Get a free, no obligation personal loan quote with rates as low as 6.99%
Get Started You can apply with no effect to your credit score

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010 a form of driver distraction was in involved in 65% of near crashes and 80% of collisions (for more distracted driving statistics, click here). Due to the significant amount of accidents caused by distracted driving, the Canadian provincial and territorial governments have implemented laws to encourage those on the road to eliminate distractions while driving. Being aware of distracted driving laws in Canada can help you avoid an accident or a penalty. To learn more about distracted driving laws and how they differ by province or territory, keep reading.

What Constitutes Distracted Driving in Canada?

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) defines distracted driving as any driver who is mentally or physically fatigued or distracted. The RCMP also states that distractions and fatigue can compromise judgment and impact your capabilities to drive safely. Below is a list of instances outlined by the RCMP where you may be driving distracted.

  • Smoking or vaping
  • Listening to loud music
  • Communicating with passengers
  • Reading a map, book, etc.
  • GPS programming
  • Using a cell phone to talk or text (hands-free included)
  • Eating or drinking
  • Radio adjustment
  • Watching movies or videos
  • Personal grooming
Commuting to Work in Canada
Do you know what the cost of commuting to work in Canada is? Find out here.

Distracted Driving Laws by Province and Territory

At the moment, no province or territory has made the use of hands-free cell phones while driving illegal. However, Ontario and British Columbia have banned the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. Furthermore, Alberta has extended its ban of handheld electronics to also include eating, drinking, reading, writing and personal grooming. Distracted driving laws are a provincially and territorially controlled matter, let’s explore how the laws vary by province and territory.

Distracted Driving Laws in British Columbia

Fines: $543 for the first offence, $888 for the second offence

Demerit Points: 4

If you have two or more infractions in a twelve month period, you may be at risk of incurring a three to twelve month probation period. In addition, British Columbia’s base fine is $368 plus $175 for their ICBC driver penalty point premiums program. If you commit a second offense in a 12 month period, the ICBC driver penalty point premium fine is $368 plus $520.

Distracted Driving Laws in Alberta

Fines: $287 per offence

Demerit Points: 3

Distracted Driving Laws in Saskatchewan

Fines: $280 per offence

Demerit Points: 4

Saskatchewan has two separate pieces of legislation related to distracted driving: cell phone legislation and driving without due care legislation. The repercussions are the same under both pieces of legislation, but they highlight different types of distracted driving. Under both legislations, if you are distracted driving two or more times in a one year period, your vehicle will be impounded for seven days.

Distracted Driving Laws in Manitoba

Fines: $672 per offence

Demerit Points: 5

The first time you are distracted driving in Manitoba you will receive a three day licence suspension and a seven day suspension for future offences.

Distracted Driving Laws in Ontario

Fines: $615 to $1,000 for the first offence, $615 to $2,000 for the second offence, $615 to $3,000 for the third and subsequent offences

Demerit Points: 3 to 6

In Ontario, the higher level of licensing you have, the worse the further penalties are for distracted driving. In addition to the fines and demerit points above, you will receive a fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or you lose in court when fighting the ticket for your first conviction plus a three-day license suspension. The additional fine goes up to $2,000 on your second conviction for a summons or loss in court and you will get a seven-day license suspension. Finally, the additional fine goes up to $3,000 on your third conviction for summons or loss in court and you will get a 30-day license suspension.

Novice drivers receive less harsh repercussions, usually a license suspension. Under a novice driver’s third conviction, their license can be cancelled and they will need to go through the GLS program again to obtain a license.

Last but not least, Ontario penalizes careless driving more seriously. Careless driving is the act of endangering other’s lives due to distracted driving. Carless drivers receive six demerit points, fines up to a maximum of $2,000, six months of jail time and license suspension for a maximum of two years. Causing bodily harm or death to another is known as dangerous driving. Dangerous drivers can serve prison time up to 10 years for causing bodily harm and 14 years for causing death.

In the market to privately purchase a vehicle in Ontario? This article is for you.

Distracted Driving Laws in Quebec

Fines: $300 to $600 per offence, repeat offences are the maximum ($600)

Demerit Points: 5

Licenses are suspended for three days the first time you have a repeat offence, seven days for your second repeat offence, and thirty days for your third repeat offence. Quebec also has a unique penalty for drivers wearing headphones or earphones in both ears. The penalty for committing this type of distracted driving is $100 to $200.

Distracted Driving Laws in New Brunswick

Fines: $172.50 per offence

Demerit Points: 3

Distracted Driving Laws in Nova Scotia

Fines: $233.95 for the first offence, $348.95 for the second offence, $578.95 for the third and subsequent offences

Demerit Points: 4

Distracted Driving Laws in Newfoundland and Labrador

Fines: $100 to $1,000 per offence

Demerit Points: 4

Distracted Driving Laws in Prince Edward Island

Fines: $572 to $1,275 per offence

Demerit Points: 5

Distracted Driving Laws in The Territories

Yukon Fines: $500 per offence

Yukon Demerit Points: 3

Northwest Territories Fines: $322 to $644 per offence

Northwest Territories Demerit Points: 3

In the Northwest Territories, the fee is increased to $644 if you are driving distracted in a school or construction zone. You are also subject to license suspensions when committing a second, third and fourth distracted driving offence in a two year period.

Nunavut Fines: N/A (no laws in place)

Nunavut Demerit Points: N/A (no laws in place)

Are you aware of the winter tires laws in your province? Learn more here.

How to Reduce Distractions While Driving

Distracted driving is important to avoid for legal reasons but also for safety reasons. It may feel like looking away for a few seconds is harmless but, in fact, checking a text for 5 seconds on a highway means you’ve travelled a football field length completely blindfolded. Tips on avoiding distracted driving are detailed below.

  • Download an app that blocks calls
  • Ask a passenger to take a call or send a text for you
  • Put your phone on silent or do not disturb while driving
  • Pullover

Attentive Driving is Safe Driving

Avoiding legal consequences is important in addition to preserving the safety of others. Do your best to practice safe driving by remaining attentive on the road. If you want further information on your distracted driving laws and penalties in your province or territory, visit the respective government distracted driving website page.

Veronica Ott avatar on Loans Canada
Veronica Ott

Veronica is a writer who specializes in creating unique and educational personal finance content. She has extensive experience writing blog posts for companies in the financial sector. Veronica's background is in accounting as she graduated from Western University in 2017 with a degree in accounting. She is passionate about using her accounting expertise to help others with their personal finance questions and issues and enjoys using her writing to educate Canadian readers. When Veronica is not writing, she enjoys film, reading, travelling, going to the gym, and listening to music.

More From This Author

Special Offers

More From Our Experts

https://loanscanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/GlobeMailTopCompanies2023-1.png
Loans Canada places No. 228 on The Globe and Mail’s fifth-annual ranking of Canada’s Top Growing Companies.

By Caitlin Wood, BA
Published on September 29, 2023

Loans Canada is excited to announce it has made it onto the Globe and Mail’s Top Growing Companies list for the second year in a row.

https://loanscanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Finder-Awards.png
Finder Awards Finalists: Personal Loans Customer Satisfaction Awards 2023

By Priyanka Correia, BComm

Loans Canada is happy to announce it received the finalist award in the Best Personal Loan Search Platform category.

https://loanscanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/caution-1.jpg
Beware of Fraudulent Lenders Impersonating Loans Canada

By Caitlin Wood, BA

A note to our clients about fraudulent lending practices and illegal upfront fees.

https://loanscanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Alpine-Supply-Shortage.png
Why Lower Interest Rates Won’t Solve The Housing Crisis: Root Cause Is Supply Shortage

By Maidina Kadeer, BA

Find out why BOC's Governor Tiff Macklem says supply shortage is the root cause of Canada's housing affordability crisis.

https://loanscanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Average-house-price-in-BC.png
What Is The Average House Price In BC 2024?

By Lisa Rennie

Home prices vary a great deal across Canada. Check out the average house price in BC and how it compares to the rest of Canada.

https://loanscanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Family-Support-For-Children-With-Disabilities.png
Alberta Family Support For Children With Disabilities (FSCD) Program

By Chrissy Kapralos

If you live in Alberta and have child with a disability, check out the FSCD Alberta Program for specialized support.

https://loanscanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Average-Home-Prices-In-Alberta-1.png
Average House Price In Alberta 2024

By Lisa Rennie

If you plan on buying a house in any real estate market across Alberta, you should learn about the average house price in Alberta.

https://loanscanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Wage-Earner-Protection-Program.png
What Is The Wage Earner Protection Program?

By Bryan Daly

The WEPP is a government program that helps workers recoup wages that are owed to them from a former employer who had financial issues.

Recognized As One Of Canada's Top Growing Companies

Loans Canada, the country's original loan comparison platform, is proud to be recognized as one of Canada's fastest growing companies by The Globe and Mail!

Read More

Why choose Loans Canada?

Apply Once &
Get Multiple Offers
Save Time
And Money
Get Your Free
Credit Score
Free
Service
Expert Tips
And Advice
Exclusive
Offers

Build Credit For Just $10/Month

With KOHO's prepaid card you can build a better credit score for just $10/month.

Koho Prepaid Credit Card