Feb 15, 2023
Ontario Driver's Abstract: When You Need It & How Much it Costs
What is an Ontario driver's abstract and when would you need one? Why do employers ask for it, where and how do you actually get one, and is it expensive? Plus, what documents do you need to renew your driver's license in Ontario? It’s all easier (and cheaper) than you may think – we help break it all down.
When you receive your driver’s license in Ontario, you’ll start enjoying the benefits of being a licensed motorist.
At the same time, recording of your driving record begins: from your first moments as a licensed driver to your last, your driving history is documented along the way, following you around as it’s tied to your individual driver’s license number.
Over time, your driving record will accumulate data, forming a history. To have a clean driving record, you’ll need to have no convictions or infractions.
Below, we’ll dig into what Ontario drivers need to know about getting a driver’s abstract, why they might need one, what’s involved, and what it costs.
What is an Ontario driver's abstract and when would you need one?
According to Ontario.ca, a driver record or abstract is a government-issued document with information about you and your license.
In Ontario, driver abstracts may be certified or uncertified, with both containing your name, license number, date of birth, sex, height, licence class and expiry date, status (licensed, unlicensed, suspended), the earliest license date available, demerit point totals that may have been impacted by an Ontario car accident, and the conditions and endorsements of your license, like the requirement to wear glasses while driving, or the ability to drive a vehicle with air brakes.
They also include active fine suspensions, convictions under the Highway Traffic Act and Criminal Code, as well as suspensions and reinstatements for the past 3 years. This record doesn’t include the driver’s address, beginner driver’s ed course completion dates, or expired medical suspensions.
There are numerous reasons a driver may require a copy of their Ontario driver’s abstract. You may need one to apply for your Ontario car insurance, to apply for certain jobs, to apply for a driver’s license in another province, territory or country, or to confirm your address in court.
Your insurance company, the police or judicial services can all access your Ontario driving record by paying a fee, though your address is not provided.
Why do employers ask for a driver’s abstract?
If you’re applying for a position that involves transporting people, animals or goods, chances are you’ll need a driver’s abstract. An employer may also ask for a driver’s abstract if driving is an essential part of the job you’re applying for, or if use of a company vehicle is part of the job.
Having access to your driver’s abstract helps employers make better and more informed hiring decisions by allowing them to see and assess your driving history and behaviour. Ultimately, this allows employers to help determine whether or not you’re a safe and responsible driver who meets their requirements for safety and risk.
By reviewing a driver’s abstract prior to hiring, businesses can protect themselves by ensuring they’re only hiring the most qualified and proven candidates for the job.
Where and how do you get a driver’s abstract in Ontario?
In Ontario, you can order your driver abstract online, in person, or by mail. Start by choosing the appropriate record before you order.
Two types: certified and uncertified abstract
Ontario driver abstracts come in two flavours: certified and uncertified. Uncertified records meet most needs, but certified records may be required for legal purposes, as they also come with an embossed seal from the Ministry of Transportation.
To order an uncertified Ontario driver’s abstract online, get your driver’s license number ready, along with your Mastercard, Visa or Interac. Then, visit this link and key in all relevant information.
Enter your driver’s license number carefully, as the online system doesn’t validate the number for you. If you enter an incorrect number, you’ll be charged by the system, even if no record is found.
Certified 3 Year Statement of Driving Record
Once your record is found, save or print it immediately. If you need a certified record, you’ll need to visit the Ministry of Transportation website and follow the instructions there.
If you prefer to apply for your Ontario driver’s abstract in person, you’ll need to track down the nearest Service Ontario location with your driver’s license, ID and payment ready. You can pay by cash, debit, Visa, Mastercard, or by cheque made payable to the Minister of Finance.
When applying in person, you’ll get an uncertified record immediately, while certified records with the embossed seal need additional processing time, about 2 weeks, before being mailed to you.
To apply for your Ontario driver’s abstract by mail, download this form, fill it out, and pop it in the mail. When applying by mail, you can pay by cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance, or with your Visa or Mastercard.
Once received, your mail-in application will be processed in about 2 weeks, and the record will be mailed to you.
How much does an Ontario driver’s abstract cost?
You have to pay a fee to access your driver’s record, and that fee varies by the type of driving record you request.
In Ontario, an uncertified driving record costs $12, and a certified record costs $18.
What documents do I need to renew my driver's license in Ontario?
If your Ontario driver’s license is expired or cancelled, you may be eligible to renew online. If your license expired or was cancelled before March 1, 2020, you’ll need to renew it in person. If you just need to renew your license plate, here’s our Ontario license plate renewal guide.
Renewal requirements for driver, vehicle and carrier products
You can find more information on Ontario driver’s license renewal deadlines here.
Remember: your Ontario driver’s license generally needs to be renewed every 5 years, and you may get a renewal notice in the mail a few months before expiry. Driving with an expired or cancelled license is a serious offence that could cost you a conviction on your driving record, result in vehicle impoundment, and result in a fine between $200 and $1000 dollars.
To renew your license, you’ll need proof of your legal name, date of birth, and a document with your signature—like a passport, health card, or combination of other ID cards or documents that satisfy these requirements.