Alberta Vehicle Seizure Program

Under the Vehicle Seizure 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 40 of the Traffic Safety Act are shown below.  To be successful, the owner must convince the Board that at least one of the grounds of appeal apply in the case being considered:

  1. The owner must establish that before allowing the person to take his/her vehicle the person showed the owner an operator's licence that was issued in the name of the person, was the appropriate class of licence for the vehicle and that the operator's licence had not expired as of the date on which the driving occurred.
  2. The owner of the vehicle was not driving the vehicle, the owner did not know that the driver was suspended and the owner could not reasonably have known that the driver was suspended.
  3. The vehicle was being driven without the owner's consent, and charges are being laid against the driver as a result.
  4. The driver did not know he/she was suspended.
  5. The driver could not have reasonably known he/she was suspended.
  6. The driver was not a suspended person.

In the case of a commercial vehicle:

The owner must produce a valid driver's abstract for the driver that is dated not more than one year before the date of the vehicle seizure.

In the case of a prostitution related offence:

Pursuant to Alberta Regulation 251/2006, the grounds for appeal are:

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

  2. At the time the vehicle was seized, the driver of the vehicle was in possession of the vehicle without the express or implied consent of the vehicle 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 attempt to conduct non-oral hearings within three (3) business days of receipt of an application.
  12. The Board will make every effort to hold an oral hearing within seven (7) business days of receipt of an application.
  13. The Board will endeavour to notify the applicant in writing within five (5) business days of the Board's decision on whether or not to return the vehicle prior to the end of the seizure period.