Ask Anne Marie: I Was Caught Driving Without a Licence and Insurance in Ontario but Didn’t Pay the Fines. Can I Get a Licence in Alberta?

We frequently highlight questions sent to our resident insurance expert, Anne Marie Thomas. This week’s question comes from Dominic, who was convicted of driving offences in Ontario including driving without auto insurance, but he has yet to pay the fines. He has since moved to another province and wonders about getting licensed.

Dominic asks: “I was caught driving without a licence or insurance in Ontario four years ago. I haven't paid the fines. I have since moved to Alberta. I want to get a driver’s licence in Alberta. Do I have to pay the fines first?

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Driving without a licence and insurance are serious offences that are costly and can have far-reaching consequences. Section 33 of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states all drivers must carry a valid licence whenever they drive. The fine for driving without a licence can range between $200 and $1,000. The Highway Traffic Act also states auto insurance is compulsory. Driving a vehicle without insurance will cost you $5,000 for a first-time conviction. Moreover, moving to another province without paying those fines won’t make the situation disappear.

Anne Marie explains: “Alberta and Ontario have reciprocal agreements regarding drivers’ information. The Alberta Ministry of Transportation will learn of your Ontario convictions and suspensions. You will likely not be able to obtain an Alberta licence until you have settled your fines in Ontario. Once the Ontario fines are paid, you may be required to take the Alberta driver’s licence exam from the beginning of the graduated program.

Whether you have a traffic-related conviction on your driving record or not, take a few minutes to compare policies and premiums to ensure you’re getting the lowest price for the car insurance coverage you need.