What the law says about failure to stop at a stop sign in Ontario

11 minute read Published on May 11, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

Red stop sign with foliage behind

Failing to stop at a stop sign is a traffic offence. More specifically, it is one of many different types of traffic violations. Traffic violations end up on your driving record, which can increase your insurance rates. Plus, they often result in fines and even the suspension of your driver’s licence. Keep reading to learn more about what the law says about failure to stop at a stop sign.

Stop sign-related traffic violations under the Highway Traffic Act

There are a few different stop sign-related traffic violations in Ontario, and they are as follows:

  • Disobey Stop Sign – Stop In Wrong Place
  • Disobey Stop Sign – Stop In Wrong Place – Community Safety Zone
  • Disobey Stop Sign – Fail To Stop
  • Disobey Stop Sign – Fail To Stop – Community Safety Zone

As you can see, the two main types of stop sign violations are stopping in the wrong place, e.g. parking near a stop sign and failing to stop altogether at a stop sign. Committing these offences in a Community Safety Zone are listed as separate offences because they come with steeper penalties.

Details on offences relating to stop signs can be found in section 136(1)(a) of the Highway Traffic Act. This section reads, “Every driver or streetcar operator approaching a stop sign at an intersection shall stop his or her vehicle or streetcar at a marked stop line or, if none, immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk or, if none, immediately before entering the intersection.”

As you can see, the Highway Traffic Act clearly outlines what is considered a stop at a stop sign and even lays out the successive default for stopping, e.g. a marked stop line, a crosswalk, and the nearest intersection. Therefore, a stop sign-related offence can be committed if the driver fails to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and if they stop at an inappropriate place, e.g., stopping beyond the marked stop line, crosswalk, or intersection.

What is a disobeyed stop sign ticket?

If you disobey a stop sign, you can receive a ticket. This is one of four penalties you may receive. The others are demerit points, a violation that goes on your driving record, and an insurance premium increase. Thus, if you get a disobey stop sign ticket in Ontario, you will incur the following penalties:

  • Three demerit points
  • A fine of $110.00
  • The conviction will be registered on your driving record and will remain there for three years
  • Your car insurance premium will increase

Fines for failing to stop at a stop sign

As mentioned above, the fine for failing to stop at a stop sign is $110 in Ontario, but let’s break this down a little bit further. Fines in Ontario consist of two parts. The first is the base fine, which is $85 for stop sign-related offences. The second is the court cost and victim surcharge fine. In Ontario, the court cost for traffic tickets is $5. Victim surcharges vary, but for stop sign-related tickets, they are $20, which is how drivers incur a total fine of $110.

Please note that this $110 fine and the three demerit points are the penalties you will face if you are convicted of disobeying a stop sign on a regular road. The fine and number of demerit points will be higher if you disobey a stop sign in a Community Safety Zone. These numbers may also vary by province or territory.

Coming to a complete stop at a stop sign

If you want to avoid being charged with a stop sign related offence, you must come to a complete stop every time that you are passing a stop sign. Part of the equation is knowing where to stop, which the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario defines very clearly. You must stop at the marked stop line. If there is no marked stop line, then you must stop before entering the nearest crosswalk, and if there is no crosswalk, then you must stop before entering the intersection. While there may not be a marker denoting the start of the intersection, you will need to use your best judgment.

In addition to knowing where to stop, you must know how to come to a complete stop. This is an important driving skill and one that you would have needed to demonstrate on your G2 and G road tests in Ontario. How do you know that you have come to a complete stop? You must press the brake pedal until the car stops moving, let the car rock back, and then wait three seconds before proceeding. Slowing down or coming to a rolling stop will not do. If a law enforcement officer sees you come to an incomplete stop, you can receive a ticket.

Please note that the Highway Traffic Act does not specify how long the stop must be; it only requires that it be a full and complete stop. To be on the safe side, experts recommend stopping for a minimum of three seconds before proceeding.

The importance of stopping at stop signs

The reason that coming to a complete stop and stopping in the appropriate place at a stop sign are so important is because failure to do so can result in an accident. If you are involved in an accident, you could be injured or injure someone else. In addition, accidents often result in property damage. Although your third-party liability car insurance may cover the cost of an at-fault accident after you drive through a stop sign without stopping, there can still be other serious consequences.

Plus, your insurance rates are likely to go up, whether you incur a disobeyed stop sign ticket or you get into an at-fault accident because you disobeyed a stop sign. At the end of the day, if you want to be a safe and responsible driver, then you must abide by all traffic rules and regulations in your province, and that means coming to a full and complete stop at all stop signs.

How to fight a stop sign ticket in Ontario

If you receive a stop sign ticket but believe that the conviction is unfair, you have the option of fighting it in Ontario, though the process can be lengthy and expensive. You will likely need to hire an attorney to help you come up with a defence strategy and represent you in court. Below are the steps on how you can go about fighting a stop sign ticket in Ontario:

  • First, you must file your stop sign ticket with the court within 15 days of receiving it.
  • Next, work with your attorney to discuss a suitable defence. Your attorney may also meet with the prosecutor to discuss a possible substitute offence on your behalf.
  • If a court option is chosen, there will usually be a meeting between the defence and the prosecution first to discuss a possible resolution and avoid a trial.
  • If a resolution cannot be agreed upon, then the case will proceed to a trial, and a judge will issue a ruling.

Other traffic violations in Canada

Now that you know more about stop sign violations in Canada, let’s dive into a few other common types of traffic violations and the consequences that come with them. From speeding to texting and driving, continue reading to learn more about these traffic offences:


Speeding is a common traffic offence and also one of the most common causes of accidents. For this reason, penalties for speeding are severe, especially if you are caught speeding in a Community Safety Zone. Speeding fines are issued based on the speed at which you were travelling during the accident. This means that they vary considerably.

If you are caught speeding on a regular road, the fines will be calculated as such:

  • 1-19 km/h over the speed limit = $2.50 per kilometre
  • 20-29 km/h over the speed limit = $3.75 per kilometre
  • 30-39 km/h over the speed limit = $6.00 per kilometre
  • 50km/h or more over the speed limit = Settled in court

However, if you are caught speeding in a Community Safety Zone, you will receive a fine that is double that of a regular fine. Specifically, fines for speeding in Community Safety Zones are calculated according to the following rates:

  • 1-19 km/h over the speed limit = $5.00 per kilometre
  • 20-29 km/h over the speed limit = $7.50 per kilometre
  • 30-39 km/h over the speed limit = $12.00 per kilometre
  • 50km/h or more over the speed limit = Settled in court

Beyond the speeding ticket fine, you will also need to pay a court fee of $5 and a victim surcharge fee. Victim surcharge fees vary between drivers as they are based on the speeding ticket fine you incurred. Victim surcharge fines are calculated as follows:

  • $0-$50 speeding ticket fine = $10 victim surcharge fine
  • $51-$75 speeding ticket fine = $15 victim surcharge fine
  • $76-$100 speeding ticket fine = $20 victim surcharge fine
  • $101-$150 speeding ticket fine = $25 victim surcharge fine
  • $151-$200 speeding ticket fine = $35 victim surcharge fine
  • $201-$250 speeding ticket fine = $50 victim surcharge fine
  • $251-$300 speeding ticket fine = $60 victim surcharge fine
  • $301-$350 speeding ticket fine = $75 victim surcharge fine
  • $351-$400 speeding ticket fine = $85 victim surcharge fine
  • $401-$450 speeding ticket fine = $95 victim surcharge fine
  • $451-$500 speeding ticket fine = $110 victim surcharge fine
  • $501-$1000 speeding ticket fine = $125 victim surcharge fine
  • Over $1000 speeding ticket fine = 25% of speeding ticket fine

Please note that most speeding tickets, aside from photo radar tickets, will go on your driving record, which means they can impact your insurance rates. The amount that your rates will increase depends on the severity of the speeding ticket you received, as well as the total amount of speeding tickets on your record.

Driving without car insurance

Driving without car insurance is another traffic violation in Ontario. Car insurance is a legal requirement everywhere in the province, so if you choose to drive without it, you are breaking the law. As such, you can face serious fines, along with other consequences. Although driving without car insurance does not result in any demerit points, you can receive a fine of up to $25,000 for a first offence and up to $50,000 for a second offence. On top of this, you will need to pay a 25% surcharge on any fine incurred. Plus, your vehicle could be impounded, and your driver’s licence could be suspended for up to 365 days. In addition, your insurance rates are likely to be higher, or it could be difficult for you to obtain insurance altogether if you are caught driving without insurance.

Texting and driving

Texting and driving, which is a form of distracted driving, is also a traffic offence in Ontario. The minimum fine for texting and driving is $615 for a first conviction in Ontario, which includes the court fee and victim surcharge fee. However, the maximum fine for a first conviction is $1,000. You will also receive three demerit points and a three-day driving suspension.

For a second conviction, you will be charged a fine of $615. However, if you fight the ticket in court and lose, this fine can go up to $2,000. In addition, you will be charged six demerit points and will face a driver’s licence suspension of seven days.

Finally, for a third or subsequent texting and driving conviction, you will face a $615 fine if you settle out of court. This fine can go up to $3,000 if you attempt to fight the ticket in court and lose. You will also receive six demerit points and face a 30-day driving suspension.

It is also worth noting that if you are a novice driver, e.g. you hold a G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence in Ontario and you are charged with distracted driving, you will face the same fines as those listed above. You will not receive any demerit points, but in lieu of demerit points, you will receive harsher suspensions. More specifically, you will face a 30-day driver’s licence suspension for a first conviction, a 90-day driver’s licence suspension for a second conviction, and the cancellation of your licence in the event of a third conviction.

Examples of minor traffic violations in Ontario

  • Crowding vehicles with more people than seat belts
  • Defective brakes
  • Driver’s licence violations
  • Driving with an insecure load
  • Driving with open alcohol in the vehicle
  • Driving without an up-to-date inspection sticker
  • Failing to share the road
  • Failing to signal
  • Failure to use seat belts
  • Failing to yield to another vehicle or pedestrian
  • Failure to surrender your licence to authority
  • Failure to produce evidence of insurance to authority
  • Driving without insurance
  • Following too closely
  • Headlight offences
  • Improper driving in a bus lane
  • Improper opening of the door
  • Improper passing, lane change, or turn
  • Improper railway crossing
  • Improper towing
  • Improper use of divided highway
  • Obstruction of licence plate
  • Obstructing the view of other drivers
  • Obstructing traffic
  • Overloading
  • Seat belt infraction
  • Speeding
  • Stop sign or traffic light infraction
  • Unnecessary noise
  • Unnecessary slow driving
  • Unsafe move
  • Unsafe or prohibited turn
  • Unsafe vehicle
  • Use of radar warning device
  • Wrong way on one way

Examples of major traffic violations in Ontario

  • Distracted driving, e.g. texting and driving
  • False statement of insurance
  • Failure to follow restrictions in a school zone or improper passing zone
  • Failing to report an accident
  • Failure to report damage to highway property
  • Failure to stop for an emergency vehicle
  • Failing to stop or improperly passing at a school bus
  • Producing false evidence of licence or insurance
  • Speeding in a construction zone
  • Violation of licence conditions (non-alcohol)

Examples of criminal traffic violations in Ontario

  • Dangerous driving
  • Criminal negligence
  • Driving above the alcohol limit in Ontario, e.g. with a blood alcohol level over 0.08
  • Driving while under suspension
  • Failing to obey police
  • Failing to remain at an accident scene
  • Motor manslaughter
  • Operating a motor vehicle without insurance
  • Racing
  • Speeding 50 km/h over the posted speed limit
  • Refusing a breathalyzer test
  • Stunt driving or drag racing
  • Violation of licence conditions (alcohol-related)

Get in touch with BrokerLink

If you want to learn more about stop sign-related offences in your province, reach out to BrokerLink today. A BrokerLink insurance advisor can explain how stop sign laws work where you live and offer tips on how to avoid a disobeyed stop sign speed ticket. Further, if you want to learn how stop sign tickets impact car insurance, we can help with that, too. One of our licensed insurance advisors can offer insight into how your rates may go up after receiving a stop sign ticket or getting into an at-fault accident after failing to stop at a stop sign.

Of course, as auto insurance experts, we can also give you general tips for safe driving, such as how to come to a complete stop or how to emergency stop a car.

On top of this, it’s our job as an insurance brokerage to make sure that our customers have the best possible policies for their needs. We constantly strive to find personalized coverage for each and every one of our customers. A few types of auto insurance we can help you add to your policy include:

Your dedicated insurance broker will take the time to explain each type of coverage out there and offer a professional opinion on what types make the most sense for your needs and driving habits.

We can also offer you a free car insurance quote so that you can get an idea of how much an auto insurance policy will cost you. All BrokerLink insurance quotes are obligation-free, not to mention extremely accurate and reliable. Simply answer some basic questions about yourself, your vehicle, and your insurance needs, and you can receive a quote in as little as five minutes. Get started today by calling BrokerLink, visiting one of our locations across Canada, or using the online quote tool on our website.

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