7 Things Drivers Should Know About Parking Tickets and License Suspension

expect parking tickets from this expired meter

Nothing is worse than going back to your car after a nice meal at a restaurant only to find a dreaded parking ticket fluttering on the windshield. As the blood rushes to your head and you begin to sweat, you attempt to calm down and remind yourself that it is no big deal. After you get into your vehicle, you open up the glove compartment and quickly stash the ticket away. You drive home and try to put the thought of the wretched ticket out of your mind. Before you know it, you’ve forgotten about the whole ordeal … and never paid the ticket.

This scenario happens to hundreds of Ontarians every year. Unfortunately, many drivers are unaware of the consequences that failure to pay parking tickets can have on their record and their ability to continue driving. To ensure that you do not get your license suspended for a minor infraction such as failure to pay a parking or speeding ticket, here are 7 things you should know.

  1. According to Ontario law, an offender has 15 days to pay a ticket or dispute the merits of the ticket in court. Following the 15 day limit, the provincial Offences Court has the discretion to suspend your license.
  2. If a ticket has not been paid, a Notice of Suspension will be sent to your mailing address. The Notice of Suspension will indicate the reason for the Notice and the necessary steps that must be taken in order to have your license reinstated. It also includes warnings about the consequences of failure to pay a ticket – including license suspension.
  3. If your license is suspended, this may not be flagged until you renew your license. Despite having a license suspension on record, you should not expect to be notified by representatives of your insurance company, Service Ontario, or the Ministry of Transportation when you go to renew your license or renew your auto insurance. It is up to you to ask questions and ensure that your license is still valid.
  4. Ontarians with unpaid traffic violation tickets will be denied license plate renewals. However, this regulation does not apply to company vehicles or jointly owned vehicles. These official changes are set to be enacted this May and could mean that Ontario drivers are on the hook retroactively for any unpaid parking tickets which date back to the last 7 years.
  5. If you get into an accident while your license is suspended, insurance coverage does not apply. A valid license is a condition of car insurance; without one, you have no protection against motor vehicle accident claims. This means that you could be on the hook for millions of dollars if you are found to be the at-fault driver in a motor vehicle accident. Furthermore, the denial of coverage also means that you will be denied statutory accident benefits should you find yourself injured in a motor vehicle accident and require compensation for medical rehabilitation, attendant care, and income replacement benefits.
  6. If you do not have a valid license for 3 years, you are required to go through the graduated license program again. This means that you must undergo a vision test, written test, and the G2 and G road tests. In addition, you must pay the applicable fees before having your license reinstated.
  7. Ontarians who use the 407 ETR Highway and refuse to pay their bills on a regular basis will be denied license plate renewal. If a customer fails to pay a bill for over 35 days, a notice is sent to the customer. Upon receiving the notice, a customer has an additional 30 days to pay their bill or dispute it. Following 90 days, the customer is then sent a notice of license plate denial.

Although paying a ticket may be particularly cumbersome, it is essential that you pay the ticket as quickly as possible or take the necessary steps to fight the ticket to avoid any of the consequences of non-payment. Ensuring that you are organized makes all the difference in avoiding unnecessary license suspensions. Drivers must take responsibility for their affairs and recognize that it is  up to YOU to ensure that you are following the regulatory protocol.

If you are unsure about the status of your license or whether you have any outstanding parking tickets that have yet to be paid, contact Service Ontario or the Ministry of Transportation.

Ashley Hayward
Written by

Throughout her time in law school, Ashley worked as a volunteer at CLASP (Osgoode’s legal aid clinic) and volunteered at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly.

In addition to her volunteer work, Ashley also participated in a project on the costs of health care and assisted in compiling information for a study on advance care planning and consent for the Law Commission of Ontario.

With over 10 years of experience working in the retail sector, Ashley prides herself on developing relationships with clients and ensuring that they receive exemplary service.

Ashley enjoys music, dancing, classic films, fashion, working out, and spending time with family and friends.