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Legislation & Data

Provincial laws

Handheld cell phone legislation in Canada

  • All Canadian provinces and territories, except for Nunavut where their Motor Vehicles Act is under review, prohibit the use of handheld electronic devices while driving.
  • Penalties for a first offence currently range from $100 (Newfoundland and Labrador) to $1,275 (Prince Edward Island).
  • Demerit points on the driver’s licence for a distracted driving offence range from 3 to 5 points.
  • British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Northwest Territories have a cumulative fine structure for repeat offenders within a specific time frame.

Prohibited Behaviours

Specific distracted driving behaviours that are prohibited are described in legislation.

  • Drivers are prohibited from holding, touching, viewing, using or manipulating a cell phone while driving in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick.
  • As of July 2017, Canadian jurisdictions do not ban fully licensed drivers from using hands-free cell phones while driving; however, many jurisdictions do prohibit drivers in GDL programs from using hands-free.
  • Alberta is currently the only province with distracted driving legislation that extends beyond the use of handheld electronic devices, to specifically include entering information on GPS, reading printed materials in the vehicle, writing, printing or sketching as well as personal grooming (brushing and flossing teeth, applying makeup, curling hair, clipping nails and shaving)
  • British Columbia and Saskatchewan prohibit GDL drivers from using both handheld and hands-free devices.

Click on a province to access provincial distracted driving legislation information:

Province/ TerritoryFineDemeritsInto Effect
British Columbia1$3684February 2010
Alberta$3003September 2011
Saskatchewan7$5804January 2010
Manitoba4$6725July 2010
Ontario6$615-$1,0003October 2009
Quebec2$300 – $6005April 2008
Newfoundland and Labrador8$300 – $500 1st offence
$500-$750 2nd offence
$750-$1,000 subsequent offences
4April 2003
Prince Edward Island$575-$1,2755January 2010
Nova Scotia$233.95 1st offence
$578.95 3rd & subsequent offences
4April 2008
New Brunswick$340.505June 2011
YukonUp to $5003April 2011
Northwest Territories5$3223January 2012
Nunavut3Motor Vehicles Act is under review & updated legislation may address the use of handheld electronic devices while driving.

Source: Individual Provincial Legislation

1British Columbia – Drivers who have two or more distracted driving tickets in a three-year period will pay a Driver Risk Premium and could see their total financial penalties rise to as much as $2,000 – an increase of $740 over the existing penalties.

2Quebec – Effective June 30, 2018, repeat offence (within a two-year period) is double the minimum fine, or $600 and immediate licence suspension in the case of a repeat offence (within a two-year period) with a first repeat offence = 3 days, second repeat offence = 7 days, third repeat offence = 30 days; and 5 demerit points.

3Nunavut – See June 2, 2015, Commissioner’s Address at the opening of the third session of the fourth legislative assembly of Nunavut.

4Manitoba – Drivers caught violating this law receive a three-day licence suspension for a first offence and a seven-day suspension for subsequent offences. Upon conviction, they also receive a $672 fine and move five levels down the Driver Safety Rating (DSR) scale.

5Northwest Territories – $644 in school and construction zones and administrative driver’s licence suspensions for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th distracted driving offences in a two-year period.

6Ontario – Effective January 1, 2019 – A first conviction will be up to $1000 fine ($615 if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)), 3 points and a 3-day suspension. Penalties increase upon further convictions – details.

7Saskatchewan – Effective February 1, 2020 – A first conviction will be $580 ticket plus 4 demerits. Second offence within a year of being convicted of the first – $1,400 ticket, plus an additional 4 demerits, plus an immediate, 7-day vehicle seizure. Vehicle owners are responsible for the towing and impound fees (cost varies according to mileage, but expect to pay approximately $400 at least). Third offence within a year of conviction of the first – $2,100 ticket, plus 7 more demerits and another 7-day vehicle seizure. (Cost of tickets includes Victims of Crime surcharges)

8Newfoundland and Labrador – Section 176.1 of the Highway Traffic Act. Drivers can also be charged for driving without due care and attention for distracted driving under section 110(1)(a) of the Highway Traffic Act. The fines for this offence are the same as the ones listed above.

Sources of Distracted Driving-Related Data

This section includes a selection of publicly available distracted driving data sources that have been published by Canadian jurisdictions. A brief description of these sources and their associated links has been provided.

It should be noted that definitions of distracted driving, the variables that are included in a dataset that can be used to measure distracted driving, and the means by which these data are collected can vary from one jurisdiction to another. Furthermore, comparing the prevalence or trends in distracted driving between jurisdictions may present challenges. Thus, data presented in these sources should be treated with caution.

Any questions related to these distracted driving data should be directed to the agency that published these documents.

British Columbia

2015 Quick Statistics (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia). This report includes collision data from 2011 to 2015. Data for distracted driving can be found on page 19. See:

2016 Fatal victims by contributing factors (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia). This brief summary shows the number of persons killed by various contributing factors, including distraction, from 2012 to 2016. See:


2017 Distracted Driving Convictions: By Offence Date as of March 31 (Alberta Transportation).  This report provides conviction data from 2013 to 2017 by type of offence. See:

2017 Distracted Driving Convictions: Select Municipalities as of March 31 (Alberta Transportation). Conviction data are presented for Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and the rest of Alberta from 2015 to 2017. Data are provided for number of convictions as well as the conviction rate per 10,000 licensed drivers. See:

2017 Distracted Driving Convictions: By Age and Sex as of March 31 (Alberta Transportation). Conviction data from 2014 to 2017 by driver sex and age group are presented. These data include the number of convictions as well as the conviction rate per 10,000 licensed drivers. See:


2016 Saskatchewan Traffic Accident Facts. The top contributing factors in fatal collisions can be found on page 14. The prevalence of contributing human factors by collision severity is shown on page 16. The number of occurrences of driver human conditions by age group is presented on page 34. See:


2015 Traffic Collision Statistics Report (Manitoba Public Insurance). The frequency of contributing factors by collision severity is shown on page 147. A 5-year average for this table, from 2010-2014, is illustrated on page 150. A summary showing that distracted driving accounted for 23% of all collisions, including 36% of fatal collisions; 25% of injury collisions; and, 22% of property damage only collisions is shown on page 152. See:


2014 Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (Ontario Ministry of Transportation). The number of fatalities by contributing factors is shown on page 12. Distraction-related fatalities from 1995 to 2014 are presented in a figure on page 19. The number of drivers involved in collisions by driver condition by crash severity is shown in a table on page 30. The number of drivers killed by driver condition is presented on page 32. See:


2012 Detailed profile of facts and statistics regarding distracted driving (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec). Driver distraction results including sources of distraction according to a 2012 survey are shown on page 6. The report also includes some historical data since 2008 for convictions, offenders, and injuries in distraction-related incidents. See:

Prince Edward Island

2015 Road Safety Strategy for PEI (PEI Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal). Electronic communications device usage is shown on page 17 for drivers in PEI compared to the rest of Canada. These results are based on the 2012 CCMTA Distracted Driver Survey. This section summarizes electronic device use by drivers based upon driver sex, driver age group, and vehicle type. See:

Northwest Territories

2015 NWT Traffic Collision Facts (Northwest Territories Department of Transportation). Collisions by severity where human action was a major contributing factor is shown on page 8. Off-road vehicle collisions by severity and driver action are shown on page 34. See: