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There are 3 types of vehicle impoundment:

  1. If you’re drinking and driving, then the vehicle you are driving will be impounded;
  2. If you’re driving a vehicle while disqualified or while your driver’s licence is suspended, the vehicle will be impounded, or;
  3. For selected high risk offences, if you have a previous offence within 2 years the vehicle you are driving will be impounded (Section 280 of The Traffic Safety Act).

Additional information about SGI’s Vehicle Impoundment Programs (VIP) can be found on SGI's website.

Who can make a vehicle impoundment appeal?

  • the owner of the motor vehicle;
  • the unauthorized driver;
  • a person whose health would be seriously threatened by the continued immobilization or impoundment;
  • a person, other than the unauthorized driver, who would suffer extreme hardship as a result of the continued immobilization or impoundment; or
  • a person authorized by a person mentioned above.

It should be noted that any person other than the registered owner requires the written permission of the registered owner to appeal.

What am I appealing?
You are appealing the impoundment of your vehicle.

The onus of proof rests with you.

If your vehicle is impounded due to drinking and driving, you must demonstrate to the Highway Traffic Board (HTB) that you meet 1 of the following grounds:

  • the motor vehicle was stolen at the time of the seizure; or
  • a driver was in possession of the motor vehicle without the knowledge and consent of the owner; or
  • the continued immobilization or impoundment would pose a serious threat to the health of any person; or
  • the continued immobilization or impoundment would cause extreme hardship.

If your vehicle is impounded due to an unauthorized driver, you must demonstrate to the HTB that you meet one of the following grounds:

  • the motor vehicle was stolen at the time of the seizure; or
  • an authorized driver was in possession of the motor vehicle without the knowledge and consent of the owner; or
  • the owner could not reasonably have been expected to know that the person who was driving the motor vehicle was an unauthorized driver; or
  • the unauthorized driver could have reasonably have been expected to know that he or she was an unauthorized driver, and at the time of the seizure the unauthorized driver had complied with Section 45; or
  • the continued immobilization or impoundment would pose a serious threat to the health of  any person; or
  • the continued immobilization or impoundment would cause extreme hardship for a person other than the unauthorized driver.

If your vehicle is impounded under Section 280 of The Traffic Safety Act, you must demonstrate to the HTB that you meet one of the following grounds:

  • the continued impoundment would pose a serious threat to the health of any person; or
  • the motor vehicle was stolen at the time of the seizure.

Filing for a vehicle impoundment (early release) appeal
You can apply for an early release hearing before the HTB. To have your case heard, you must:

  • visit any SGI motor licence issuer
  • determine which ground you'd like to appeal under
  • purchase a Vehicle Impoundment Appeal Receipt for a $100 fee. As of January 1, 2017 this receipt will cost $175
  • call the HTB at 1-855-775-8336 during regular business hours to schedule a hearing date and time

What to expect at the impoundment hearing
The hearing is conducted by phone. You will be contacted by HTB staff on the agreed upon date and time.

There will be 2 board members, the HTB coordinator and you at the phone hearing. The coordinator will introduce everyone and read the background information to you. The board members will know which ground you are applying under and their questions will be based around this ground.

Decisions
If the HTB is satisfied that you meet 1 of the grounds for early release:

  • your vehicle will be released on the decided upon date;

If the HTB is not satisfied that you meet the grounds for early release:

  • your vehicle will remain impounded

The decision will be communicated to you by phone shortly after your appeal hearing. Decisions made by the HTB with regards to your appeal are final and binding.

Getting the vehicle back
At the end of the impoundment term, or after an appeal for early release has been granted, you must buy a Vehicle Impoundment Release Certificate.

The certificate is $50 and is available at any SGI motor licence issuer. As of January 1, 2017 this certificate will cost $125.

Take the certificate to the garage where the vehicle is impounded to have it released. All towing and storage charges must be paid to the garage keeper before the vehicle can be released.

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