject to the regulations, no owner or lessee of a motor vehicle shall,

(a) operate the motor vehicle; or

(b) cause or permit the motor vehicle to be operated,

on a highway unless the motor vehicle is insured under a contract of automobile insurance.

The punishment for driving with no insurance is set out in section 3 of the Act which states:

(3)  Every owner or lessee of a motor vehicle who,

(a) contravenes subsection (1) of this section or subsection 13 (11); or

(b) surrenders an insurance card for inspection to a police officer when requested to do so, purporting to show that the motor vehicle is insured under a contract of automobile insurance when the motor vehicle is not so insured,

is guilty of an offence and is liable on a first conviction to a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $25,000 and on a subsequent conviction to a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $50,000 and, in addition, his or her driver’s licence may be suspended for a period of not more than one year.

As such, the penalties for driving without insurance can be summarized as follows:

  • 1st conviction – minimum $5,000 fine, maximum $25,000 fine.
  • 2nd or subsequent conviction – minimum $10,000 fine, maximum $25,000 fine.
  • Pursuant to the Provincial Offences Act, a 25% victim fine surcharge is added to the fine imposed by the Court. A $5,000 dollar fine would incur a $1,250 victim fine surcharge and a $50,000 fine would incur a $12,500 victim fine surcharge.
  • In addition to the above fines, your drivers license may also be suspended for a period of up to 12 months.
10 Sep 2014

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