Legal requirements

All motor vehicle drivers and passengers in Ontario must wear a seatbelt that is properly adjusted and securely fastened.

Watch this video to learn more about Ontario’s seatbelt law and how seatbelts should be worn:

Video transcript

Drivers

As a driver, you are responsible for wearing your seatbelt and making sure:

  • every person in your vehicle has their own working seatbelt
  • passengers under the age of 16 wear their seatbelts properly in your vehicle
  • children are secured in an appropriate child car seat or booster seat

Learn more about how to choose a child car seat.

Passengers

As a passenger, you must wear your seatbelt including when travelling in a taxi or rideshare vehicle.

There are only a few exceptions for when a seatbelt is not required.

Fines and penalties

If convicted, you will face:

You can also be fined for having a broken seatbelt, even if it is not being used when you're stopped by a police officer.

Exemptions

Seatbelts are not required for:

  • people with medical certificates stating they are unable to wear a seatbelt
  • people engaged in work that requires them to exit from and re-enter the vehicle at frequent intervals (must travel less than 40 km/h)
  • a person in police custody while being transported, as well as police or peace officers while transporting a person in custody
  • employees and agents of Canada Post delivering rural mail
  • ambulance attendants and those being transported in the patient's compartment of an ambulance
  • firefighters in the rear of a fire department vehicle while responding to an emergency
  • taxi cab drivers while transporting a passenger for hire (taxi drivers must wear a seatbelt when travelling alone)
  • anyone legally driving a motor vehicle in reverse

In addition, seatbelts are not required in the following vehicles:

  • large commercial vehicles (over 4,536 kg) that don't require seatbelts to be installed in rear seating positions at the time of manufacture
  • vehicles manufactured in or imported into Canada before January 1, 1974
  • vehicles manufactured without seatbelt assemblies for each seating position

Seatbelt safety tips

You are more likely to survive a crash if you wear your seatbelt properly. To do so:

  • wear your seatbelt so that it crosses your chest and your lower hips — these areas of the body are better able to resist the force of a crash
  • make sure the seatbelt is not twisted anywhere
  • the shoulder strap should never be under your arm or behind your back
  • if you’re pregnant:
    • sit as upright as possible
    • wear both the lap and shoulder belt
    • wear the lap belt low so it pulls downward on your pelvic bones and not across your stomach

Children and airbags

Research has shown that children under 12 are safest in the back seat of vehicles away from active airbags.

If the back seat is unavailable, children can sit in the front seat only if:

  • there is no active airbag for the front seat, or
  • the front airbag can be switched off