Canada’s Ignition Interlock Program: A Guide for DUI Offenders

Impaired driving continues to be a major issue in Canada, resulting in numerous accidents, injuries, and fatalities each year. To address this problem, provincial governments have established Ignition Interlock Programs to improve road safety and reduce alcohol-related driving incidents. This allows individuals to maintain their employment and manage personal and family responsibilities that require driving.

Overview of the Ignition Interlock Program

The Ignition Interlock Program is a compulsory requirement for drivers convicted of an alcohol-related driving offence or those who have been issued an administrative license suspension due to impaired driving. Participants must install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicles, which prevents the engine from starting if the driver has consumed alcohol.

Functionality of the Ignition Interlock Device

An IID resembles a breathalyser and is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system. The driver must provide a breath sample by blowing into the device before starting the engine. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. Additionally, the device requires random retests while driving to ensure the driver remains sober throughout the journey.


The Ignition Interlock Device is mandatory for individuals with multiple administrative roadside suspensions or a Criminal Code impaired driving conviction. Participants must also complete any required assessments, treatments, or education programs, pay all fees and fines, and possess a valid driver’s license or be eligible for reinstatement within their respective province.

Duration of the Program

Both eligibility and the required duration of the IID installation depend on the number of offences. To regain full driving privileges, the device must be installed for the entire ignition interlock term. The term commences when the ignition interlock restricted driver’s license is validated at a motor license issuer and mandates the license to be active and without suspensions. By complying with these conditions and successfully finishing the program, individuals can work towards regaining their full driving privileges.

Consequences for Ignition Interlock Device Violations

If you do not maintain an alcohol infraction-free, program violation-free, and device tampering-free record during your last three months in the program, your term will be extended by at least three months from the planned removal date.

If the device is removed before the successful completion of the program, your driver’s licence will be suspended from the date initially set for removal.

Associated Costs

Ignition Interlock Program participants are responsible for all costs related to the Ignition Interlock Device, including:

  • Installation fees
  • Monthly rental and monitoring fees
  • Device removal fees
  • Additional fees for any service, maintenance, or calibration appointments

A detailed list of program fees can be found on the website of your province’s designated Ignition Interlock Device provider, such as Smart Start Canada.

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