How to Get a Driver’s Abstract in Ontario

Female delivery driver with a driver's abstract in Ontario for work

Are you wondering how to get a driver’s abstract in Ontario? You’re in luck! Here’s how to get a driver’s abstract in Ontario along with every province and territory in Canada. As a company with a Canadian headquarters, we couldn’t leave the other provinces and territories hanging.

In addition to covering how to get a driver’s abstract in Ontario, this blog post also explains the difference between an abstract and a motor vehicle record (MVR) and details what information is present in a driver’s abstract, both generally across Canada and more specifically in Ontario.

Male driver driving with a clean driver's abstract in Ontario

What is a Driver’s Abstract

All provinces and territories in Canada maintain some type of drivers’ records. In general, these records may be required by employers assessing your suitability to drive for a job, auto insurance companies determining your insurance premiums, in legal cases related to traffic violations or accidents, or government agencies for licensing purposes.

What’s the Difference Between a Driver’s Abstract and MVR?

While the terms vary, the purpose and content of abstracts and MVRs are essentially the same: to provide a comprehensive record of an individual’s driving history.

A driver’s abstract and a motor vehicle record (MVR) are both documents that provide information about a person’s driving history and licence status. However, they’re used in different contexts and contain slightly different information. A driver’s abstract is a summary of a person’s driving record in Canada. It includes information on licence status, driving history, infractions, accidents, and demerit points. An MVR provides details on a person’s driving record, which may include licence status, traffic citations, and accident history as maintained by the state’s department of motor vehicles.

In Canada and the United States, these records are issued by the department or agency responsible for driver licencing in a specific jurisdiction. 

MTO Driver’s Abstract

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) issues the driver’s abstract in Ontario. A three-year driver’s abstract in Ontario, also known as common driving records, is a summary of a person’s driving history and driver’s licence. This type of driver’s abstract contains driver identification, lists when a driver’s licence was first issued, plus any fine suspensions or demerit points accrued in the last three years. Longer-term driving records (five-year, extended, and complete) are also available, though less likely needed.

According to ServiceOntario, you may need a three-year driver’s abstract in Ontario to apply for a job, for vehicle insurance, to apply for a driver’s licence in another province, territory, or country, or to confirm your address in court. Though, a driver’s licence history, a more high-level summary produced for Ontarians, can also be used for vehicle insurance. (A driver’s licence history record contains the same driver identification information, but it doesn’t contain conviction information or points total.)

In Ontario, anyone (e.g., a potential employer, landlord, etc.) can order a three- or five-year driver record if they provide a driver’s licence number, but the more high-level driver’s licence history can only be ordered by the driver or by a Canadian law enforcement agency.

What’s the Difference Between Uncertified and Certified?

In Canada driving records in many provinces and territories may be uncertified or certified. This is true in Ontario. An uncertified driver’s abstract in Ontario meets most people’s needs, like applying for a job or applying for insurance, as noted above. A certified record has a seal from the Ministry of Transportation and is typically only required in legal contexts.

An uncertified three-year driver’s abstract in Ontario costs $12 and a certified version costs $18. In other provinces and territories, costs range from $10 (Manitoba) to $23 (Alberta).

Female driver driving with a clean driver's abstract in Ontario

How to Get a Driver’s Abstract?

In Canada, you can order a driver’s abstract online, in person, or by mail. Each province and territory has its own steps to obtain a driving record. If you’re not sure which process applies to you, consult information from the province or territory that issued your license.

If you need to provide an abstract as part of a job application, your prospective employer may order this free of charge to you as part of their background screening process. It’s best to confirm with them if they’ll be taking care of verifying the information.


In Alberta, visit the driver abstract request page of the Government of Alberta to learn more about how to obtain the information.

British Columbia

In British Columbia, you can request your driving record online through the Government of British Columbia’s driver licensing web page.


In Manitoba, consult the request a driving record web page of the Government of Manitoba for more details.

New Brunswick

For New Brunswick, go to the driver records information page of the Government of New Brunswick.

Newfoundland and Labrador

For drivers in Newfoundland and Labrador, request a driver record through MyGovNL or visit a nearby Motor Registration office.

Northwest Territories

You can obtain information on driver history online through the Government of Northwest Territories.

Nova Scotia

There are two ways to request a driver abstract in Nova Scotia. The Registry of Motor Vehicles web page maintained by the Government of Nova Scotia provides more details.


In Nunavut, visit a Motor Vehicles Division issuing office to obtain a driver’s abstract. More information by the Government of Nunavut is available online.


As described above, ServiceOntario describes how to get a driving record called a driver’s abstract in Ontario from the Government of Ontario.

Prince Edward Online

The Government of Prince Edward Island details how to request a driver abstract online.


The driving record portal for the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) allows you to check whether a license is valid and submit a driving record request.


Driver experience history (abstract) details can be requested online, by email, in person, or by mail in Saskatchewan.

What Does an Ontario Driver’s Abstract Show

A driver’s abstract in Ontario contains information about a person’s driving-related activities. In Ontario, and other jurisdictions in Canada, this includes:

Personal Information: The abstract includes the driver’s name (as it appears on their licence), date of birth, licence number, licence class, sex, height, and conditions or endorsements, such as the requirement to wear glasses or contact lenses to drive.

Licence Status: It indicates the expiry date of the licence and whether the driver’s licence is valid, suspended, or revoked.

Driving Violations and Licence Suspensions or Revocations: The three- and five-year abstracts list any active fine suspensions from traffic violations, such as speeding tickets, traffic signal violations, or reckless driving offences, that the driver has incurred. The three- and five-year abstracts list the demerit point total.

Driver’s Abstract for Work

A driver’s abstract in Ontario may be requested by insurance companies, government agencies, and/or by prospective employers as part of their background check process to assess a person’s driving record and risk profile. It helps determine whether an individual is a responsible driver and may influence decisions regarding insurance rates, eligibility for certain driving-related activities, and/or for employment, depending on the nature of the job.

The specific information included in the records varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of driving record requested. If you’re an employer who needs to run background checks and check driver’s abstracts as a pre-condition of employment in the transportation and logistics sectors, Certn can help.

Book a demo to talk to one of our experts today.