Permit Operation Without Insurance

About

Fail to Surrender Insurance CardUnder the Compulsory Insurance Act of Ontario before a vehicle maybe driven on the roadway, the owner must ensure that the vehicle is insured with a valid liability insurance policy.

Where the owner has not placed liability insurance on the motor vehicle the owner must ensure that:

  • the vehicle is no operated on the roadway
  • other persons do not have access to drive the vehicle, and that
  • the owner ensures that
    • the vehicle is not readily available
    • including the keys and any access to its use

Where a vehicle is operated on the roadway and it is determined that the owner did not take all reasonable steps to curtail its use, the owner maybe charged with permitting a motor vehicle to be operated without insurance, for example:

  • the keys were not available
  • the licence plates were removed
  • the vehicle was made inoperative-able

Reverse Onus

Charges under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act are considered a “Reverse Onus” offences.

Usually in any court hearing the defendant doesn’t have to prove their innocence, the prosecution has to prove them guilty in the first instance.

In a reverse onus, the responsibility is put upon the accused.

Subsequently, under the insurance act, the driver has to prove to the officer that they had valid insurance or that they took all reasonable steps to ensure the vehicle wasn’t operated, not that the police have to prove that they didn’t.


Insurance Implications

Where a driver is convicted of an offence against the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, the conviction will dramatically affect any new application for liability insurance.

The insurance companies perceive a conviction for permitting a vehicle to be operated without insurance, as a person who has been deceptive and dishonest.

Even if there was a mistaken lapse in insurance coverage, drivers must declare this conviction or any future claim would be void.


Fines

The out of court penalty for failing to surrender an insurance card is $5,000.

To this amount the court will add the victim fine surcharge of $1,250, for a total fine of $6,250.


What is the Victim Fine Surcharge?

  • The provincial government adds a victim fine surcharge (VFS) to every non-parking fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act.
    • It is deposited into a special fund to help victims of crime.
  • The amount of the VFS is usually 20 per cent of the imposed fine.
    • For example, a $100 fine would result in a $20 surcharge.
    • Fines over $1,000 carry a surcharge of 25 per cent.

Extending Fine Payments

Where a driver has been convicted of an offence and are unable to pay the fine a application maybe made to extend the time to pay.

Usually where the driver appears in court and is convicted the justice will ask the defendant how long they need to pay the fine.  The driver will usually be given at least 6 months to make the payment.

Where the driver requires more time, they must make an application to the court to extend the time to pay.

An Extension of Time to Pay application, must be made at the issuing court in writing on the prescribed forms.

In reviewing the extension the justice will consider:

  • the financial situation of the applicant
  • what has been paid on the fine previously
  • the amount of time requested

An extension of time to pay maybe set up whereupon the driver would make monthly affordable payments on the fine to avoid a licence suspension.

Where the fine is not paid and goes into default the court may suspend the licence until payment is received.


Penalties

The fine is the only penalty for a conviction of this offence.

Where a police officer finds a vehicle being driven on the roadway without valid liability insurance, the police officer can seize the licence plate and remove the vehicle from the roadway.

A vehicle to be operated on a roadway the vehicle must:

  • licensed
  • safe to be on the roadway
  • covered with liability insurance

Without insurance the vehicle is not allowed to be operated on the roadway.

Police officers may seize licence plates where the licence plates are not authorized for use.


Demerit Points

There are no demerit points for operating a motor vehicle without insurance.

Nor are there any demerit points for any conviction under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.


Suspensions

There is no licence suspension for any charge under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.

Any driver maybe suspended where any fine goes into default.

Where the licence is suspended for an unpaid fine, the licence will be suspended until the payment is made to the court.


Legal Definition

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.


Definition

(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.


Offence

(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.


Case Law

R. v. Kuzmanov, 2012 ONCJ 662 (CanLII)
2012-10-24 | 12 pages
vehicle — strict liability — keys — permission — offence – permit operation without insurance
[…] i. Permit Motor Vehicle to be operated without insurance contrary to section 2(1) (b) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, R.S.O. 1990 c. C. 25 which states: […] The key word in section 2(1) (b) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act is the word ‘permit’. […] 19. Justice Wake held that the wording of s. 2(1) (b) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act would suggest that it is not a strict liability offence and that all the ‘Crown has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the Appellant unlawfully permitted the motor vehicle to be operated’. […]

 


R. v. Persaud, 2015 ONCJ 344 (CanLII)
2015-06-22 | 11 pages
motor vehicle — actus reus — beyond a reasonable doubt — driver — strict liability – permit operation without insurance
[…] Charge: Permit Motor Vehicle to be operated without insurance contrary to section 2(1) (b) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act […] “Permit Motor Vehicle to be operated Without Insurance” contrary to section 2(1) (b) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act , which provides as follows: […] j) He then charged the defendant with “Permit Motor Vehicle to be operated Without Insurance” contrary to section 2(1) (b) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act . […]

 


R. v. Conroy, 2011 ONCJ 165 (CanLII)
2011-02-08 | 12 pages
motor vehicle — registered owner — due diligence — insured — permit operation without insurance
[…] with being the owner of a motor vehicle, licence 507M1, Ontario issue, and did permit the said motor vehicle to be operated upon a highway, namely 6 Highway, and did fail to have the motor vehicle insured under a contract of automobile insurance, contrary to the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act , section 2(1) (b). […] Section 2(1) (b) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act states that, […] “in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the holder of the permit or the plate portion of the permit for the vehicle” […]