Alberta Vehicle Seizure Program

Under the Suspended Drivers Program, drivers stopped by a peace officer and found to have their operator's licence suspended will have the vehicle they were driving seized and impounded for a period of 30 days.  If the vehicle seizure involves the same suspended driver and owner within a three-year window, the seizure period is 60 days.  The Vehicle Seizure Program (pdf) information sheet will give you some important information about the review process - please read this carefully before purchasing an Application for Hearing form from an Alberta registry agent.

Grounds for Appeal under section 11 of the Vehicle Seizure and Removal Regulation are shown below.  To be successful, the applicant must satisfy the Board that at least one of the grounds of appeal apply in the case being considered:

  1. The person driving the vehicle when it was seized was an unauthorized driver under section 94 of the Traffic Safety Act who did not know and could not reasonably have known that the person was an unauthorized driver under section 94 of the Traffic Safety Act.
  2. The owner was not driving the vehicle when it was seized and did not know and could not reasonably have known that the person who was driving the vehicle when it was seized was an unauthorized driver under section 94 of the Traffic Safety Act.
  3. In a case where the vehicle is a commercial vehicle, and the driver is a person who was driving for a carrier, who is the owner of the vehicle, the owner must produce a driver's abstract for the driver which is dated not more than one year before the date on which the driving occurred.
  4. In a case where the vehicle is a personal vehicle, the owner must establish that, before driving the vehicle, the person driving the vehicle showed the owner an operator's licence that was issued in the name of the person driving, was the appropriate class of licence for the vehicle, and was unexpired at the time of driving.
  5. The owner was not driving the vehicle when it was seized and the vehicle was not driven with the express or implied consent of the owner.
  6. The person driving the vehicle when it was seized was not an unauthorized driver under section 94 of the Traffic Safety Act.

In the case of a prostitution related offence:

Pursuant to the Traffic Safety Act, the grounds for appeal are:

  1. The registered owner could not reasonably have known that the vehicle was being operated in the course of committing an offence  referred to in section 173.1 of the Traffic Safety Act.

  2. At the time the vehicle was seized, the driver was in possession of it without the knowledge and consent of its registered owner.

A copy of the Seizure Notice, Violation Ticket and /or the Information on Behalf of Her Majesty The Queen relating to the charge(s) must accompany the application.

Appealing a Seizure Notice

Important things to remember when appealing a vehicle seizure:

  1. Hardship will not be a consideration of the Board when hearing a vehicle seizure case.  Failure to accept or receive a Notice of Suspension will not be an acceptable defense (e.g. refusal to accept the notice, or failure to notify Alberta Registries of an address change, etc).
  2. The legislation governing the Board, under Section 45(2) of the Traffic Safety Act, places a 30-day limitation period on appeals to the Board.
  3. The owner at the time of the seizure must purchase an Application for Hearing at any registry agent office (see #9 below if someone other than the owner makes the application).
  4. There are two types of Appeal Applications, non-oral which requires a written submission ($125) or an oral, which requires a personal appearance before the Board ($250).  In addition to the application fee, a registry agent fee will be charged.
  5. The application fee is NON-REFUNDABLE.
  6. The purchase of an application form does not guarantee the return of your vehicle.
  7. The original application must be sent to the Board.  Faxes will not be accepted.
  8. You must fill out the "Required Information" section and send a copy of the Seizure Notice given to you by the police.
  9. If the applicant is not the owner of the seized vehicle, the owner must complete both the front and back of the application, to allow someone other than the owner to pick up the vehicle if the Board allows for an early release.
  10. The application must be accompanied by whatever written evidence the applicant believes is important for the Board to consider.  For example, a copy of the police witness statement should be included if the vehicle has been reported stolen to the police, the steps that the applicant has taken to ensure the vehicle was given to a driver who held a valid licence, the circumstances that allowed the driver to operate the vehicle, etc.
  11. The Board will endeavour to hear an appeal within 3-5 business days of receiving a completed application.
  12. If an appeal is allowed, the Board will contact the applicant with the decision. If the appeal is denied, a written decision will be mailed.