Advocate Daily logo

The cost of living crisis is having a major impact on many people, and some are resorting to desperate measures to keep a roof over their heads. If you’re struggling to survive during these difficult times, you might be thinking about sleeping in your car.

Canada is a desperately cold country during certain months of the year, but I’m sure you’ve thought about that already. Most people want to know whether or not it’s legal to sleep in your car, which we’ll look at today.

Can You Legally Sleep In Your Car?

Canada doesn’t have any laws that make it illegal to sleep in your car, so you won’t have trouble finding somewhere to sleep in most cases. If you want to avoid getting in trouble, it’s best to stay outside cities where it’s less crowded.

Once you start looking for places to sleep in cities, you’ll need to adhere to parking guidelines to ensure you stay out of trouble. For example, you can’t sleep in the middle of Toronto in front of a No Parking sign without getting caught.

If you follow the rules, you’ll be okay. Parking in the wrong place won’t land you in lots of trouble, but you will end up with fines. It defeats the purpose of sleeping in your car to save money because you can’t afford rent.

Sleeping In Your Car

When Does Sleeping In Your Car Become Illegal?

Are you thinking about sleeping in your car because your landlord says no plants in your current apartment? Maybe you enjoy a few beers after work every night. If intoxicated behind the wheel, you’ll find yourself in real legal trouble.

If anyone catches you behind the wheel when you’ve been drinking or smoking, you can find yourself in just as much trouble as someone caught driving. Anyone deemed to be in the care or control of a vehicle can be charged with a serious crime.

It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in the car with the engine switched off. There is no guarantee you’ll be found guilty, but you’ll need to convince a court you weren’t planning to drive. If you’re in a car with access to keys you should be very careful.

Sleeping in the back of the vehicle isn’t as bad, but it’s still not worth the risk. You could still find yourself in court trying to explain yourself. It will be impossible to move the car if being chased away from your parking spot.

The Best Places To Sleep In Your Car

If you want to avoid getting into trouble while sleeping in your car, stick to places where you know it’s 100% legal to park for the night. Ask everyone you know if it’s possible to park in their private driveways, which might even include the use of a shower when you wake up.

Truck stops usually allow people to park for the night, especially if you spend a little money while parked. Large companies with parking lots sometimes let people spend the night, but it’s always best to ask for permission before going to sleep.

Walmart is known for being generous if you find a store with a kind manager. Other options include 24-hour gyms (where you’re a member) and campgrounds. A campground with decent facilities is usually much cheaper than a hotel, but it’s just as safe.

If you have enough savings in your bank account, it’s possible to pick up a cheap piece of land. You’ll be able to sleep there at night without anyone bothering you. Find out if anyone you know owns a piece of land close to your city of choice.

Coming Into Contact With The Police

Be careful when you come into contact with the police, so you won’t need to speak to a lawyer for legal representation. If sleeping in your car, it’s likely the police will eventually wake you up in the middle of the night.

It’s usually not because they want to punish you at all costs. Police officers will want to see if you’ve been drinking alcohol or taking drugs. That’s because it’s usually why they find people sleeping overnight in their cars if parked in certain places.

The police could also be checking to see if you’re in trouble. It’s best to be honest with them because it’s less likely you’ll be bothered. If they want you to test your sobriety, it’s best to avoid causing any problems.

Failure to comply with police officers could result in legal trouble. Unless parked in the wrong place, they shouldn’t try to force you to move. Sadly, it’s sometimes worth just following orders to make things easier on yourself.

Keep On The Right Side Of The Law

Sleeping in your car is okay if you’re desperate to save money, but it’s crucial to ensure you don’t break the law. You’ll end up throwing tons of cash away once you start receiving fines, plus it’s even worse if you end up in court.

It should only be a short-term solution in Canada because it’s difficult to survive in winter. You should upgrade to a bigger van if you plan on sleeping in your vehicle long-term.