Registration and Insurance

How to register and insure your vehicle, and the costs involved, are different for each province. 

In Alberta, the registration of vehicles is set out in The Traffic Safety Act and the Operating, Licensing & Vehicle Control Regulations.

The Traffic Safety Act stipulates what is required of a driver for licensing, registration, insurance and permits. Some important points to be aware of are:

  • You must have a valid license that is in your possession when you are on the road.
  • If you are supervising someone with a learner’s licence, you must be sitting in the front passenger seat.
  • All vehicles and trailers must have valid registration and insurance.
  • Your license plate must be displayed in accordance with regulations. In Alberta, this means you must have one visible plate on the back of your vehicle.
  • Every licence plate actually belongs to the Crown, and you must return it when requested by the Registrar to do so.  If your registration has been cancelled, it’s up to you to return the license plate and your registration documents to the Registrar.
  • You must not mutilate, falsify, alter or deface any motor vehicle documents.

Common Offences

Driving with No Insurance

Under s. 54(1) of the Traffic Safety Act, it is an offence to drive an uninsured vehicle.  If you are pulled over by a police officer you may be charged even if the vehicle is not yours.  If you borrow someone’s vehicle, you must always check to make sure the vehicle has a valid pink slip.  Also, the registered owner of the uninsured vehicle may be charged for allowing the vehicle to be driven.   This is a serious offence and there aren’t very many defences. 

If the judge finds you guilty you will face an automatic $2500.00 fine and a mandatory victim fine surcharge of $375.00—a total of $2875.00 in fines.  If you do not pay this in the time allowed, you could spend anywhere from 45 days to 6 months in jail, depending on the circumstances.  

If you have two offences of driving without valid insurance within a one year period, there is a mandatory sentence of 60 days in jail.  Also, if you are found guilty, a drivers licence suspension can be ordered. If you are convicted again within the next 5 years from the day of your first conviction, you will receive a fine of between $5000 and $20,000, and if you fail to pay, you may serve time in jail from 60 days to 6 months.

Driving with No Registration

Under s. 52 of the Traffic Safety Act, it is an offence to drive a vehicle without valid registration.  Even if you are driving someone else’s vehicle and it is not registered, you will be charged. The owner can also be charged for letting you drive it.  As the driver, it is your responsibility to make sure the vehicles you drive are registered.  

If you are stopped by a police officer in Alberta and charged with no registration, you face a fine of $230.  The Registrar may also cancel the registration for every motor vehicle owned by you if you are found guilty of a conviction relating to registration and insurance.

Next section