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                A lot of people are confused about what is commonly called the ignition interlock program so I have attempted to gather all the information you need to know together in one place to assist you in making an informed decision and participating in the program if you so choose.


                If you are charged with an alcohol impaired (Impaired, Over 80, Refuse to provide breath sample) driving conviction the court will impose a prohibition of driving anywhere in Canada for a minimum period of one (1) year. In addition the Province of Ontario will suspend your driving license for the same one (1) year period.

                Notwithstanding the 1 year prohibition, if this is your first offence and the circumstances of the offence did not involve drugs, did not cause death or bodily harm, you have not been convicted of drive while disqualified in the last 5 years, were not already subject to an ignition interlock condition and the judge has not denied you authorization to drive with an ignition interlock device, you are eligible for the “Ignition Interlock Review Program”.


                The standard sanctions for first time offenders is a one (1) year suspension followed by a one (1) year ignition interlock condition (for a total of 2 years).

                If you plead guilty, are convicted and sentenced within 90 days of the offence date and meet all other criteria you will be entered into stream “A” and the suspension is for a period of three (3) months followed by a nine (9) month ignition interlock condition (for a total of one (1) year).

                If you do not plead guilty within 90 days of the offence date yet still meet all other criteria you will be entered into stream “B” and the suspension is for a period of six (6) months followed by a twelve (12) month ignition interlock condition (for a total of 18 months).

                If you chose not to enter the reduced suspension program that you must serve the standard sanctions for first time offenders as described above, a license suspension of one (1) year, complete the remedial measures program, have an ignition interlock condition on your license for a minimum of one (1) year following the one (1) year suspension and apply for the removal of the condition thereafter.


                In order to successfully enter the program you must:

  1. Pay all outstanding fees and fines which include the fine imposed upon conviction together with the victim surcharge added to the fine by the Province.
  2. Not have any other active suspension.
  3. Complete the assessment component of the required “Back on Track” remedial measures program.
  4. Pay the non-refundable registration fee of $634.00
  5. Sign a lease agreement for an ignition interlock device with an approved ignition interlock service provider.


                Upon your conviction the Ministry of Transportation Ontario is electronically notified.  Eligible drivers will receive an individualized information package from the Ministry with information on how to meet the requirements for entry into the program.


                The Back on Track program is operated by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) (416-595- 6593 or 1-888-814-5831).  There are 3 components to the program.  They are:

  1. Assessment – This component determines the extent of the drinking and driving problem and whether an education or treatment program is the most appropriate intervention. You must complete the application portion of the program before you are eligible to enter the ignition interlock program. There are three steps to completion of the application which are:
  2. Register
  3. Schedule an assessment
  4. Complete the assessment

The assessment takes about one hour.  The entire component however can take up to 90 days to complete so you need to apply immediately following notice.

  1. Education or treatment component – The education program is a one day workshop of 8 hours duration. The treatment program is a two day workshop of 16 hours duration.
  1. Follow-up component – You must complete a follow up interview in person or by telephone, which takes about 30 minutes,  within 6 months after completing the workshop,

All three components of the remedial measures program must be completed before you can exit the interlock program with full license reinstatement.


                An ignition interlock device is an in-car alcohol breath screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the pre-set limit of 0.02.  The device is located inside the vehicle, near the driver’s seat and is connected to the engine’s ignition system.  Before your vehicle is started the interlock device will require you to provide breath samples at random pre-set times while the engine is running.  If you don’t provide a sample or if your BAC exceeds the limit, the device will issue a warning, record the event and activate specific alarm systems of the vehicle until you turn the ignition off.

                The program is performance based and all interlock activity will be recorded and monitored.  Every 60 days participants must return to the ignition interlock service provider to download interlock data and calibrate the device.  Performance failures include blowing over the BAC fail point of 0.02 and missing a random rolling re-test.  Any performance failure in the last 3 months of the installation period will extend the installation period by 3 months.


                There are only two approved ignition interlock service providers in Ontario.  They are:

ALCOLOCK Canada Inc.                   1-866-658-6374

1 A Lifesafer of Canada                  1-888-769-6080

You will need to contact one of the service providers directly for information about cost and their locations.


                In order to have the “I” condition removed from your license you must apply to the Ministry of Transportation to do so.  You will have needed to complete the remedial measure program and at the end of the interlock period provide an acceptable final ignition interlock report with no performance failures in the last three (3) months.  Performance failures will extend the interlock period.


You can find further information at the government website page

and links from there to more specific information about the various aspects of the program.

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