Legal Word of the Day: “Medical Suspension”


In Ontario, doctors are required to report the name, address, and medical condition, of drivers they believe pose a danger.

A doctor must report to the Registrar of the Ministry of Transportation, where, in his medical opinion, the driver suffers from a condition that may make it dangerous for the person to operate a motor vehicle. The responsibility is found in s. 203(1) of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.

Regulations require that a driver’s licence applicant or holder must not:

    (a) suffer from any mental, emotional, nervous or physical condition or disability likely to significantly interfere with his or her ability to drive a motor vehicle of the applicable class safely; or

    (b) be addicted to the use of alcohol or a drug to an extent likely to significantly interfere with his or her ability to drive a motor vehicle safely.

The Registrar of Motor Vehicles makes the decision whether to suspend a driver’s licence.

The Licence Appeal Tribunal reviews Registrars’ decisions to suspend a license, relying in part on the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) Medical Standards for Drivers.

More Information:

Ministry of Transportation – Suspensions and Downgrades

LAT Appeal Form

Licence Appeal Tribunal Decisions:

8090 v. Registrar of Motor Vehicles, , 2013 CanLII 41653 (ON LAT)

7273 v. Registrar of Motor Vehicles, 2012 CanLII 24523 (ON LAT)

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Decisions:

MacLennan v. Ontario (Transportation), 2013 HRTO 714 (CanLII)

Mortillaro v. Ontario (Transportation), 2011 HRTO 310 (CanLII)


  1. Angela Browne · ·

    Many doctors abuse this process. I think people except in obvious cases (e.g. visual impairment, advanced dementia) should be allowed to be tested before stripped of their driver’s license. I am one who has been medically suspended and I can attest to the detrimental effect it had on me and my family economically. Never even had a parking ticket while I drove for seven + years, and then I meet one doctor in an emergency room that sees me for fifteen minutes and this is done to me. I only found out about it a couple years after the fact and was unable to fight it then.

    Because of this I have been forced to become and remain self-employed, which in itself is not a bad thing, but my costs are much higher to keep my doors open than it would be for somebody that can drive and has access to their own vehicle. Even if the medical suspension were lifted, I would have to go through the graduated licensing process all over again and at 50, this is not going to be easy to do. This should apply only to young people under thirty who have not driven before, as most of them have access to regular, experienced drivers in their family or otherwise.

    I also work in disability law and receive many letters from some doctors that are reluctant to report conditions that are less obvious (though might present a safety issue) because the doctor writing knows that if that person were to stop driving, they would likely stop working, and lose much of their independence. Contrary to popular belief, this medical suspension occurs more for under 65s than for older folks … Older folks tend to have more supports as they gradually withdraw from the wheel and are also less likely to “have to” drive in order to keep a job, as most are retired.

  2. This can be a very difficult problem; I’ve seen many people trying to resolve getting caught driving while medically suspended and then try to reverse the suspension. I’ve been very successful with 2 out of 5; but the circumstances differ and it’s a long process.

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