Oct 7, 2022
How do demerit points work in Ontario?
Demerit points are not something you want to be added to your Ontario driver’s licence. For starters, if you have any, it means you have received a traffic ticket, and it also means that your car insurance could be impacted when it comes time for renewal.
Here’s everything you need to know about how the demerit point system works in the province.
What are demerit points?
If you receive a ticket, you may receive some in addition to a fine. They range from 2 points for minor convictions to 6 points for serious traffic convictions.
Unfortunately, not all drivers take driving seriously. This system was created to remedy this as a way to hold drivers accountable for their actions. They are assigned to driving infractions, with more serious tickets receiving a higher number of demerit points.
The demerit-point system encourages drivers to improve their behaviour and protects people from drivers who abuse the privilege of driving.
Do demerit points affect insurance?
Demerit points do not directly affect your auto insurance in Ontario. It's being convicted of traffic violations that can impact your costs. While a single minor conviction generally has minimal impact, having multiple or major convictions will increase your costs. The system was implemented to track offences for the purpose of driving suspensions. Keep in mind if you collect enough you can lose your licence, which will result in a big premium increase.
How many Ontario demerit points do I start with?
One of the most common misconceptions about them is that you “earn” or lose them. In the province, you start with zero demerit points. You gain them as you are convicted of breaking laws under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.
How to check demerit points in Ontario
If you are curious as to how many demerit points you have accumulated, you can order a request for your driver’s abstract either online or in person. You can pay $12 for an uncertified version, or $18 for a certified version. Both will include the total of demerit points and a three or five-year history including convictions, penalties, and driving offences.
What is the maximum amount of demerit points you can have in Ontario?
How many you are allowed to collect depends on the type of driver’s licence you have. The following breaks down the penalties for them :
Max demerit points for G Licence
As a fully licensed driver, you can accumulate up to 15 demerit points before your driver’s license is suspended.
Here is a breakdown :
- 2 to 8 : You will receive a letter of warning.
- 9 to 14 : Your driver’s license could be suspended, and you may have to attend a meeting to discuss your driving and why your license should not be suspended at this time. A $50 fee for the demerit point meeting applies.
- 15 or more : You will receive an automatic 30-day license suspension. You will be required to surrender your driver’s license. You can do this in person at any Service Ontario Centre. Failure to surrender your driver’s license could result in a 2-year suspension.
Once the suspension is over, you may need to take a vision, written, and road test again. If you pass, your license will be reinstated and the demerit points will be reduced to 7.
Demerit points for young and new drivers (G1-G2)
As a new driver or young driver, you face different demerit point penalties. This includes drivers with a G1 or G2. Here’s a breakdown of penalties you could face :
- 2 to 5 : You will be sent a letter of warning by the MTO.
- 6 to 8 : Your license could be suspended, and you may need to attend an interview to discuss your driving. The $50 fee applies.
- 9 or more : Your license will be suspended for 60 days. You will have to surrender your driver’s license and follow the same steps as above to get it back when the suspension ends (re-take driving tests) and your demerit points will be reduced to 4. Any new points will require you to come back for an interview with the MTO.
Any of the above can result in your auto insurance raising significantly.
Ontario demerit points effect on traffic tickets
Not all traffic tickets will land you demerit points. That is the good news. The bad news is they will still result in a fine. Tickets with no points are typically minor offences. Here's how you can be affected :
Demerit points for speeding
The number of demerit points you’ll receive for speeding will depend on how fast you were caught going.
Here is a list of how they are assigned for speeding :
- 6 points : Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more.
- 4 points : Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h.
- 3 points : Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h.
Demerit points for distracted driving
We all know that driving impaired, and texting and driving in particular, are a huge issue on roads today. Depending on the conviction, your demerit points will be affected by :
- First : 3 demerit points.
- Second : 6 demerit points (in addition to the first 3).
- Third : 6 demerit points.
Novice drivers with a G1, G2, M1 or M2 are not subject to demerit points for distracted driving, but they will face fines, a licence suspension or cancellation.
If you face distracted and careless driving fines, you could see 6 points, fines of up to $2,000 and/or a jail term of six months, and up to a two-year license suspension.
How many demerit points for impaired driving in Ontario?
This is an interesting case. While most would assume that a driver would receive some points for impaired driving, there are actually no demerit points. Impaired driving is a criminal offence it falls under the Criminal Code of Canada. Criminal charges have more severe consequences including jail time.
How many demerit points for failing to wear a seatbelt?
Making sure your seatbelt is secure before starting to drive is a very important safety consideration. Plus, if you are convicted of a seatbelt infraction, you will get 2 demerit points. There are actually three instances of failing to wear a seatbelt where you can be charged :
- Driver failing to wear a seatbelt.
- Driver failing to ensure passenger under 16 years is wearing a seatbelt.
- Driver failing to ensure passenger under 16 years is occupying a position with a seatbelt.
Stay safe and buckle up!
How are demerit points applied?
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation provides a complete list of offences that come with demerit points :
Seven points :
- Failing to remain at the scene of a collision.
- Failing to stop for police.
Six points :
- Careless driving.
- Exceeding the speed limit of 40km/h or more on roads with a speed limit of less than 80km/h.
- Exceeding the speed limit by 50km/h or more.
- Failing to stop for a school bus.
Five points :
- Driver of bus failing to stop at an unprotected railway crossing.
Four points :
- Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h.
- Following too closely.
- Not stopping at a pedestrian crossover.
Three points :
- Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h.
- Driving through, around or under a railway crossing barrier.
- Driving while holding or using a hand-held wireless communications/entertainment device or viewing a display screen unrelated to the driving task.
- Failing to yield the right-of-way.
- Failing to obey a stop sign, traffic light or railway crossing signal.
- Failing to obey traffic control stop signs, control slow signs or school crossing stop signs.
- Failing to obey the directions of a police officer.
- Driving the wrong way on a divided road.
- Failing to report a collision to a police officer.
- Improper driving where the road is divided into lanes.
- Crowding the driver's seat.
- Going the wrong way on a one-way road.
- Driving or operating a vehicle on a closed road.
- Crossing a divided road where no proper crossing is provided.
- Failing to slow and carefully pass a stopped emergency vehicle.
- Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing.
- Failing to obey the move over law (where possible, into another lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle).
- Driving a vehicle that is equipped with or carrying a speed measuring warning device (such as a radar detector).
- Improper use of a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane.
Two points :
- Failing to lower headlight beam.
- Prohibited turns.
- Towing people - on toboggans, bicycles, skis, for example.
- Failing to obey signs or sharing the road.
- Improper right or left turn.
- Failing to signal.
- Unnecessary slow driving.
- Reversing on a highway.
- Driver failing to ensure infant passenger is secured in an appropriate car seat.
- Driver failing to ensure toddler or child passenger is secured.
How many demerit points until suspension?
If you accumulate fifteen (or more) demerit points with a full G licence, you will receive an automatic 30-day driver's licence suspension.
After the suspension is over, you will have your driver’s licence reinstated and the number of points will be reduced, but they will still be on your record for two years. If you gain more points, you will receive another suspension.
Novice drivers (G1 & G2) will receive suspensions if they have four or more points. If they receive nine or more, they will have a 60-day suspension.
Ontario demerit points system
Demerit points will last two years from the date they are earned. Once the two years have passed, they are removed. If the date of removal has passed, it’s a good idea to check your driving record to ensure they have been removed.
No, the demerit points associated with traffic violations will not appear on the ticket. Police officers are not authorized to assign them to a traffic offence. They are added by the Ministry of Transportation once you pay your ticket or are found guilty in court.
Remember, they can stay on your record for 2 years, and if you accumulate too many, you could receive a warning or even a license suspension.
Yes. You can get demerit points for traffic convictions that occurred in other provinces and some states in the U.S.. Ontario has a reciprocal agreement with the state of Michigan and New York and other Canadian Provinces and Territories. The number of points you receive will depend on the conviction.
If you have been convicted of a driving offence in another Canadian province, the State of New York or Michigan, they will be added to your record just as if the offence happened in the province, says Ontario.ca.
Here are some that will get added :
- Careless driving
- Speeding and racing
- Failure to remain at the scene of an accident
- Failure to obey a stop sign, street light, or stop for a school bus
The demerit point system helps to keep roads safe
Even though your policy won't immediately increase from demerit points, many of them prove that you may be a dangerous driver. Keep your driver’s abstract clear and premiums low by being a considerate and safe driver.