(see Vehicle Registration)
Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO)
1201 Wilson Avenue
Downsview, ON M3M 1J8
(416) 235-4686 | (800) 268-4686 | www.mto.gov.on.ca
Lincoln M. Alexander Building
777 Memorial Avenue
Orillia, ON L3V 7V3
(888) 310-1122 | www.opp.ca
Ministry of the Environment Drive Clean
(416) 325-4000 | (800) 565-4923 | www.driveclean.com
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
130 Dufferin Avenue, 5th Floor
P.O. Box 3240, Station “B”
London, Ontario N6A 4K3
(519) 640-7267 | www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/on/index-eng.htm
(see Vehicle Registration)
When the owner or lessee of a vehicle transfers ownership or ceases to lease the vehicle, the owner or lessee must remove the number plates from the vehicle and complete and sign the transfer application on the permit. The permit must be delivered to the new owner or the lessor with the vehicle.
Every new owner of a motor vehicle or trailer must apply for a new permit within 6 days.
Every person who sells or transfers a used motor vehicle must obtain a used vehicle information package from the MTO and deliver that package to the buyer or transferee at the same time as delivery of the vehicle. The purchaser or transferee must deliver the used vehicle information package to the MTO before applying for a new permit.
(see Vehicle Registration)
Ontario does not issue titles to vehicles.
No person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway unless there is a currently validated permit for the vehicle and number plates are displayed on the vehicle.
Vehicle owners must apply for vehicle permits and inform the MTO of name changes at a Driver and Vehicle License Issuing Office (DVLIO). Vehicle owners may change their address and obtain validation stickers and license plates at a Service Ontario kiosk.
The owner or lessee of a vehicle has 6 days to notify the MTO of a change of name or address.
Upon becoming a resident of Ontario, a person has 30 days to obtain an Ontario permit and plates for the person’s vehicle provided that person has complied with the registration provisions of the person’s former jurisdiction.
All applicants must provide the original copy of the vehicle registration permit and a bill of sale if the permit is not in the owner’s name, a Safety Standards Certificate (SSC), a Drive Clean Vehicle Emissions Pass Report if required, proof of Ontario insurance, and a sales tax receipt or exemption declaration.
Validation of a permit will be refused if there are any outstanding fees or taxes, parking fines, or photo-radar red light camera fines related to the vehicle.
A permit for a passenger car, a motorized mobile home, an historic vehicle, a motorcycle, or a motor-assisted bicycle may be validated for a period of not less than 3 months and not more than 26 months.
A non-resident is not required to register his or her motor vehicle in Ontario if the person is a resident of another Canadian province, does not reside or carry on business in Ontario for more than 6 consecutive months each year, the vehicle is properly registered in the province in which the person resides, and the province provides similar exemptions for vehicles owned by residents of Ontario.
A non-resident from a foreign country is not required to register the person’s vehicle in Ontario if the person does not reside or carry on business in Ontario for more than 3 months in any 1 year, the vehicle is properly registered in the jurisdiction in which the owner resides, and the person’s state or country of residence provides similar exemptions to residents of Ontario.
Owners of vehicles weighing 4,500 kg or less in the Drive Clean program area must pass an emissions test every 2 years prior to renewing the sticker on the license plate. This applies to vehicles that are 7 model years or older and from a model year 1988 or newer. Vehicles manufactured before 1988 do not require emissions tests.
Motorcycles and motor-assisted bicycles are excluded from the emissions inspection requirement.
Drive Clean applies to the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto and the Regions of Halton, Peel, Durham, and York), the City of Hamilton, and other urban centers and their commuting zones from Peterborough to Windsor. On July 1, 2002, the program expanded to include Ottawa, Kingston, Cornwall, and Chatham-Kent.
Passing an emissions test is required to transfer ownership.
MTO will notify car owners 60 days before license renewal date if their vehicle requires an emissions test under the Drive Clean Program.
A vehicle is not required to comply with emissions standards if after the test, the vehicle is taken to an Ontario Drive Clean repair facility and work has been performed to bring the vehicle more nearly in compliance with the maximum emissions standards. Throughout the Drive Clean Program area the maximum cost limit for repairs is C$450.
The owner of a vehicle must obtain a SSC issued within the preceding 36 days before the vehicle can be registered unless the vehicle is new and has never been registered.
Every police officer may require the driver or owner of any motor vehicle or motor-assisted bicycle to submit the vehicle together with its equipment and any attached trailer to the examinations and tests that the officer may consider necessary.
Registration Fee: $20.00 permit and plates + $37.00 – $74.00 depending on location
Title Fee: N/A
Registration Fee: $20.00 permit and plates + $21.00 – $42.00 depending on location
Plate Fee: $20.00
Registration Fee: $7.00 sticker; $10.00 permit
Driver’s License Fee: $10.00
Title Fee: N/A
Special Plates: $251.65 – $336.40
No number other than that on the number plate furnished by the MTO may be exposed on any part of a motor vehicle or trailer in such a position or manner as to confuse the identity of the number plate.
The reflectorized license plates for a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle or motor-assisted bicycle, must be attached to and exposed in a conspicuous position on the front and rear of the motor vehicle.
The license plates for a motorcycle, motor-assisted bicycle, or trailer must be attached to and exposed in a conspicuous position at the rear of the vehicle.
A current validation sticker must be affixed to the upper right-hand corner of the rear plate.
The color scheme for license plates is blue on white.
Renewal applications are mailed to the owner approximately 60 days prior to the expiration date of the validation sticker. The expiration date is usually the owner’s birthday.
The number plates must not be obstructed by any device that prevents the entire plate from being accurately photographed by a photo-radar or red light camera system or from being identified by an electronic toll system.
Personalized plates and over 40 different graphic plates are available.
Disabled person parking permit is issued by the Ministry of Transportation. Application must be completed and signed by medical practitioner.
Vehicle plates stay with the owner, not with the vehicle. If an owner does not intend to use the plates issued to him or her on a replacement vehicle, the owner must return the plates to a Driver and Vehicle License Issuing Office.
An applicant for an Ontario driver’s license must take vision, knowledge, and driving skills examinations unless otherwise exempted.
A resident of Ontario is not required to take the written and driving skills examinations for a Class G or M driver’s license if he or she holds a valid driver’s license issued by another Canadian province or territory of an equivalent class, has at least 24 months driving experience, and surrenders that license.
A person with a valid driver’s license from the United States, Japan, South Korea, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Great Britain, or Canada Forces Europe may get full Class G license privileges if they have at least 24 months driving experience. The applicant is not required to take a knowledge or driving test but must pass a vision test and surrender the license from the other country. In the United States, however, Arizona, D.C., Illinois, New Jersey, and Vermont are jurisdictions that Ontario will not recognize as exempt from a required driver’s license examination unless the license holder obtains a driving transcript dated within the past six months.
A driver from any other country with 2 or more years of driving experience within the last 3 years must pass a vision and knowledge test to be issued a G1 license. The person may then immediately book a G2 road test, and if they pass, they will receive full driving privileges. If the person does not pass the G2 road test, they may immediately book a G1 road test.
A driver from any other country with less than 2 years of driving experience is subject to the same graduated licensing procedure as new drivers but may receive credit for their experience.
Diplomats and their immediate family members are not required to take the written and driving skills examinations when applying for a Class G license.
Ontario has a form of graduated licensing for all drivers. At 16, teens are eligible for G1 license. Two-step licensing program takes 20 months to complete.
G1 license holders must: (1) be accompanied by a fully licensed driver who has at least 4 years driving experience and a BAC of less than .05%; (2) ensure the accompanying driver is the only other person in the front seat; (3) ensure the number of passengers in the vehicle is limited to the number of working seat belts; (4) refrain from driving on “400-series” highways or high speed expressways; and (5) refrain from driving between midnight and 5 a.m. A new driver must hold a G1 license for a minimum of 12 months before attempting a G1 road test. This time can be reduced to 8 months if the licensee successfully completes an approved driver education course.
A G2 licensee may drive on any highway but must ensure that the number of passengers in the vehicle are limited to the number of working seat belts.
A G2 driver must hold a G2 license for a minimum of 12 months before taking the G2 road test. The minimum age for an unrestricted license is 16 years and 8 months.
If the G2 novice driver has held the license for less than 6 months, he or she may not have more than 1 passenger in the motor vehicle who is under age 20 between midnight and 5 a.m., unless the passengers are immediate family members.
After holding the G2 license for 6 months, the novice driver may drive with up to 3 passengers in the motor vehicle who are under age 20 (family members exempt) between midnight and 5 a.m. These restrictions do not apply to G2 novice drivers who are at least 20 years old.
All drivers under age 22 must maintain a zero BAC.
A new resident has 60 days to obtain an Ontario driver’s license if the person holds a valid driver’s license issued by the jurisdiction where they resided immediately prior to moving to Ontario.
A non-resident who is at least 16 years of age and holds a valid driver’s license from the person’s province, state, or country of residence is not required to obtain an Ontario driver’s license provided such a driver does not reside in Ontario for more than three months of any year, after three months the person may drive as long as they carry a valid foreign drivers license and a valid International Driver’s Permit.
An applicant for a Class G1 or M1 license must pass a knowledge and vision test before being issued a license. The applicant must pass 2 road tests before being issued a full Class G or M license.
An applicant for any Ontario driver’s license is required to produce 2 pieces of identification, at least 1 with the person’s signature. Personal identification is also required. The following documents are acceptable proof of personal identification: citizenship card; passport; immigration card with photo; birth certificate; and baptismal certificate.
License usually includes name, address, signature, date of birth, gender, height, license issue, expiry dates, and codes showing class of vehicle allowed to driver and under what conditions. License also includes digital photo, driver’s signature, and magnetic information strip.
An applicant for a Class D, G, or M license is not required to take the knowledge, driving skills, and vision examinations if he or she held an Ontario driver’s license that expired within 1 year of making the application.
An applicant for a Class D, G, or M license is not required to take the knowledge and driving skills examinations if he or she held an Ontario driver’s license that expired between 1 and 3 years of making the application.
A driver 80 years of age and over must pass a vision and knowledge test, and the driver must participate in a 90-minute group education session. The counselor at the group education session will determine whether the driver must take a road test. Upon successful completion of the course, the driver’s license will be renewed for 2 years.
Class A: Towed vehicles exceeding 4,600 kg, excluding a bus carrying passengers; also authorized for Class D and G.
Class B: School buses with a seating capacity for more than 24 passengers; also authorized for Class C, D, E, F, and G.
Class C: Buses, excluding school buses, with a seating capacity for more than 24 passengers; also authorized for Class D, F, and G.
Class D: Motor vehicles and combinations exceeding 11,000 kg gross weight or Registered Gross Weight (RGW); also authorized for Class G, provided the towed vehicle is not over 4,600 kg.
Class E: School buses with seating capacity of not more than 24 passengers; also authorized for Class F and G.
Class F: Buses, excluding school buses, with a seating capacity of not more than 24 passengers and ambulances; also authorized for Class G.
Class G: Any motor vehicle or combination, including a motor-assisted bicycle, not exceeding 11,000 kg RGW and towed vehicles where the towed vehicle does not exceed a Total Gross Weight (TGW) of 4,600 kg; does not include motorcycles, buses carrying passengers, or ambulances in the course of providing ambulance services.
No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device, entertainment device, or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages.
Emergency number is 911. Direct line to provincial police is *677.
No prohibition on wearing of headsets while driving.
Canadian federal law prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). Ontario sets an illegal per se limit of .05 BAC. Violating this law could result in temporary loss of driver’s license.
Ontario sets the legal drinking age at 19.
It is illegal to fail to submit to testing or an evaluation for impaired driving.
Ontario requires the use of ignition interlocks for all impaired driving offenders over .08 BAC and third time repeat offenders with a BAC of .05 – .08.
Upon approaching an emergency vehicle, including a tow truck, that is stopped on a highway with its emergency lights activated, the driver of a vehicle travelling on the same side of the highway shall slow down and proceed with caution and move to a non-adjacent lane if it is safe to do so.
Every person who drives on a highway a motor vehicle in which a seat belt assembly is provided for the driver must wear the complete seat belt assembly in a properly adjusted and securely fastened manner.
Every person who is a passenger on a highway in a motor vehicle in which a seat belt assembly is provided for the seating position occupied by the passenger must wear the complete seat belt assembly in a properly adjusted and securely fastened manner.
Use of seat belts is not required for a person who: (1) is driving a motor vehicle in reverse; (2) holds a certificate signed by a legally qualified medical practitioner certifying that the person is unable to wear a seat belt because of a medical condition or physical limitations; or (3) is actually engaged in work that requires him or her to alight from and re-enter the vehicle at frequent intervals and is not driving at a speed exceeding 40 km/h.
Children 8 until 16 and 36 kg or more or taller than 145 cm are required to be in a seat belt; child restraint required for children under 8 and under 36 kg or under 145 cm.
When the driver of a vehicle is approaching a railway crossing at a time when a clearly visible electrical or mechanical signal device or a flagman is giving warning of the approach of a railway train, he or she must stop the vehicle not less than 5 meters from the nearest rail of the railway and must not proceed until he or she can do so safely.
No person may drive a vehicle through, around, or under a crossing gate or barrier at a railway crossing while the gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.
Every driver, when meeting on a highway, other than a highway with a median strip, a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal lights flashing, must stop before reaching the bus and must not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal lights have stopped flashing.
Every driver, when approaching from the rear a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal lights flashing, must stop at least 20 meters before reaching the bus and must not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal-lights have stopped flashing.
Modification of original vehicle bumper height is permitted. May be restricted by local ordinance.
Headlights are required to be used 1/2 hour before sunset to 1/2 hour after sunrise or when visibility is limited to 150m or less.
There are no restrictions on hazard light use.
Tire chains are permitted but only if they do not damage the road.
Studded tires are permitted in northern Ontario only Oct. 1 – April 30.
Windshields and windows may not be coated with any color spray or other color coating that obstructs the driver’s view of the highway or any intersecting highway.
Windshields and windows to the direct left or right of the driver’s seat may not be coated with any color spray or other colored or reflective material that substantially obscures the interior of the motor vehicle when viewed from outside the motor vehicle.
No person may drive a motor vehicle that is equipped with a television set, any part of which is located forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or computer or other device that is visible to the driver while he or she is operating the vehicle.
The prohibition on television sets does not apply where the set is being used only: (1) as an aid for the safe and efficient operation of a motor vehicle; or (2) in carrying out a service or conducting a business where the use does not involve recreation or entertainment and does not affect the safe operation of the motor vehicle.
The display screens of global positioning system navigation devices, commercially-used logistical transportation tracking systems, collision avoidance systems and instruments, gauges and systems providing information regarding the status of systems of the motor vehicle are also exempted from the prohibition.
Radar detectors are prohibited.
No person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway with any sign, poster or other non-transparent material or object placed on the windshield or on any window of the vehicle in a manner that will obstruct the driver’s view of the highway or any intersecting highway.
When on a highway at any time every motorcycle must have 2 lighted lamps, 1 white lamp on the front of the vehicle, and 1 red lamp on the rear of the vehicle.
A motorcycle with a side car must have at all times a lighted lamp on each side of the front of the vehicle.
Motorcycles manufactured prior to 1970 are required only to have lighted lamps at nighttime and other periods of poor visibility.
No person may ride on or operate a motorcycle or motor-assisted bicycle on a highway unless all riders are wearing a helmet that complies with the regulations and the chin strap of the helmet is securely fastened under the chin.
The holder of a Class M1 license must ride under the following conditions: (1) with a BAC of zero; (2) only during daylight hours; (3) not on highways with speed limits of more than 80 km/h except for specified highways; and (4) not carrying passengers.
Applicants for a Class M1 license must pass a knowledge test. The license is valid for 60 to 90 days. An M1 licensee who successfully completes an approved motorcycle safety course can skip the MTO’s M1 road test and move to a Class M2 license after 60 days. The M2 licensee can obtain a Class M license after 22 months. That time is reduced to 18 months if the licensee completed a safety course while they held either an M1 or M2 license.
The holder of a Class M2 license must have a BAC of zero while operating the motorcycle.
Every motor vehicle or motor-assisted bicycle must be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise and excessive smoke. No person may use a muffler cut-out, straight exhaust, gutted muffler, hollywood muffler, by-pass, or similar device on a motor vehicle or motor-assisted bicycle.
At night and during periods of poor visibility, every motor-assisted bicycle must have a lighted white lamp on the front, a lighted red light on the rear, white reflective material on the front forks, and red reflective material on the rear.
No person driving a motor-assisted bicycle may carry any other person on the vehicle.
No combination of vehicles, including load, coupled together may exceed the total length of 23 meters while on a highway.
A city council may prohibit the operation of a combination of vehicles having a total length, including load, in excess of 15.25 meters.
Every trailer having a gross weight of 1,360 kg or more must be equipped with brakes adequate to stop and hold the vehicle.
A combination of a motor vehicle and a trailer where the trailer has an RGW of 3,000 lbs. or less must have brakes adequate to stop within 40 feet while being operated at a speed of 20 mph on a dry, smooth, hard-paved surface free from loose material and having not more than 1% gradient.
A combination of a motor vehicle and a trailer where the trailer has an RGW of more than 3,000 lbs. must have brakes adequate to stop within 50 feet while being operated at a speed of 20 mph on a dry, smooth, hard-paved surface free from loose material and having not more than 1% gradient.
A combination of a motor vehicle and a mobile home must have brakes adequate to stop within 50 feet while being operated at a speed of 20 mph on a dry, smooth, hard-paved surface free from loose material and having not more than 1% gradient.
Two separate means of attachments required; so constructed and attached that the failure of 1 such means will not permit the motor vehicle, trailer, object, or device being drawn to become detached.
When on a highway at night or during periods of poor visibility, every trailer must display 1 lighted red lamp which is clearly discernible from a distance of 150 meters or less.
Extended mirrors may not extend past 305mm from the side of the tow vehicle.
Same as passenger cars.
No driver of a motor vehicle to which a house trailer or boat trailer is attached may operate the motor vehicle on a highway if the trailer is occupied by any persons.
Crashes resulting in injury or property damage in excess of C$1,000 are required to be immediately reported.
Contact your local AAA club about AAA Guaranteed Arrest Bond validity in Canada.
Every motor vehicle liability policy must provide coverage of at least C$200,000 against liability resulting from bodily injury to or the death of 1 or more persons and loss of or damage to property. Claims against the insured arising out of bodily injury or death have priority to the extent of C$190,000 over claims arising out of loss of or damage to property. Claims arising out of loss of or damage to property have priority to the extent of C$10,000 over claims arising out of bodily injury or death.
All commercial vehicles must stop.
Bicycle helmets are required for riders under age 18.
U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. from Canada by land or sea are required to present proper travel documents according to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Ontario now issues enhanced driver’s licenses that are in compliance with WHTI. Proof of citizenship is required for travel to Canada by land or sea. A U.S. passport is required for travel by air to Canada and to the U.S. Permanent U.S. residents who are not citizens should carry their Alien Registration Receipt Card.
All children must have their own travel documents. In lieu of a U.S. passport or passport card, U.S. children under 16 traveling to and from Canada by land or sea may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate. If the parents are separated or divorced, the parent crossing the border should have proof of custody or a letter from the other parent. Persons under 18 years of age who are not accompanied by a parent should bring a letter from their parent or guardian giving them permission to cross the border.
A visitor is permitted to bring a reasonable amount of personal effects, a reasonable supply of food, and a full tank of gas. “Reasonable” means enough for personal use during the length of stay in Canada. Any unreasonable amounts are subject to duty.
A visitor must have a rabies vaccination certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian to bring dogs or cats into Canada.
Containers of liquor are prohibited in a motor vehicle, whether it is in motion or not, except under the authority of a license or permit unless the container is unopened and the seal unbroken or the liquor is packed in baggage that is fastened closed or is not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle.
A person may not operate a motor vehicle or have the care or control of a motor vehicle, whether it is in motion or not, while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle is impaired by alcohol or a drug or if the person’s BAC exceeds .08%.
BAC level for drivers under 22 is .00. Any driver with a BAC of .05 or higher will be subject to automatic license suspension.
The legal drinking age is 19.
The speed limit is 80 km/h on controlled-access highways and highways outside of a city, town, village, police village, or developed area.
The speed limit is 50 km/h on highways within a city, town, village, police village, or developed area.
The speed limit is 40 km/h in designated school zones.
No motor vehicle may be driven on a highway at such a slow rate of speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic thereon except when the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation under the circumstances.
If a person drives a motor vehicle at 50 km/h or more over the speed limit he or she will be subject to a fine of not less than C$2,000 and not more than C$10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 6 months, or to both, and in addition the driver’s license may be suspended on a first conviction for not more than 2 years and for a second conviction for not more than 10 years.
In addition to the above penalties, the police shall request the surrender of the driver’s license and shall impound the motor vehicle of anyone the police officer believes was driving at 50 km/h or more over the speed limit. The driver’s license will immediately be suspended for 7 days and the vehicle impounded for 7 days.