Ontario woman has driver's licence suspended because of 16-year-old ticket

Service Ontario office in Kingston, Ont., on March 23, 2016. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

A Mississauga, Ont. woman said when she received a letter in February last year that showed her driver’s licence had been suspended she had no idea why.

"I was completely shocked. I had no idea something like this was even possible," Cheryl Browne told CTV News Toronto.

Browne said when she finally got into a traffic court last September to deal with the issue, she found out her licence had been suspended because of a 16-year-old traffic ticket.

She has been dealing with the ticket for more than a year now because of massive delays at Service Ontario due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"After checking the system, they said I had a 16-year-old ticket that I had been to court for. But the police officer did not show up and the ticket was tossed out by the judge in 2004," Browne said.

Browne has now decided to pay the ticket fine of $159 to get her licence back and after she did, she went to Service Ontario to get her licence plate sticker.

"I went to Service Ontario to get my sticker and they gave me a sticker and said I didn't have to pay any reinstatement fees," Browne said.

That's when Browne got a letter from her insurance company that said "The driver has been deleted from this policy due to their unlicenced driver status. Please send proof of licence re-instatement."

Browne was told to provide proof that her licence had been reinstated by the end of April 2021 or her insurance would be cancelled.

"I would like to have my driver's licence re-instated and I don't feel I should face any penalties for this ticket, which is 16 years old and had been thrown out by the court system," Browne said.

When CTV News Toronto reached out to Ontario's Ministry of Transportation about the issue, a spokesperson said an unpaid fine suspension comes with a reinstatement fee of $281.

"A driver's licence will not be issued until both fines and fee are paid in full," the spokesperson said.

Browne feels it's unfair, but will now have to pay the fee or risk losing her insurance coverage, meaning she could face higher premiums with another company.

The transportation ministry has been going back further and further searching for unpaid tickets. If you have an old ticket you haven't paid or you thought was dealt with you could also get a letter.

If you do, try to deal with it right away.