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How Ignition Interlock Will Work in Ontario
December 23rd, 2002 marks the one-year anniversary date of the proclamation of the Ontario Ignition Interlock Program. Now any driver who commits and is subsequently convicted of a drinking and driving offence will, upon reinstatement have a mandatory ignition interlock condition placed on his/her licence.  Persons who are charged and convicted of an impaired driving offence, are subject to the program as it is a mandatory in the province of Ontario.

How does an ignition interlock device work?
Before starting the vehicle, a driver must provide a breath sample.  If the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the pre-set limit, the vehicle won't start.  Once the vehicle is started, the interlock device requires the driver to provide breath samples at random pre-set times while the engine is running.  If a sample is not provided, or if the BAC exceeds the limit, the device will issue a warning, record the event and activate specific alarms within the interlock until the vehicle ignition is turned off.

What are the details of the program?
After serving the current provincial sanctions, licence suspension, remedial programs, offenders will have an ignition interlock restricted drivers licence issued to them.  The offender must register with the service provider and have an ignition interlock installed in their vehicle.  The device will be inspected regularly by the service provider.  When the condition period is over, the offender must apply to the ministry of transportation to have the condition removed from their licence.

Who must have the device installed?
Any person who commits an impaired driving offence on or after December 23, 2001, and is convicted, must have the interlock installed in their vehicle at their expense, after their licence is reinstated.  To have a licence reinstated offenders must first complete the mandatory suspension period including remedial measures (assessment, education or treatment and follow-up) program.  Program violations will affect the amount of time the condition remains on the licence of a first-time offender for an additional year from the date of a tampering report.


The length of time that convicted offenders must use an ignition interlock device to drive is:

Impaired Conviction

Mandatory provincial licence suspension

Minimum time with interlock condition on driverís licence


1 year

1 year


3 years

3 years


Lifetime (possible reduction to 10 years)

Lifetime (if lifetime suspension is reduced)

Fourth and subsequent

  Lifetime suspension

  No option for reinstatement


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