Canadian Laws on Vehicle Tracking Devices

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Vehicle tracking devices are popular in Canada among commercial fleets and individual drivers alike, but just like all sleuth tech, there are many complex laws that govern their use.

What exactly is legal and what is not? Let’s delve into the legalities of vehicle tracking devices in Canada in both domestic and commercial contexts.

Domestic Use: Vehicle Tracking Laws

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What do we mean by ‘domestic’ vehicle tracking, and when is it illegal?

When we talk about domestic vehicle tracking, we basically mean tracking vehicles outside of  commercial purposes. Typically, this means keeping tabs on a family member or simply monitoring your vehicle’s location for theft prevention.

But when is this legal, and when is it very much not?

When is Domestic Vehicle Tracking Legal?

In Canada, if you are the owner of the vehicle you are tracking, it’s legal – regardless of whether the person driving knows about the installed tracking device or not. Many people choose to get a vehicle tracker in case of theft – clearly, this wouldn’t work so well if they had to tell the thief they were being tracked!

Thinking of investing in a vehicle tracking system? Our rundown of GPS vehicle tracking costs in Canada can help you get started.

When is Domestic Vehicle Tracking Illegal?

If you have joint ownership of the car you want to track, the law is unclear. Criminal lawyer Ian Inglis states that “even if there’s no criminal liability, there could be some civil liability”.  This means that even if you didn’t install the tracker to plan a nefarious crime, you can still get a civil lawsuit for violating someone’s privacy rights.

It’s best that you avoid tracking a co-owned vehicle altogether, unless every owner is in agreement and consents to the tracking.

If you don’t own the vehicle you’re trying to track, it’s generally illegal and may come with serious legal consequences.

Commercial Use: Vehicle Tracking Laws

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From finding the fastest route to monitoring tire pressure, there’s a lot to like about commercial vehicle tracking

Vehicle tracking for businesses has become really popular in recent years. It makes a company more efficient, and safer too.

But when is it legal, and when is it illegal?

When is Commercial Vehicle Tracking Legal?

Under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), personal information can only be collected for appropriate and reasonable purposes. Moreover, your employees have the right to know what personal information you will collect, before they decide whether or not to provide consent.

Businesses are allowed to use GPS vehicle tracking in order to manage workforce productivity and safety, and to improve customer experience.

Generally, fleet tracking systems only track data that can help you with these goals, and so the act of installing and using a fleet tracking and management system is not going to get you into legal hot water.

The key here is in how and when you use the system. Here are a few rules of thumb to live by:

  • Inform your drivers that you are going to track their vehicles. This is a win-win: you can’t be accused of covert spying, and your drivers – knowing their driving behaviour is recorded – will be more likely to drive safely and efficiently. It’s fine to use covert trackers (those that are installed in such a way that they’re hidden from the view of anyone in the vehicle), as long as your drivers know they are there.
  • Never track any vehicles outside of work hours. If your drivers use their vehicles for both work and personal journeys, make sure that you don’t track these personal journeys, or you’ll risk invading your employees’ privacy. Find a tracking system that can be remotely disabled by you, automatically disabled as working hours end, or turned off by your drivers when they clock off.
  • Keep the data your system collects safe. Ensure that it’s only used for work purposes, and only give access to those who have a legitimate business or safety reason to see and handle the data.

If you’re unsure, you can speak to your fleet management system provider, who will be happy to advise you further.

You should also write up a vehicle tracking policy and share it with your staff, to ensure total transparency and understanding between you and your drivers. The policy should include:

  • Why you are going to track your vehicles
  • The data you will collect from the vehicles
  • How and when that data will be collected
  • How you plan to use this data to benefit the business
  • How you will safeguard the data
  • The disciplinary consequences for your drivers if they tamper with, disable, or remove a tracker without your permission

Ready to rev up your vehicle tracking game? Use our free quote finding tool to get bespoke prices from leading fleet management system providers in Canada. Simply tell us what you need, and we’ll match you with the right suppliers. They’ll then get in touch directly with accurate, obligation-free quotes for you to review and compare.

When is Commercial Vehicle Tracking Illegal?

If the reason you’re tracking a vehicle could not be classed as ‘improving safety, productivity, or customer experience’, then you may be on shaky ground.

Your tracking software won’t be able to track anything that’s not legal for you to track. However, you have to use it responsibly and within legal parameters.

Having a comprehensive policy surrounding your business’ usage of vehicle tracking is a sure fire way to get everyone on the same page, and avoid any confusion. And again, if you want to get vehicle tracking for your business but aren’t sure on the rules, just speak to your fleet tracking provider and they’ll be able to advise you.


Please note that some of these laws are both subjective and complex, so if you have any doubts, it’s best to check with a legal professional. They can also vary slightly from province to province. If your question relates to commercial vehicle tracking, a business vehicle tracking provider should also be able to help.

Why Track Vehicles Commercially?

There’s a reason that vehicle tracking has massively increased in popularity in recent years. It’s a great way for businesses to become more efficient, and it’s really affordable, too. Check out our roundup of the cheapest GPS solutions in Canada to get ahead of the game.

Here are some of the ways vehicle tracking could help your business:

  • Help employees find the fastest routes
  • Easily allocate the closest person to each job
  • Manage fuel consumption
  • Monitor tire pressure
  • Improve driver management
  • Streamline vehicle maintenance
  • Prevent theft
  • Enhance safety
  • Boost overall productivity
  • Better customer service
  • Compliance with regulations

…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Keen to know more? Check out our complete guide to vehicle tracking in Canada, which includes our curated list of the best fleet management GPS trackers, details on the various types of GPS trackers, and the essential factors to consider when selecting a GPS system for your business.

Next Steps

Vehicle tracking devices can help keep your vehicles and employees safe and make your fleet business run more efficiently. However, it’s important to understand the legal implications of their use. Rules differ per province, but an honest company vehicle tracking policy can help ensure compliance and avoid legal issues.

Looking to boost your business with vehicle tracking devices? Fill in our free quote comparison tool. Let us know about your business’ needs and we’ll connect you with the best Canadian suppliers that match your unique requirements. You’ll then get accurate, obligation-free quotes direct to your inbox.

Written by:
Julia Watts author headshot photo
Specialising in business software, Julia writes jargon-busting guides about VoIP, fleet management, dash cams, fuel cards, and more. Having spent almost a decade writing for entrepreneurs and reviewing business solutions, she loves helping exciting ventures – big or small – to flourish.