Can You Fight a Red Light Camera Ticket in Ontario?

Many drivers in Ontario wonder if it’s possible to contest a red light camera ticket. The short answer is yes, you can fight a red light camera ticket in Ontario, but understanding what this means is crucial before deciding to take action.


Understanding Vicarious Liability

Red light camera tickets are issued based on vicarious liability, meaning the ticket is issued to the vehicle’s owner regardless of who was driving at the time of the infraction. Unlike other traffic violations, red light camera tickets do not affect your driving record or driver’s abstract. 


The Cost of Fighting a Red Light Camera Ticket

Fighting a red light camera ticket involves weighing the costs against the potential benefits. Given that these tickets do not impact your driving record and are primarily just fines, the expense of hiring legal assistance to contest the ticket might not be your best option. The process of fighting the ticket could end up costing more than the fine itself, without any guarantee of success.


When to Consider Fighting the Ticket

Despite the potential costs, there are situations where you might still consider contesting a red light camera ticket:

  • If there are errors on the ticket: Mistakes in the ticket details could be grounds for dismissal.
  • Personal principles: Some individuals may choose to fight the ticket based on principle, regardless of the financial implications.
  • Financial considerations: If the fine poses a significant financial burden, attending court might result in the fine being reduced or an extension granted for payment.


Practical Advice

For those considering fighting a red light camera ticket, it’s essential to weigh the likelihood of success against the potential costs. While you have every right to request a trial and present your case, remember that the primary outcome of contesting a red light camera ticket is typically a fine reduction or extended payment period, rather than complete dismissal.


Video Transcription:

Can you fight a red light camera ticket in Ontario? The answer is yes, but I need to qualify what that yes actually means. Red light camera tickets are considered to be vicarious liability. They do not appear on your driver’s abstract or driver’s record. Therefore they are of very low concern to a firm that specializes in protecting clients on offenses that would show up on their record or driver’s abstract.

Therefore, as a rule, we don’t assist clients with that type of a ticket. We’ll spend time, like we are in this video, explaining what vicarious liability means. So, what can happen is that you have a fine, and if I were to be involved, or any of my staff were to be involved in trying to assist you, you’d be spending more money than that fine.

And you may or may not win. But a win needs to mean something. A win for a defendant or a client, I like to know with certainty that it had value for them. Sometimes we can talk a long period of time and clients struggle with that idea of vicarious liability. It’s simply a way of the province or municipality picking up revenue, controlling traffic in that intersection, of course.

But the good news, and the only good news when you see a ticket like this, is it’s just a fine. And really, in my mind, the only way to make that fine worse is by hiring someone to defend you. That’s a very expensive way of dealing with something like that. You have every right to sign back that ticket and ask for a trial date and go tell the court what happened. And if you can advocate successfully, you’ll be exonerated. But in many cases, if you go on your own, at the very least, you’ll have that fine reduced for you, or given more time to pay whatever fine that may be.

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