A Helpful Guide to Understanding Escalating Sanctions And How They Affect Novice Drivers

What Are Escalating Sanctions?

All Ontario drivers face penalties when found guilty of one or more offences under the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.0. 1990, c. H.8 ("HTA") among other traffic related laws and regulations.  The Ministry of Transportation is the government authority responsible for administering these penalties.  Novice drivers can also face additional penalties known as escalating sanctions.  Escalating sanctions are additional penalties applicable upon the conviction of each similar offence.

How and When Do Escalating Sanctions Apply to Novice Drivers?

Novice drivers are subject to escalating sanctions penalties when any of the following occurrences have taken place within a five (5) year period:

  • convictions for any violation of class licence conditions or combination of repeat violations of G1/G2/M1/M2 conditions;
  • convictions for individual HTA offences which carry four (4) or more demerit points.  Examples include: Careless Driving, Stunt Driving or Street Racing, Speeding 30 km/hr or more over the posted speed limit, among others;
  • convictions for hybrid offences such as Drive Handheld Communication Device or Drive Display Screen Visible; or 
  • a court-ordered licence suspension for HTA convictions that would have otherwise resulted in four (4) or more demerit points.

If you are a novice driver and are convicted of violating any novice condition, an offence that is associated with four (4) or more demerit points or receive a court-ordered suspension for an offence that would have resulted in four (4) or more demerit points, you will receive the appropriate penalty and novice driver escalating sanctions licence suspension.  However, the demerit points will be recorded as zero (0) on your record, and will not be counted towards the accumulated demerit point system (“accumulated demerit points” means the total demerit points in a person's record acquired as a result of offences committed within any period of two (2) years, less any points deducted for that period under this Regulation).

How and When Do Escalating Sanctions Apply to Hybrid Drivers?

Escalating sanctions for hybrid drivers would apply if there is any combination of repeat violations of their novice licence whether G1, G2, M1 or M2 conditions within a five (5) year period.  Hybrid drivers enjoy a unique exemption from escalating sanctions which do not apply in situations where a driver convicted of an offence resulting in four (4) or more demerit points (or received a court-ordered suspension for an offence that would have resulted in four or more demerit points) and has one of the following hybrid licence combinations:

  • A G1 or G2 with a Class M licence; or
  • An M1 or M2 with a Class A, B, C, D, E, F or G licence 

Escalating Sanctions Licence Suspension

In addition to the Court imposing a fine upon conviction, the conviction and suspension itself will appear on your driving record.  As a result, you will face significantly increased annual automobile insurance premiums over the next three (3) year period.  In addition to these consequences, your novice driver’s licence may be suspended or cancelled as follows:

  • For a first occurrence: your driver’s licence is suspended for 30 days.
  • For a second occurrence: your driver’s licence is suspended for 90 days.
  • For first and second occurrences a mandatory reinstatement fee applies.
  • For a third occurrences: you will lose your novice licence. You will need to re-apply for your G1 or M1 licence and restart the graduated licensing process, taking all tests and paying all fees. 

*A driver’s licence reinstatement fee must be paid for first and second occurrences which may be paid at any Service Ontario location.

Summary Comment

Upon conviction of an offence triggering a novice driver licence suspension under escalating sanctions, the MTO will mail a Notice of Suspension to your last known registered address.  The notice will advise you the date your suspension will take effect and provide you with instructions on how to properly surrender your licence.  It is important to note that should you fail to surrender your driver's licence  as required, you can lose your licence for up to two (2) years.

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