How to Check Your Driving Record

By Team
bearded man at laptop

It can be useful to know what your driving record shows. Whether you’re shopping for auto insurance in Ontario or Alberta, it may be worthwhile to understand what your driving record or abstract states.

There are different reports you can request in either province. Each provides slightly different information but give you verification for whatever it is you need to know. Unfortunately, to obtain most of these reports, it requires you to pay a fee.

According to an survey, a majority of drivers overwhelmingly agree accessing a driver’s record or abstract should be free. More than 90% of drivers would like barrier-free access to their records and insurance histories.

Examples of Driving Record Reports in Ontario

In Ontario, driving record reports are either certified or uncertified. It costs slightly more to get a certified version. What’s the difference between the two? A certified version includes an embossed seal from the Ministry of Transportation, which is usually required for legal purposes. An uncertified version contains the same information as a certified draft, but without the embossed seal. Make sure you know in advance which type you need to provide to the company that is requesting it.

As of May 2020, most reports cost $12 for an uncertified version and $18 for a certified version. The complete driver's record, also known as the Freedom of Information driver's record, costs $48 or $54, depending on whether you want the record certified or not.

Although it is unlikely you can pay in person at a ServiceOntario centre during the COVID-19 lockdown, when things do open up, you can visit one of their locations to pay for a copy by debit, cash, or certified cheque depending on which report you request. In the meantime, you can order a copy online or by mail by filling out a form and paying the applicable fee.

Ordering a Driver’s Record or Abstract in Ontario

Here's a list of reports you can access in Ontario to see a copy of your driving record:

  • A Three-Year Uncertified or Certified Driver's Record. This record includes your demerit points, active fines, as well as Highway Traffic Act and Criminal Code of Canada convictions.
  • Driver's Licence History. Your history includes class changes, licence renewals, residential addresses, and driving course completion.
  • A Five-Year Uncertified or Certified Driver's Record. This record includes demerit points, driver identification info, as well as Highway Traffic Act convictions for the past three years and Criminal Code of Canada convictions for the past five years.
  • Extended Driver's Record. This record includes driver identification info, as well as Highway Traffic Act convictions for the past three years and Criminal Code of Canada convictions for as far back as the records go.
  • Complete Driver's Record. A complete record includes driver identification info, demerit totals, Highway Traffic Act and Criminal Code of Canada convictions for as far back as the records go, as well as residential addresses, collisions, driver's licences replacements, and renewals. An auto insurance company typically requests this type of document.

You can also access reports on a specific collision, copies of your driver's documents like your licence application, a driver confirmation letter for out-of-province licensing, and a driver's licence check to demonstrate that it is valid. For most driver’s records, it takes up to two weeks to receive them after applying.

To order your driver’s record by mail in Ontario, fill out a Record Search Application form for the type of report you want and mail it with a cheque to:

Ministry of Transportation
Licensing Administration and Support Office
Information and Data Retrieval Unit
87 Sir William Hearst Avenue
Room 158-D
Toronto, ON
M3M 0B4

For more information on obtaining a driver’s record or abstract in Ontario, contact the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

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Ordering a Driver Abstract in Alberta

Known as a driver’s abstract in Alberta, motorists can request a summary of their driving records, including merit and demerit points, convictions, and suspensions. There are two kinds of driver abstracts you can request for three-, five-, or 10-year periods:

  • A Standard Driver Abstract. Provides information about an individual’s driving record including information about you (name, address, licence number, issue date, as well as your height, weight, and sex), the status of your licence, and any information on convictions, demerit points, and suspensions. It does not show your driving experience or when you became licensed.
  • A Commercial Driver Abstract. Provides employers with information to assess risks associated with an individual before they hire them. It includes the same details as those in a standard driver abstract as well as information about Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspections. It does not give information on the driver’s appearance.

To order a driver abstract, you will need to go through a registry agent, and it must be done in person. During the COVID-19 lockdown, it is best to contact the registry agent you wish to visit and inquire if you can file your application remotely. You must also download and fill out a Personal Driving and Motor Vehicle Information form, get it notarized, and along with a notarized copy of your photo ID, you must pay a $28 fee. It takes two to three weeks after submitting your application to receive a copy of your driver abstract.

For more information on obtaining a driver abstract in Alberta, call 780-427-7013.

When to Request a Driver’s Record or Abstract

In general, there may be three reasons why you will need to obtain a copy of your driver’s record:

  1. You are applying for a job. An employer may request a copy of your driver’s abstract before they hire you. If you are applying for a position as a taxi driver, trucker, or courier driver, it is usually part of the job application process.
  2. You are shopping for auto insurance. If your car insurance is up for renewal or you are shopping around to compare auto rates, an insurer may request a copy of your driver’s record.
  3. You want to know what’s on your record. You may wish to check your driver’s record for any number of reasons such as ensuring a ticket or collision is removed from your record when permissible. After all, what’s on your driving record can affect your auto insurance premium.