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driving concerns

Most jurisdictions share driving infractions, such as speeding.David Lentz/Getty Images/iStockphoto

I live in Ontario but I’m in British Columbia temporarily for work and am driving a rental car. I was issued a $135 speeding ticket for going 84 km/h in a 50 km/h zone. Will this offence and the demerits be added to my Ontario driving record? – Cheryl

If you'd been caught speeding in most any other province or territory, you'd be getting demerits on your Ontario licence.

But what happens in British Columbia, stays in British Columbia.

"B.C. offences by out-of-province drivers are not shared with other jurisdictions," Lindsay Olsen, spokeswoman for Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, said in an e-mail.

The Canadian Driver Licence Compact (CDLC) is a 1990 agreement to share driving records between the provinces and territories.

Everyone signed it – except B.C., Quebec and Nunavut.

So, in British Columbia, that means out-of-province drivers won't have B.C. tickets added to their driving records – and vice versa. "If a B.C. driver were to receive a violation ticket – for example, a speeding ticket – outside of our province, it would not be added to their driving record in B.C.," Olsen said.

The exception? Criminal Code convictions, including impaired driving, appear on all provincial and territorial driving records "… so it would be added to a driver's record in B.C., no matter where in Canada the offence occurred," Olsen said.

Share and share alike?

But in most other province, offences away from home will get added to your driving record, the same as if they'd happened at home.

For example, if you live in Ontario and get a speeding ticket in Saskatchewan, you'd get the equivalent number of demerits added to your licence. And the reverse is true.

"Saskatchewan belongs to [the CDLC] where the guiding principle is one driver, one driver's licence and one driver record," said Tyler McMurchy, spokesman for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, in an e-mail. "This agreement furthers highway safety by treating similar convictions and administrative sanctions that occurred in one province as if they had occurred in the driver's home province."

That includes demerits. Demerits are strikes against your driving record – if you get too many, your licence will be suspended. The rules for how out-of-province demerits are applied vary by province.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation , only demerits from certain out-of-province offences – including speeding, failure to obey a stop sign or signal, and failure to stop for a school bus – will get added to your Ontario licence.

But that doesn't mean an Ontario driver's record will stay unscathed if they're caught speeding in Quebec.

Quebec and Ontario have their own reciprocal record-sharing agreement, which means that all offences – and demerits – will be shared between the two provinces.

Outside of the CDLC, some provinces have their own agreements with American states. Ontario has agreements with New York and Michigan, while Quebec has agreements with Maine and New York.

If you don't pay

And if you don't pay your out-of-province speeding ticket?

It varies. In British Columbia, the province can get a collection agency to go after out-of-province drivers for the unpaid fine, Olsen said.

Provinces also have the ability to go through the Canada Revenue Agency and take the amount owing from GST rebates and income tax refunds, McMurchy said.

Even when driving records are shared between jurisdictions, your home province can't prevent you from renewing your driver's licence or registration for an unpaid ticket from another province, the way it would for an unpaid ticket at home. But, if you go back to a province where you have unpaid tickets, you could get pulled over.

"In Ontario, MTO does not have the authority to force the driver to pay an out-of-province ticket," said Brian Smiley, spokesman for Manitoba Public Insurance. "If the driver returns to Manitoba, Manitoba does not have the authority to suspend the out-of-province driver – but the driver could be detained by police."

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