What the Law Says

The Highway Safety Code (HSC) is clear: wearing a seat belt correctly is mandatory. If you fail to do so, you face a fine and having 3 demerit points entered in your driving record.

In brief

“Every person [...] must, while in a moving road vehicle, wear, properly fastened, the seat belt with which his [or her] seat is equipped.” (s. 396 HSC)

“No person may either effect or cause the removal, alteration or putting out of service of a seat belt with which the seats of a road vehicle are equipped under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Statutes of Canada, 1993, chapter 16).” (s. 250 HSC)


Wearing a seat belt is not mandatory if you are backing up, but only for the time it takes to do so.

If you have an exceptional medical condition, you can apply to be exempt from wearing a seat belt. Your attending physician must provide a detailed report demonstrating that you have an exceptional medical condition for which there is no other suitable solution, such as using a seat belt extension.


If you fail to buckle up

  • A fine of $200 to $300
  • 3 demerit points

If a seat belt has been removed, modified or made unusable

  • A fine of $200 to $300

Find out more about the rules concerning modified cars.

Drivers are responsible for their passengers

You are responsible for ensuring that all your passengers under 16 years of age buckle up. If any of your passengers under 16 are not buckled up, you face:

  • a fine of $80 to $100
  • 3 demerit points

No passengers without a seat belt!

The maximum number of passengers, regardless of their age, is equal to the number of places equipped with a seat belt installed by the manufacturer.

Seat belt or booster seat?

In a vehicle, children must be secured in a child safety seat that is appropriate for their weight and height until they are 145 cm tall or 9 years old.

If you fail to buckle a child into an appropriate seat, you face:

  • a fine of $80 to $100
  • 3 demerit points

Before using a regular seat belt

The child’s position in the vehicle’s seat must be checked:

  • when seated, the child’s back must be flat against the backrest and his or her legs must be long enough that the knees are bent over the edge of the seat—the child must be able to maintain this position comfortably and without effort throughout the trip
  • when the seat belt is fastened, it must cross:
    • over the middle of the shoulder (collarbone) and not over the neck
    • over the hips (pelvis) and not over the stomach

You Must Also Wear Your Seat Belt in a Taxi or When Using a Rideshare Service. It’s the Law!

The law doesn’t change. Passengers in these types of vehicles must always buckle up.

If passengers under 16 years of age don’t fasten their seat belts

It is the adult accompanying the child, and not the qualified driver, who faces a fine and demerit points.

Once they turn 14, passengers could be fined and the demerit points entered on their driving record.

Riding in a taxi or using a rideshare service with a young child

When riding in these types of vehicles, if there are no child safety seats, children must wear seat belts, except if they are too young to maintain an upright position on their own. In the latter case, you should first buckle your seat belt, and then hold the child in your arms.

Do not buckle the child in with you because your weight could crush him or her in the event of a collision or sudden braking.

For safety reasons, riding in  a taxi or using a rideshare service with a child should be avoided, except in an emergency, unless you are able to secure the child in a safety seat.

Qualified drivers and seat belts

While on duty, qualified drivers are required to wear their seat belts at all times. Under no circumstances are they exempt from this obligation.

Last update: June  3, 2022