Driverless laws Canada explained




Officially, there is no such thing as a self-driving car, nor is there autonomous cars law in Canada. In 2016, under Canada’s common-law, driving in semi-autonomous mode is no different than operating a vehicle with cruise control. As long as a driver has some ability to assume or resume control of the vehicle, there rules for driver negligence and liability exist the same as for normal driving. The Canadian government has not decided on the faith of fully autonomous vehicles yet. Legislative amendments would be required to clarify liability and other circumstances.


Although there is not fully autonomous cars law in Canada, there are laws on driverless testing. Several Canadian jurisdictions have allowed testing of fully autonomous cars, buses and trucks. Ontario launched a program in January 2016– under specific restrictions – to let auto manufacturers and tech companies try out their driverless inventions on the province’s roadways. But as by July 2016 no applications have been received. These are the specifics on Ontario’s testing pilot:


  • This pilot is restricted to testing purposes only;
  • The pilot will run for 10 years and include interim evaluations;
  • Only vehicles manufactured and equipped by approved applicants are permitted;
  • The driver must remain in the driver's seat of the vehicle at all times and monitor the vehicle's operation;
  • The driver must hold a full class licence for the type of vehicle being operated;
  • Eligible participants must have insurance of at least $5,000,000;
  • All current Highway Traffic Act rules of the road and penalties will apply to the driver/vehicle owner; and,
  • Vehicles must comply with SAE Standard J3016 and any requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada) that apply to automated driving systems for the vehicle's year of manufacture.