How To Check And Pay My Traffic Fine in Canada
How To Check And Pay My Traffic Fine Online in Canada
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Police in Canada give out a lot of traffic tickets every day, and among them the same violations appear frequently. These common traffic tickets are the reason for the majority of traffic stops and also a common reason why Canadians see increases on their car insurance. Unfortunately, these driving habits that earn drivers a traffic ticket are the same habits that frequently cause car accidents; just another reason to be more careful and aware of your actions on the road.

If you live in Canada, it is important to know the traffic rules and fine just in case you get caught and have to pay the tickets. Take a look at the guide in the article below on how to check and pay your traffic fine.

Roads in Canada

Photo: InsuranceHost
Photo: InsuranceHost

Canada’s roads stretch over one million kilometres, including the Trans-Canada Highway, the fourth longest road in the world. Roads in Canada are maintained to a high standard by provincial governments and there are few toll roads (most of which are found on a handful of bridges and near the US border).

Given the size and geography of the country, the road network is much denser in the south of the country and around major cities like Toronto. Outside of major cities, you’ll often be the only vehicle on the road for miles.

Here are the main types of roads in Canada:

Local roads

Canada’s local roads are intended to provide access to private property and are usually found in suburban and rural areas. They have low traffic speed and must have at least one sidewalk.

Collector roads

Collector roads are designed for connecting traffic to larger arteries. They will be signalled at intersections with arterial roads and will have sidewalks on both sides of the road.

Minor arterial roads

This kind of road is principally designed for facilitating traffic movement, although will provide access to some types of property. They do not have ‘stop’ signs – instead, intersections are controlled by traffic lights. They also have sidewalks on both sides of the thoroughfare.

Major arterial roads

These roads are primarily designed for traffic movement and are subject to access controls (meaning you’ll have to wait at light or at a line before you can enter the flow). The speed limit is normally 50-60km/h and there are usually sidewalks on both sides of the road.

Expressways

Expressways are the equivalent of British motorways. The speed limit is typically 80-100 km/h. There is no property access and cyclists and pedestrians are prohibited from entering them.

How to Drive in Canada

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Canada is relatively easy to navigate by car. Canadians are well known for their politeness and this extends to their driving habits too. They have a strong focus on safety and defensive driving, meaning you’re unlikely to encounter much erratic behaviour.

You’ll be likely to end up hiring an automatic transmission car in Canada rather than the kind of manual vehicle you’d be used to in Europe (that said, it’s possible to find manual cars, and you might prefer one if driving in winter). However, most drivers get used to automatic driving without too much trouble and it can make life easier when you’re travelling long distances.

If you’re planning on road-tripping across Canada, do not underestimate the distances involved. Make sure you’ve planned a sensible route, have enough fuel, food and water. If you’re driving in winter, you’ll want to take even more precautions in case of a breakdown (more on winter driving below). It’s also important to remember that wild animals like moose and elks wandering onto the road is a real issue in Canada, especially at night - so drive cautiously.

Canada driving rules

Canada’s driving rules are similar to what you’re used to in the UK. That said, Canadian cities follow a grid system – like much of Northern American – and roundabouts are much less common than they are in the UK. This means you’ll have to get accustomed to a more ‘stop-start’ kind of driving.

What side of the road does Canada drive on?

Like most of the world, Canadians drive on the right-hand side of the road. If this is your first time driving on the right, spend some time getting used to it on smaller side roads.

Who has right of way?

There are some differences in how the right of way works in Canada. Firstly, lights at intersections: when you’re at a red light at an intersection, you are allowed to turn right – but must proceed with caution and watch out for pedestrians (this is true for everywhere except Montreal). There are also two types of green light in Canada: a steady green light means the same as in the UK, whereas a flashing green light means you have the right of way to turn left.

If you come to a four-way crossroad or an intersection without traffic lights – which is common in rural areas – it is the driver to the right who has the right of way.

What is the speed limit in Canada?

Speed limits in Canada are measured in kilometres per hour, rather than miles per hour. Speed limits signs are posted on all roads (although not always as frequently or clearly as in the UK).

  • In urban areas away from major arteries, the speed limit will normally be 50km/h unless otherwise stated
  • For rural roads outside of towns, the speed limit will be 60-80 km/h
  • The maximum speed limit on highways will be 80-100 km/h (and the minimum limit is 60 km/h)

Driving in adverse conditions in Canada

Canada is famous for its cold, snowy winters – it can drop as low as -40°C in some parts of the country. So, if you plan on driving in Canada in winter, it’s essential to take extra precautions:

  • Ensure your hire car has chains or winter tyres (in some provinces this is a legal requirement)
  • Bring paper maps in case your GPS fails, snow scrapers and a torch with spare batteries
  • Dress appropriately – warm clothes are essential
  • Bring a sleeping bag just in case you do have a breakdown – having a warm sleeping bag could be a lifesaver
  • Bring a heater – many Canadians carry heaters in their cars in winter to make driving more bearable
  • Plan your trip and tell people where you are going
  • Drive very defensively, watching out for black ice and other hazards and avoid driving at night

‘Safety first’ is the rule

Canadian driving law is heavily focused on safety, so bear in mind that:

  • There are stiff penalties for driving under the influence. The limit is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood – which is the same as in the UK
  • Safety belts must be worn at all times
  • You cannot use a mobile phone while driving, but you can use a hands-free system

The Most Common Traffic Tickets in Canada

Photo: trafficticketsexperts.ca
Photo: trafficticketsexperts.ca

Speeding

This is easily the most common traffic ticket in Canada, and in most cases it is considered a minor offence. Speeding is a bad habit many of us have due to our busy lives and rush to get from place to place on time. Unfortunately, speed is often a factor in collisions, and the faster you are moving when you strike another vehicle, the more serious the collision.

A speeding ticket will cost you a fine, which varies depending on the province and how far over the speed limit you were going when you were caught. It may also cost you on your car insurance. Insurance companies can charge you for this all-too-common ticket for three years from the date that you are convicted NOT the date that you received the ticket, and if you get another speeding ticket during that time, you may find that your rates increase even more.

Going too fast on the road is one of the most common bad habits of Canadian drivers, and it is a costly habit.

Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign

Most drivers are guilty of rolling through a stop sign at some point in their driving career. It’s no wonder this violation is one of the most common tickets Canadian police give out. When there’s no one else at the intersection, it can be tempting to just roll through. Unfortunately, it could mean a ticket if a law enforcement officer is present. Worse, if you missed something, such as a pedestrian crossing the street, this violation could become a tragedy.

Like a speeding ticket, this ticket can affect your insurance rates for three years.

Failure to Wear a Seatbelt

Across Canada, it is required by law that you wear your seatbelt whenever you are in your vehicle. In fact, everyone in the vehicle must be wearing a seatbelt, and the driver can be held responsible for passengers under the age of 16. Although seatbelt use has increased in Canada since the laws were put in place, it remains one of the most common traffic tickets.

Seatbelt use has been proven to save lives in crashes; choosing not to wear one puts you in danger. It can also put the others in the car in danger as well. Whether or not this ticket counts against your insurance rates depends on your province and the insurance company, but it is a large fine in every province.

Improper Turns

Another common traffic ticket given out to Canadian drivers is for a variety of possible improper turns. These can include turning when it is prohibited and turning from the wrong lane. Because this type of behaviour makes it difficult for other drivers to anticipate your next move, it can be a very dangerous habit.

In addition to a fine for making an improper turn, you may see an increase in your insurance rates stemming from this ticket.

Running Red Lights

Drivers are always trying to beat the light and get to where they are going faster. Unfortunately, running a red light can cause an accident, and can also result in a traffic ticket that may be expensive both in fines and on your insurance. The installation of red light cameras has made it more likely that drivers will be caught when the run red lights, meaning this traffic ticket has become among the most common in Canada.

Running a red light is the cause of many accidents, as well as of pedestrians being struck by vehicles. It can cost you for three years on your insurance if a ticket is the only result, but it’s a dangerous behaviour that is best stopped.

Careless Driving

While this has been mentioned by Pointts, the traffic ticket specialists, as one of the most common traffic tickets, careless driving is also one of the tickets most often successfully fought and removed from the driver’s record in court. This is likely because the definition of careless driving is less concrete and it relies on an officer’s judgment.

While it may be easier to fight this ticket and win, that doesn’t make it any less a dangerous driving habit.

These common traffic tickets can cost you on your auto insurance, depending on your insurance company’s rules, and they also carry a cost in fines as well as in the potential for injuries and fatalities. These tickets are all too common; avoiding them can keep the roads safer and your insurance rates lower.

Related: How to Check The Car Owner In Canada by License Plate Number

Traffic Offences in Canada

Photo: ProsVsCons
Photo: ProsVsCons

Fail to Remain states that any person involved in an accident shall remain at or immediately return to the scene of the accident. Also the person involved must provide the other driver(s) with the necessary information required.

The information that you are required to provide is your name, address, driver’s licence number, your vehicles insurer, the policy number, the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle, and the permit number. If you fail to comply with any of these requirements, you may be guilty of “fail to remain”. Due to the severity of this offence, you could be facing some very harsh penalties.

Penalties upon conviction for Fail to Remain are:

• 7 demerit points

• $200.00 - $2000.00 fine

• A possible suspension of your driver's licence for a period of no more than 2 years

• A possible term of imprisonment for up to 6 months

Careless Driving is a charge that is laid most often when someone has been involved in a collision. It is a very broad charge that covers many different situations. A brief description of the charge is driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention or without a reasonable consideration for other people using the highway.

As the description of this offence is so broad, it is left up to interpretation of the court. Retaining legal representation for a careless driving charge is paramount as the penalties for this offence are very severe. The penalties for a careless driving conviction are as follows:

• 6 Demerit Points

• A possible suspension of your driver's licence for a period of no more than 2 years

• A possible term of imprisonment for up to 6 months

Racing/ Stunt Driving, such as “squealing” your tires or trying to make an extremely dangerous maneuver. Once you have been charged with Stunt Driving you will immediately be issued a seven day roadside suspension of your drivers licence. Your vehicle will also be impounded for seven days, at your own expense. Upon Conviction of Racing/Stunt Driving the penalties are:

• 6 demerit points

• $2,000.00 - $10,000.00 fine

• A possible suspension of your driver's licence for a period of no more than 2 years

• A possible term of imprisonment for up to 6 months

Speeding. The penalties for speeding are based on how many kilometers over the speed limit you were allegedly traveling at:

• 0-15km over: 0 demerit points

• 16-29km over: 3 demerit points

• 30-49km over: 4 demerit points

• 50+ km over: 6 demerit points, suspension of your driver’s license. (**Note, if you are traveling at a rate of speed at 50 or more kilometers over the limit you can also be charged for stunt driving/racing/excessive speed under section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act**)

Red Light – Fail to Stop is when you have failed to come to a full and complete stop at a stop sign or red light. Whether or not the way is clear to proceed, if you do not come to a full and complete stop you are committing a traffic violation. This offence may seem like a very minor violation however the penalties for this offence will affect your driving record for 3 years and could raise your insurance premiums. Penalties:

• 3 demerit points

• $85.00 set fine

• A conviction on your driving record for three years

Seatbelt infractions include the driver or passenger of a motor vehicle not wearing, or not properly wearing their seatbelt, driver not ensuring that passengers under the age of 16 are wearing their seatbelt, not occupying a position with a seatbelt, not ensuring that a child passenger or toddler is properly secured, driving a vehicle with the seatbelt removed or inoperative.

Turn violations include, but are not limited to:

• Not signaling

• Improper left or right turns

• Unsafe turns

• Failing to avoid a collision, etc.

Drive No Licence is one that applies to anyone driving a motor vehicle without a valid drivers licence. Even if you have been issued a drivers licence and it expires and you do not renew it, you are still guilty of this offence. This offence will stay on your driving record for 3 years and could significantly affect your insurance premiums.

Upon conviction of “drive no licence” the penalties are:

• $325.00 Fine

• A conviction on your driving record for 3 years

Driving with a Suspended Licence carries an automatic six-month suspension of your drivers licence. Your license could be suspended for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:

→ Unpaid fines

→ Medical reasons

→ Alcohol related offences

→ Demerit points

If this is the first time you have been charged with Drive under Suspension, you are facing the following penalties:

→ A fine not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000 (**Note: If your license is suspended from certain convictions under the Criminal Code of Canada, the fine is not less than $5,000 and not more than $25,000**)

→ A mandatory 6 month suspension of your driver’s license

→ A possible term of imprisonment of not more than 6 months

For each subsequent offence:

→ A fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000 (**Subsequent offences related to the Criminal Code: fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $50,000**)

→ Suspension of your driver’s license

→ A possible term of imprisonment

Driving without Insurance means that no owner of a motor vehicle shall operate or permit that vehicle to be operated without valid insurance. Although monthly insurance payments may seem costly, the monetary penalties associated with committing the offence of driving without insurance are extremely high. Driving without insurance is a very serious offence that carries very harsh penalties upon conviction. If you are found guilty of driving without insurance the penalties are:

  • For a first conviction - $5,000 fine + 25% surcharge = $6,250
  • For a second conviction - $10,000 fine +25% surcharge = $12,500
  • You could also be facing a suspension of your drivers licence for up to one year.

Fines on Speeding Tickets

Speed

Fine

Demerits

10

$40.00

0

11

$42.50

0

12

$45.00

0

13

$47.50

0

14

$50.00

0

15

$52.50

0

16

$55.00

3

17

$57.50

3

18

$60.00

3

19

$62.50

3

20

$95.00

3

21

$108.75

3

22

$107.50

3

23

$111.25

3

24

$115.00

3

25

$118.75

3

26

$122.5

3

27

$131.25

3

28

$136.50

3

29

$138.75

3

30

$220.00

4

31

$225.00

4

32

$232.00

4

33

$236.00

4

34

$259.00

4

35

$265.00

4

36

$271.00

4

37

$277.00

4

38

$283.00

4

39

$298.00

4

40

$295.00

4

41

$301.00

4

42

$317.00

4

43

$323.00

4

44

$329.00

4

45

$335.00

4

46

$341.00

4

47

$347.00

4

48

$353.00

4

49

$359.00

4

50 +

No Set Fine - Must attend court

6

How to Check the Status of a Traffic Ticket or Fine Online

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

You cannot check the status of tickets or fines for:

→ criminal matters

→ parking tickets

→ cases under appeal

→ cases with publication bans

→ charges involving anyone under 16 years of age

Before you search for a ticket

Make sure you have the location code and offence number printed on your ticket or notice, so you can look up your case.

If you’ve received a “summons” (an order to appear in front of a justice of the peace) you will need the case number on the summons. If you don’t have this information, or you’ve lost your ticket, contact the municipal court office in the jurisdiction where your ticket or fine was issued.

How to Pay: Fines and restitution payments

Fines and restitution orders can be paid at a court registry. Your Fine Order or ticket has file numbers on it needed to identify the correct fine. A receipt will be provided for all payments received.

Payment options:

♦ Online payment with a credit card.

♦ Telephone with a credit card. Call toll free to the court registry nearest you.

♦ Mail a cheque or money order to a court registry.

♦ In-person visit to a court registry.

Unpaid fines may prevent you from renewing your driver's license or vehicle registration. Please note that your payment can take up to 24 hours to register in the system at the Department of Transportation.

If you are unable to pay your fine, you may be eligible to perform community service work instead under the fine option program.

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