Reciprocal Agreements: Between the Province of Ontario and other Provinces/Territories and Different U.S. States

There was a time when you could travel on vacation or on business to another Province (other than your own) or to a State in the U.S. and if you received a ticket, for the most part it could be ignored, as there were no consequences of not paying the ticket or not showing up to court to fight it.  Those days are over, as most governments now share information about drivers and impose the fines or suspensions received elsewhere, as long as they have a reciprocal agreement with that other Province, Territory or State.

We have followed the examples of our cousins to the south, as they were the first in North America to develop the Driver Licence Compact (the idea is that you only have One (1) drivers licence record) and in addition developed the “Interstate Driver’s Licence Compact” which 45 States participate in. Eventually, Canada and the US will strive towards one driver’s licence, one driver’s licence record, in North America; a North America driver’s licence.

Please find enclosed the Reciprocal Agreements which Ontario has entered into:

1.  Ontario and Quebec (referred to as the Ontario-Quebec Agreement) This is an agreement, separate and aside from the Canadian Driver Licence Compact and was agreed upon and implemented on April 1, 1989.

2.  Ontario and other Provinces/Territories (referred to as the Canadian Driver Licence Compact)

3.  Reciprocal Agreement between Ontario and the State of New York, U.S.A.

4.  Reciprocal Agreement between Ontario and the State of Michigan, U.S.A.

All these agreements have an impact on the drivers who live and are licensed in all of the Provinces and Territories in Canada and many of the States  in the U.S.A.

Information is shared by all the participants with each other, relating to driving offences, fines, convictions and criminal convictions as well.

The Canadian Driver Licence Compact:

This agreement amongst the Provinces and Territories was implemented in 1990, all those participating in the agreement agreed to exchange traffic offence information. Under the term of the compact, each participating Province and Territory agreed  that infractions committed by the driver, would result in the application of demerit points in the driver’s home Province’s driving record.  As well, each participating Province and Territory agreed to transfer the driver’s licence information if that driver was moving to another Province or Territory.

In 2001 the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administration approved  changes to the Compact, which had the effect of mandating that each participating Province/Territory to the Compact where the offence had occurred would have to notify the home jurisdiction of the driver’s offence, expecting the home Province/Territory to take action with respect to unpaid fines, suspensions etc.  This may include the home Province/Territory having to withhold/suspend the driver’s driving privileges or the denial of vehicle registration.  In 2003, the Criminal Code was included, including section 249.1 -this information was to be shared in the event of a conviction.

There are several articles in the Canadian Driver Licence Compact:

  • Article 1: Definitions
  • Article 2: Application for Driver’s Licence
  • Article 3: Driver’s Licence Exchange
  • Article 4: Reports and Effects of Conviction
  • Article 5: Non-Payment of Fines
  • Article 6: Administration of the Agreement
  • Article 7: Amendments and Exceptions
  • Article 8: General Provisions
  • Appendix 1: Administration, Rules and Procedures of the Agreement
  • Article 1: Committee
  • Article 2: Secretariat
  • Appendix 2: Exceptions by Province:
  • If a driver of a motor vehicle is convicted, pursuant to Section 249 (1) of the Canadian Criminal Code, that information is shared with the other Provinces, Territories and specific U.S. States.  That particular language of  the Criminal Code states the following:

    Dangerous operation of Motor Vehicles, vessels and aircraft
    249. (1)
    “Every one commits an offence who operates:

    (a) a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature, condition and use of the place at which the motor vehicle is being operated and the amount of traffic that at the time is or might reasonably be expected to be at that place;

    (b) a vessel or any water skis, surf-board, water sled or other towed object on or over any of the internal waters of Canada or the territorial sea of Canada, in a manner that is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature and condition of those waters or sea and the use that at the time is or might reasonably be expected to be made of those waters or sea;

    (c) an aircraft in a manner that is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature and condition of that aircraft or the place or air space in or through which the aircraft is operated; or

    (d) railway equipment in a manner that is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature and condition of the equipment or the place in or through which the equipment is operated”.

    Punishment:
    (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1)

    (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

    (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    Dangerous operation causing bodily harm
    (3) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) and thereby causes bodily harm to any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

    Dangerous operation causing death
    (4) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) and thereby causes the death of any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

    R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 249; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 36, c. 32 (4th Supp.), s. 57; 1994, c. 44, s. 11.

    Flight
    249.1 (1) Every one commits an offence who, operating a motor vehicle while being pursued by a peace officer operating a motor vehicle, fails, without reasonable excuse and in order to evade the peace officer, to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.

    Punishment
    (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1)

    (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

    (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    Flight causing bodily harm or death
    (3) Every one commits an offence who causes bodily harm to or the death of another person by operating a motor vehicle in a manner described in paragraph 249 (1) (a), if the person operating the motor vehicle was being pursued by a peace officer operating a motor vehicle and failed, without reasonable excuse and in order to evade the police officer, to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.

    Punishment
    (4) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (3)

    (a) if bodily harm was caused, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years; and

    (b) if death was caused, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

    2000, c. 2, s. 1.

    Causing death by criminal negligence (street racing)

    249.2 Everyone who by criminal negligence causes death to another person while street racing is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

    2006, c. 14, s. 2.

    Causing bodily harm by criminal negligence (street racing)

    249.3 Everyone who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person while street racing is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

    2006, c. 14, s. 2.

    Dangerous operation of motor vehicle while street racing

    249.4 (1) Everyone commits an offence who, while street racing, operates a motor vehicle in a manner described in paragraph 249(1)(a).

    Punishment
    (2) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection (1)

    (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

    (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    Dangerous operation causing bodily harm
    (3) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection (1) and thereby causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

    Dangerous operation causing death
    (4) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection (1) and thereby causes the death of another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

    2006, c. 14, s. 2.

    Court Order Enforcement Act (of British Columbia): Jurisdictions declared to be Reciprocating States for the Purposes of this Act (under Part 2– section 37 of this Act); see Part 1 of Act.

    Suspensions of Licences in Canada and the United States – Agreement with Ontario:

    There is an agreement of Reciprocal Suspensions of Licences between Ontario and nine (9) Provinces and forty one (41) States and this Ontario Regulation reads as follows (it applies equally to the Provinces and the different States):

    Subsection 198 (1) of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act extends to and applies to judgments rendered and become final against residents by any court of competent jurisdiction in the following Provinces and States:

    Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennesse, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virgina, Wisconsin, Wyoming and District of Columbia.

    Canada:

    Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

    United States of America:

    Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennesse, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virgina, Wisconsin, Wyoming and District of Columbia.

    See Foreign Reciprocity Resource Guide and Agreement between Quebec and the State of Maine (pages 45-51)

    Quebec has a reciprocal agreement with the States of New York and Maine. Quebec does not however, have a reciprocal agreement with the State of  New Jersey.

    Update: Effective December 1, 2010:

    On December 1, 2010 Bill 126 will be implemented and includes the following changes:

    Section 40 of the  Highway Traffic Act (the H.T.A or HTA) currently provides that the Minister of Transportation, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, may enter into reciprocal agreements respecting drivers’ licences with the government of any American state. This is amended to remove the requirement for the Lieutenant Governor in Council’s approval and to allow for reciprocal agreements with any province or territory of Canada as well. Sections 41 and 42 of the Act currently provide for reciprocal enforcement by imposing penalties for contravention of a provision enacted by a state of the United States of America that is designated by the regulations. These sections are amended to impose penalties for a contravention of a provision enacted by any other jurisdiction, including by a municipality in another jurisdiction, that is designated in a reciprocal agreement entered into under section 40 of the HTA.

    With this additional step (the Lieutenant Governor in Council’s approval) eliminated, the government will be able to enter into reciprocal agreements at an accelerated rate.

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