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 Driver's License Suspensions

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January 2009

Can a doctor suspend my driver's licence?

  • No. A doctor cannot suspend your licence. However, under the Highway Traffic Act, a physician is obligated by law, to notify the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) if he or she believes that you have a medical condition that might impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
  • In these circumstances, the doctor will make a report to the MTO. The MTO will review the information provided by your doctor and make a decision to either allow you to continue to drive, request additional information from a physician, or to suspend your driver's licence.

Will the MTO notify me of the suspension?

  • Yes. If the MTO makes a decision to suspend your licence after reviewing the medical information provided by your doctor, it will notify you in writing. A letter is mailed from the Medical Review Section outlining the information required in order to review your file followed by an official Notice of Suspension.

Can I ask the MTO to review the decision to suspend my licence?

  • Yes. Once you have been notified of the suspension in writing, you can request an administrative review with a representative of the Driver Improvement Office by calling the Medical Review Section at the telephone number on the letter that you received. The purpose of the Administrative Review is to give you an opportunity to provide additional information that might not have been available to the MTO at the time it made the decision to suspend your licence.
  • The person conducting the administrative review will not tell you if your licence will be reinstated because it is not his or her decision to make. He or she will simply report back to the MTO the information that you have provided. The Medical Review Section will then review your file and notify you in writing of the outcome. If the MTO has told you that you cannot drive, you must immediately return your licence to the MTO and stop driving.

Can I challenge the decision to continue the suspension of my licence?

  • Yes. You can apply to the Licence Appeal Tribunal to appeal the decision to continue the suspension of your driver's licence. However, you should consider this as your last step in the process and not the first.
  • The Licence Appeal Tribunal is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal authorized under the Highway Traffic Act to hear appeals from drivers who have had their driving privileges suspended or changed from a commercial licence for not meeting the medical standards. For more information, you can contact the Tribunal at:

    Licence Appeal Tribunal
    1 St. Clair Ave. W., 12th Floor
    Toronto, ON M4V 1K6
    Phone: (416) 314-4260
    Toll-free: 1-800-255-2214
    Fax: (416) 314-4270 or
    Fax: 1-800-720-5292 (toll free)
    Website: www.lat.gov.on.ca

What are all of the possible steps in the process?

  1. Your doctor makes a report to the MTO about your medical condition.
  2. The MTO reviews the information provided by your doctor. The MTO can either request additional information or suspend your licence.
  3. If a decision is made to request more information, you will be asked in writing to provide additional information in the form of an assessment. You will only have a certain period of time to complete the assessment – the time will be different for each person. If you do not complete the assessment, you are not allowed to request an administrative review or appeal a decision to the Licence Appeal Tribunal.
  4. If there is a decision to suspend your licence, you will be notified in writing of the suspension and of the medical information required for reinstatement.
  5. You can request an administrative review if you believe the MTO did not have all the information it required to make their decision or it made an incorrect decision. You will then be contacted by a person from the Driver Improvement Office to meet with you to review your file.
  6. You will be notified in writing of the decision resulting from the administrative review.
  7. If there is a decision to continue the suspension of your licence, you can appeal the decision to the Licence Appeal Tribunal.
  8. If you believe that the decision of the Licence Appeal Tribunal was wrong, you may appeal the decision of the Tribunal to the Superior Court of Justice.

What can I do to get my licence back?

  • In addition to or instead of asking for an administrative review or an appeal to the Licence Appeal Tribunal, you may submit new information to the MTO. The MTO requires that you submit a "satisfactory medical report" from your doctor that clearly states that you are no longer a risk to drive and that your medical condition is under control.
  • The "satisfactory medical report" may include a psychiatrist's assessment detailing your psychiatric history, diagnosis, treatment, medication, hospitalization(s) including a discharge summary of the most recent hospitalization, period of stability, current status and prognosis. At times, the MTO requires that you have a period of one year with no symptoms before it will consider reinstating your licence. You can talk to the MTO about what is expected of you, given your individual circumstances.

Can my doctor submit new medical information?

  • Yes. At any time your doctor can submit new medical information to the MTO for review. This doesn't necessarily mean that your licence will be re-instated but it will allow the MTO to review the suspension again. When submitting medical information, you should try and make sure that it is new or additional information that the MTO has not seen that will help them make a new decision – simply re-submitting the same documents will not be helpful.

What can I do if I have a complaint about the driver’s licence suspension process?

  • You may make a complaint to the Ombudsman of Ontario. He is an Officer of the provincial legislature who is independent of government and political parties. The Ombudsman investigates complaints about services provided by the Government of Ontario and its organizations.
  • The Ombudsman is generally an office of last resort so you should first try to resolve your problem by using the complaint and appeal procedures offered by the MTO or the Licence Appeals Tribunal.
  • Generally, the Ombudsman will not investigate a complaint which is more than 12 months old, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • Complaints can be made in writing, by email, online, fax or phone. The Ombud may be contacted at:

    Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
    Bell Trinity Square
    483 Bay Street, 10th Floor, South Tower
    Toronto, ON
    M5G 2C9
  • Phone: 1-800-263-1830
    Fax: 416-586-3485
    TTY (Teletypewriter): 1-866-411-4211
    Website: www.ombudsman.on.ca/en/make-a-complaint.aspx

Questions?

  • If you have any questions or require additional information please contact your local Patient Advocate or the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office toll free at 1-800-578-2343.
  • You can also contact the MTO, Medical Review Section, at (416) 235-1773 or toll-free at 1-800-268-1481. Please remember to have your driver’s licence number available when calling the MTO.

Disclaimer: This material is prepared by the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office with the intention that it provide general information in summary form on legal and advocacy topics which is current when first published. The contents do not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Appropriate legal advice should be obtained in actual situations. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this material, the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the material, including those caused by negligence. The Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office is not responsible for the accuracy of information contained on other websites accessed by links from this website.

   

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