3 Questions You Might Have About Registering A Vehicle In Canada

Posted on: 3 March 2015


It's illegal to operate an unregistered motor vehicle in some parts of Canada. Registering a vehicle proves that you are the legal owner, which can come in handy if you are ever pulled over. You may already be familiar with the reasons why it is important to register your automobile, but do you know everything there is to know about the entire registration process? Here are several common questions you might have about registering a Canadian vehicle.

Do I have to register in person?

It depends on where you live. Many territories and provinces require in-person registration at an official license registration office, while others, such as Labrador and New Brunswick, offer online registration options. Not every individual is eligible for online registration, as some areas have specific criteria established for online registrants. If you register in person, you will typically need to bring some -- or all -- of these items to the registry office:

  • Driver's license
  • Proof of insurance
  • A sales slip that verifies that you are the new owner of the car

How much time do I have to register my car?

Registration time limits vary, but regardless of where you live, you should register your vehicle at your earliest convenience. In Ontario, for example, all vehicles must be registered within 6 days of the purchase date. Failure to register your automobile in a timely manner may result in costly fines, and you may also have to attend court to explain why you did not register your car during the required time frame. If your car does not meet the criteria for registration, you might be able to request an exemption. 

Do I need to register a car that I import from the United States?

Imported vehicles must meet Canadian safety guidelines, and owners need to register their vehicles prior to bringing them into the country permanently. Not every car will qualify for admission, but owners are generally given the option to address any issues that initially prevented the car from being brought into the country. Some vehicles are exempt from registration, such as cars that are more than 15 years old or vehicles that are only used for work. Tractors and other types of farming equipment generally do not require registration.

Registering a vehicle may seem intimidating, but the process is actually fairly quick and simple. If you have additional questions about the process, you can discuss your situation with a knowledgeable employee at your local license registry office.