Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

One might need an officer’s notes or witness statements of a collission as part of a civil suit against the other driver.


I was in a car accident last year and I've since had medical issues, time off work and financial repercussions. I'm hoping to get a deferral on my taxes – but I'll need the accident report. It's been surprisingly difficult to get. I went to the OPP and they told me I'd need to file a Freedom of Information request. Isn't this information supposed to be publicly available? – Chris, Toronto

In Ontario, you can get a copy of your collision report instantly, but it might not have the impact you need.

"It would have the date, time, location, who was involved, a list of any injuries and usually a diagram of the collision," said Sergeant Carolle Dionne, Ontario Provincial Police spokeswoman. "It's not an FOI [Freedom of Information] process unless you need more than that."

Story continues below advertisement

In Ontario, police take collision reports if there's been an injury or property damage, if damage to all vehicles looks as if it will be more than $2,000 or if there's a suspected crime, such as impaired driving or a hit-and-run.

If there are injuries, property damage or a crime, police will come to the scene of the crash and write the report in person. Otherwise, they'll direct you to the nearest accident reporting centre and an officer will write the report there. Either way, the reports are the same.

"These reports contain detailed information pertaining to a collision event, such as road conditions, location, information on vehicles and drivers involved, persons involved and the severity of their injuries," Bob Nichols, Ontario's Ministry of Transportation (MTO) spokesman, said in an e-mail statement. "Police submit an electronic collision report to MTO, provide a copy of the report to each driver involved in the collision, a copy to the municipality where the collision occurred, and retain a copy for their records."

How to get a copy

If you don't have the copy police gave you or you need another, there are two ways to get one.

ServiceOntario charges $12 – $18 if you want it certified. While the website says the report is only available in a paper copy and gets mailed in four to six weeks, Nichols said you can get an "instantaneous" copy if you order online.

You can also get a copy from the police force that handled the collision. In Toronto, that would be the OPP for incidents on 400-series highways and Toronto police for everywhere else.

Story continues below advertisement

Toronto police charge $67.80 and you can order one by mail or in person at police headquarters. The OPP charge $42.25 and you can get it at the detachment.

"The collision reports are not public information and only those involved may obtain them," said Constable Clint Stibbe, with Toronto police traffic services.

Across Canada, the way to order an accident report varies by city and province – some provinces, such as Quebec, allow you to pick up a copy in person.

Insufficient information?

So what's not in those collision reports? Well, they won't have addresses or phone numbers. And, if there were young offenders, all their identifying information will be redacted, Nichols said.

The reports also don't include the officer's notes, statements from drivers and witnesses or the police photos of the damage.

Story continues below advertisement

For those, you'd need to file a request through MTO's Freedom of Information and privacy office.

"The FOI office will determine if the information you seek can be released to the public," Nichols said.

So why might you need the officer's notes or witness statements?

"It might be part of a civil suit against the other driver," Dionne said.

Taxpayer relief?

A copy of the accident report – the one available from police or the province – might come in handy if you were late filing your taxes because of the accident.

Story continues below advertisement

"If you were in an accident one year and were late to file, they may give you relief from penalties for that particular year," said Dale Barrett, a Toronto tax lawyer.

While there's "no mechanism" to defer or postpone paying taxes entirely, you can apply to ask Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to waive penalties and interest in "extraordinary circumstances," including serious accidents and illnesses, Barrett said.

"You've got to give them a complete understanding of the entire situation. You need good documentation – the more, the merrier," Barrett said. "Make sure you have the accident report and doctor's letters and affidavits from family and friends – whatever can corroborate your story."

The application typically takes 18 months – and you'll still have to make payments while it's pending, Barrett said.

"It's a very difficult application to have succeed," Barrett said. "I always wonder if the taxpayer relief committee has to give up their own money if they approve an application."

Have a driving question? Send it to Canada's a big place, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

Story continues below advertisement

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.

Ford has unveiled a new version of its Bullitt Mustang, which adds power and classic styling cues to the muscle car. Ford also took the wraps off its Ranger pickup, finally destined for North America after finding success overseas.
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies