Operate Motor Vehicle Without Insurance

All motor vehicles driven on Ontario roadways are required to have a valid liability insurance.

No Insurance Traffic Tickets

The owner is responsible for insurance. Where the driver is not the owner they must produce evidence of valid insurance.


Operate Without InsuranceUnder the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario, it is a legal requirement for vehicle owners to have liability insurance for their motor vehicles when they are driven on public roads.

Where the driver is not the owner, the driver must produce evidence of valid insurance.  Where the driver is unable to produce valid insurance, the owner maybe requried by police to prove that the vehicle was insured.

Where the driver is not the owner and the vehicle is found not to be insured, the owner maybe charged with the offence of Permit Motor Vehicle to be Operated without insurance.

Owner Responsible

The owner of the vehicle is responsible that:

  • if their vehicle is being operated on the roadway, that
    • the vehicle is insured with liability insurance coverage,
      • whether or not they are actually driving the vehicle or not.

Where a vehicle is not insured, the owner must take reasonable precautions to ensure the vehicle is not operated on the roadway by other persons.

Where another person drives an uninsured vehicle on the roadway, the owner may be charged with Permit Operation of a Motor Vehicle Without Insurance.

Reverse Onus Charge

Driving a motor vehicle without insurance is deemed a “Reverse Onus” offence in Ontario.

This means that where a police officer finds a motor vehicle being driven on a roadway, the driver or owner must prove to the police officer that the vehicle is insured.

In such cases, it’s not the responsibility of the police to prove the absence of insurance. Instead, the owner must actively demonstrate they were insured while operating the vehicle.

This content is now written in Canadian English, with an active voice, a positive tone, and in straightforward, easy-to-understand sentences.


In Canada, the penalty for driving a vehicle without insurance is  $5,000 for the first offence. If you’re found guilty again, the fines double each time. Here’s how it works:

  • First Offence: Minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $25,000.
  • Subsequent Offences: Fines start at $10,000 and can go up to $50,000.

Typically, judges tend to double the minimum fine for each repeat offence. So, after a $5,000 fine, the next could be $10,000, then $20,000, and so on.

Additionally, there’s a Victim Fine Surcharge of 20% added to any fine imposed. This surcharge supports a  fund aiding victims of crime. For instance, a $5,000 fine would include an additional $1,250 surcharge, and a $10,000 fine would have a $2,500 surcharge.

Licence Suspensions

When a vehicle owner is found guilty under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act in Canada, the judge has the discretion to suspend the driver’s licence.

This suspension can last for a period of up to one year. The judge’s decision to suspend a licence typically depends on the severity of the offence and any previous violations.

The aim of such a suspension is to reinforce the importance of adhering to the law, specifically regarding the requirement for automobile insurance.

The suspension serves as a significant deterrent, emphasizing the legal responsibility of vehicle owners to insure their vehicles. It also highlights the risks and potential consequences of driving without insurance, not just in terms of fines but also in terms of losing the privilege to drive.

This policy is in place to ensure road safety and protect all road users by making sure that all vehicles operating on public roads are adequately insured.

Plate Seizure & Vehicle Removal

Where a police officer finds a vehicle being driven on the roadway without liability insurance, the police officer may seize the licence plates and remove the vehicle from the road.

This action is necessary because, to legally operate on a roadway the vehicle must be:

  • Properly licensed,
  • Deemed safe for road use, and
  • Covered by liability insurance.

Without insurance the vehicle is not allowed to be operated on the roadway. The officer may seize licence plates where the licence plates are not authorized for use on the vehicle.

Insurance Implications

If a driver in Canada is convicted of violating the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, this conviction can significantly impact future applications for insurance.

Insurance companies often view such a conviction as a sign of deception or dishonesty. Where the driver doesn’t follow the rules.  This perception holds even in cases where the lapse in insurance coverage was accidental or due to a misunderstanding.

The conviction suggests to insurers that the individual may not be fully committed to adhering to legal and financial responsibilities related to driving. Consequently, obtaining liability insurance after such a conviction can become more  potentially more expensive.

Demerit Points

Operating a motor vehicle without insurance does not result in demerit points.

Similarly, no demerit points are assigned for any convictions under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.

Legal Definition

Compulsory automobile insurance

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.


(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), where a permit for a motor vehicle has been issued under subsection 7 (7) of the Highway Traffic Act,

“contract of automobile insurance”, with respect to that motor vehicle, means a contract of automobile insurance made with an insurer.


(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.

Justice to secure possession of driver’s licence

(4) Where a justice makes a conviction under subsection (3) and the driver’s licence of the person convicted is suspended by the justice, the justice shall take the driver’s licence and forward it to the Registrar.

Police officer may secure possession

(5) Where a driver’s licence is suspended under this section and the person to whom the suspension applies refuses or fails to surrender his or her licence to the justice forthwith, any police officer may, and upon the direction of the Registrar shall, take possession of the licence and forward it to the Registrar.


(6) Every person who fails or refuses to surrender his or her driver’s licence when required by a police officer under subsection (5) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $200.

Impounding motor vehicle

(7) In the event of a conviction under subsection (3), the justice may order that the motor vehicle,

(a) that was operated in contravention of subsection (1);

(b) for which a false statement in respect of insurance was made in contravention of subsection 13 (11); or

(c) for which an insurance card was produced in contravention of clause (3) (b),

shall be seized, impounded and taken into the custody of the law for a period of not more than three months.

Cost of storage

(8) All costs and charges for the care and storage of the motor vehicle are a lien upon the motor vehicle that may be enforced in the manner provided by the Repair and Storage Liens Act.

Ontario Traffic Tickets logo