Demerit Points in Ontario: How Do They Affect Your Driving Record?

If you are a driver in Ontario, it’s of utmost importance to understand how demerit points work. As points can be added to your driving record for a variety of reasons and can stay on your record for up to two years, they can be a prominent (yet undesirable) addition to your driving. If you accumulate too many points, you could face penalties such as license suspension or revocation. 

Read on to find out how demerit points are assigned and how they affect your driving record and insurance.

Let’s jump right in!

What Are Demerit Points?

Demerit points are a way for the government to track your driving record. They’re added to your record when you commit certain offences, and they can stay on your record for up to two years. 

The number of points you receive depends on the severity of the offence. Here are some things you need to know:

  • If you accumulate too many points, you could face penalties such as licence suspension or revocation.
  • Demerit points can make it difficult to get insurance, as companies often use them to determine rates.
  • Points will stay on your record for two years from the date of the offence, so once those years are over, the demerit points are removed.

Acts That Earn Demerit Points in Ontario

The number of demerit points you receive for an offence depends on the severity of the offence. There are a variety of acts in Ontario that can earn you demerit points:

Seven Demerit Points

  • Hit-and-run
  • Failure to stop when signalled by the police

Six Demerit Points

  • Street racing
  • Reckless driving
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more
  • Failure to stop for a school bus

Five Demerit Points

  • Failure to stop at an unprotected railway crossing

Four Demerit Points

  • Tailgating
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h

Three Demerit Points

  • Driving the wrong way
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving on a closed road
  • Driving through or around a railway crossing barrier
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 16-29 km/h
  • Not obeying stop signs, traffic control signs or traffic lights
  • Refusing to obey a police officer
  • Not yielding the right-of-way
  • Improper passing
  • Improper use of HOV lanes

Two Demerit Points

  • Failing to lower the headlight beam
  • Prohibited turns
  • Improper opening of a vehicle door
  • Towing people
  • Failure to signal
  • Driver failing to ensure an infant passenger is secured
  • Driver failing to ensure a toddler passenger is secured
  • Driver failing to ensure a child is secured
  • Failure to obey signs
  • Failure to share the road
  • Improper right turn
  • Improper left turn
  • Unnecessary slow driving
  • Reversing on a highway

Demerit Points Ontario

How Many Demerit Points Can You Have in Ontario?

The number of demerit points you’re legally allowed to accumulate depends on the type of driver’s license you own. That being said, let’s take a look at the demerit point system in Ontario and the penalties you could face:

Maximum Number of Demerit Points for a Full G License

Fully licensed drivers are allowed up to 15 demerit points before a driver’s license suspension. We’ve broken down the penalties based on the number of demerit points earned:

  • 2-8 demerit points: You get a warning letter.
  • 9-14 demerit points: You can face a driver’s license suspension, and you might need to attend a meeting where you’ll explain your driving and why your driver’s license shouldn’t be suspended. 
  • 15+ demerit points: You get an automatic 30-day suspension and you will need to give up your driver’s license immediately. If you don’t surrender your driver’s license, you could get a 2-year suspension. 

After your suspension ends, you might need to retake the vision, written, and road tests. Should you pass, you’ll get your license back and your demerit points will be brought down to 7.

Maximum Number of Demerit Points for New and Young Drivers

In the case of a new or a young driver, the demerit point system is slightly different. Let’s take a look at what you can expect depending on the number of demerit points you earn:

  • 2-5 demerit points: You’ll receive a letter of warning from the MTO.
  • 6-8 demerit points: You could get your license suspended and might have to show up to a meeting to talk about your driving. A $50 fee will be applied.
  • 9+ demerit points: Your driver’s license will get suspended for 60 days. When you surrender your license, you’ll need to take your driving tests again, after which your demerit points will be decreased to 4. If you accumulate new points, you’ll need to go back for an interview with the MTO.

Keep in mind that your auto insurance quote will substantially increase if you get convicted for any of the abovementioned offences.

Will Demerit Points Affect Your Insurance in Ontario?

Although demerit points won’t influence your car insurance, convictions will. The insurance company will usually observe the type and class of conviction you receive.

Therefore, an insurer will take a look at your driving record and then calculate your premium considering minor or major convictions you may have garnered. 

According to the Highway Traffic Act, the Ontario Government calculates demerit points and uses them to issue driver’s licenses. However, even though demerit points are calculated based on the same convictions that can influence your car insurance, they are only used to establish who is eligible to own a driver’s license in Ontario.

How many demerit points you’ll receive depends on the seriousness of the conviction. For instance, minor violations can get you 0-3 demerit points, while major and criminal violations can earn you 6 or more demerit points. A driver can receive up to 15 points before a license suspension.

Let’s take a look at the conviction categories:

Minor Violations

These are the most common types of tickets drivers receive, including:

  • Failure to fully stop at a red light
  • Taking an improper left turn
  • The majority of speeding tickets

Should you already have a clean driving record, being convicted for one minor violation might not significantly affect your auto insurance. Nevertheless, multiple minor convictions could increase your car insurance rate up to 25% in some more serious cases.

Major Violations

Major violations aren’t as common but are much more severe. These include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to stop for a school bus
  • Driving without your license

In the event of a major conviction, your premium will definitely be affected, no matter your past driving record. 

Criminal Violations

Criminal violations are the most serious out of the three categories and include:

  • Hit-and-run
  • Impaired driving
  • Reckless driving

Generally, your insurer will completely revoke your policy if you get convicted of a criminal violation. After that, your only available alternative would be an expensive “facility” insurer.

Finishing Thoughts

Hopefully, this article helped you understand how demerit points work in Ontario. Just remember to drive safely and avoid getting any tickets. If you do get one, make sure to compare car insurance rates before renewing your policy so that you can get the best deal possible.


How many demerit points can you receive for careless driving?

You receive 6 demerit points for careless driving in Ontario. 

How many demerit points can you receive for speeding?

You receive three to four demerit points for speeding, depending on how fast you’re going. 

How many points do you start with on your license?

You start with zero points on your license in Ontario.

What happens if you get 15 demerit points?

If you get 15 demerit points in Ontario, your license will be suspended for 30 days. After the suspension is over, your demerit points will be reduced.


Mila is an English literature student and a devoted animal's rights advocate. Despite her love for the written word, she's a keen observer of the everyday world and an excellent researcher with a bright and fresh perspective. When she's not doing research, you're most likely to find her out for a walk with her dog or binge-watching a TV show.

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