(see Vehicle Registration)
Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ)
Case postale 19600, Succursale Terminus
333, boulevard Jean-Lesage
Québec G1K 8J6
Québec (418) 643-7620
Montréal (514) 873-7620
Other areas (800) 361-7620 | www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca
La Gendarmerie royale du Canada
4225, boul. Dorchester
Westmount, Québec H3Z 1V5
(514) 939-8300 | www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/qc/index-eng.htm
(see Vehicle Registration)
(see Vehicle Registration)
(see Vehicle Registration)
Every road vehicle must be registered except vehicles specifically exempted.
Every owner of a road vehicle must apply to the SAAQ for its registration upon taking possession of it.
An owner may obtain a 10-day temporary registration for a vehicle sold by a dealer.
A vehicle owner who establishes residence in Québec must apply to the SAAQ for the vehicle’s registration within 90 days.
Drivers have no grace period for late registration.
A vehicle’s registration expires when the owner ceases to own the vehicle.
The owner of a vehicle must pay the registration fees and the insurance contribution fee prior to obtaining registration and the right to use the vehicle on a public highway or on private land open to public traffic.
An applicant must supply the applicant’s name, address, birth date, status, vehicle description, net weight, name of the lessor if applicable, category of the vehicle, use of the vehicle, professional activity or legal personality of the owner if applicable, and the territory where the vehicle is used.
The passenger vehicle or trailer of a non-resident is exempt from registration for a period of 6 consecutive months if: (1) the vehicle is registered as required by the law of the main place of residence or the business establishment of its owner; (2) the vehicle carries a valid registration plate of that jurisdiction; and (3) the driver furnishes proof of that registration at the request of the SAAQ or of a peace officer.
A road vehicle registered outside Québec by a foreign student, coopérant, or trainee staying in Québec is exempt from registration for the duration of his or her studies or training if: (1) the vehicle is registered as required by the law of the main place of residence of its owner or the place where he or she established residence; (2) the vehicle carries a valid registration plate of that place; (3) the student, coopérant, or trainee furnishes proof of that registration at the request of the SAAQ or of a peace officer; and the same right is granted to students, coopérants, or trainees from Québec staying in the place of domicile of that student, coopérant, or trainee.
The owner must pay duties, fees, and an automobile insurance contribution each year during the same period, determined on the basis of the owner’s name or type of vehicle.
No province-wide emissions inspection requirements.
A safety inspection is required for disused vehicles, a vehicle stored or prohibited from travelling on public roads for more than 12 consecutives months, a vehicle designed to travel on a public road that was registered with an off-road plate, a used vehicle imported from out-of-province, a vehicle that was formerly discarded or scrapped, a used truck for which the cab, hood, front axle and chassis have been replaced by a “Slider kit”, a recycled or restored vehicle, and a vehicle built or modified by a person other than an authorized manufacturer.
Vehicles severely damaged in an accident must pass a technical appraisal before they are put back in operation.
Inspections are required every year for emergency vehicles, motorcycles used by a driving school, trucks and trailers with a GVWR of 4 500 kg or more, and tow trucks with a GVWR less than 4 500 kg.
Inspection are required every six months for buses and minibuses, vehicles engaged in the transportation of school children, vehicles other than motorcycles used by a driving school, and taxis.
A peace officer or the SAAQ can order an owner to submit his vehicle to a safety inspection if there is reason to believe the vehicle is in such a condition that it constitutes a hazard.
Registration Fee: $10.90 permit and plates*
Title Fee: N/A
Registration Fee: $10.90 permit and plates*
Plate Fee: $10.90
Registration Fee: $4.35
Driver’s License Fee: $15.00***
Title Fee: N/A
Special Plates: N/A
* Additional fee varies in relation with location, value of the vehicle and engine displacement: minimum $226.58, average $323.58
**Additional fee based on engine capacity: $249.85– $1,144.91
***Additional fees based on license class and demerit points : $91.46 to $591.71
Fees are adjusted every year based on the cost of living index.
Vehicle owners are issued 1 reflectorized registration plate. When the plate is issued, the owner must firmly attach the plate to the rear of the vehicle.
The color scheme for license plates is blue on white.
Where a vehicle is essentially designed to tow a trailer, the license plate must be affixed to the front of the vehicle.
No registration plate may bear any inscription other than those determined by the SAAQ. The registration plate must be free of any object or matter that could impair its legibility. If the plate is attached to the rear of the vehicle, it must be sufficiently lighted.
No plate that may be confused with a registration plate issued by the SAAQ or by any other competent administrative authority may be attached to a road vehicle or affixed to a plate, except in the case of a plate required by another law in force in Québec.
The owner of a road vehicle must place the temporary registration certificate issued to him or her in the upper left-hand part of the rear window of the vehicle.
Where it is impossible to affix a temporary registration certificate in the upper left portion of a vehicle’s rear window, the temporary registration must be affixed in the upper left portion of the windshield.
Where the right of ownership of a road vehicle is transferred between parties neither of whom is a dealer, the transferor or seller must endorse the registration certificate and return the registration certificate to the SAAQ. The new owner must apply for a new registration.
Where road vehicles are exchanged between parties neither of whom is a dealer, each owner must return to the SAAQ the endorsed registration certificate issued for his or her vehicle and apply for a new registration.
Where the right of ownership of a road vehicle is transferred to a dealer, the transferor must remit the registration certificate of the vehicle to the dealer after endorsing it. If the transferor is not purchasing a new vehicle, then he may keep the plate for further use. If the transferor is purchasing a new vehicle, the transferor can use the license plate and apply for a new registration certificate.
The lessee of a road vehicle leased for a term of 1 year or more must, at the end of the lease, return the registration certificate of the leased vehicle to the SAAQ.
A person who becomes the owner of a road vehicle as a result of a death, a gift, a partition, a winding-up, a bankruptcy, a repossession, the complete transfer of a business, or a judicial sale must return the registration certificate to the SAAQ and must apply for a new registration for the vehicle.
Driving knowledge test, vision test, and road test are required for original license. Driver education is mandatory for for both car and motorcycle licenses, for all applicants, regardless of age.
Québec has graduated licensing for new drivers. Before they may apply for any type of license (see below) except for a moped or a farm tractor, they must obtain, at least, a learner’s license. The rules to obtain a motorcycle license differ from those for a passenger vehicle. They are explained further:
Passenger vehicle: New drivers are eligible for a learner’s permit from the age of 16. They can obtain it after passing the driving knowledge test and the vision test. The holder of a learner’s permit must, when driving a passenger vehicle, be assisted by a person who has held, for at least 2 years, a valid driver’s license for that class of vehicle. The person must be seated beside the holder of the learner’s license, and be in position to give him or her assistance and advice.
New drivers must hold the learner’s permit for at least 12 months before being eligible for a probationary driving license. The probationary license is obtained after passing the road test. It must be kept valid for 24 months. Drivers then qualify for a regular driver’s license.
No person may drive a vehicle on a public highway or on private property open to public traffic unless he or she holds a driver’s license of the appropriate class for the vehicle.
No person may hold more than 1 valid driver’s license.
A person wishing to obtain a driver’s license must: (1) submit a document proving legal presence in Canada; (2) a document proving his or her identity, in particular, name (first and last), birth date, and where applicable a French or English translation of the document; (2) indicate his or her eye color, height, and sex; (3) provide proof of residency in Québec; (4) submit the declaration of illness or functional impairment; and (5) a written consent of his or her father, mother, or legal guardian, if he or she is a minor (under 18).
A learner’s license holder has the option of the license being issued in paper form without a photograph. The probationary and driver’s licenses are issued in plastic form with a photograph.
Learner’s and probationary license holders are subject to ceiling of 4 demerit points and zero tolerance for alcohol use when driving. Each breach of 1 of these conditions results in license suspension for 3 months that are added to the required holding period of the license.
A person maintaining a valid driver’s license issued by another administration authority may drive a class 5 or class 6 vehicle up to 6 months after settling in Québec.
A person holding a valid non-commercial driver’s license issued by another Canadian or U.S. jurisdiction may exchange that license for a driver’s license issued by the SAAQ without an examination. The person must surrender his or her previous license. This transaction is made only on an appointment basis. SAAQ makes a online verification that the license is valid.
Driver’s licenses issued after October 2014 are valid for up to 8 years. A license is valid from the date on which it is issued until the end of the holder’s birthday occurring during the year determined by adding multiples of 8 to the holder’s year of birth. Driver’s licenses issued before October 2014 are valid for 4 years.
The holder of a driver’s license must pay annual duties, fees, and an annual automobile insurance contribution during a 3-month period ending with his birthday every year.
The SAAQ issues learner’s licenses, probationary licenses, driver’s licenses, and restricted licenses.
Class 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, and 4C driver’s licenses are commercial driver’s licenses. Class 1, 2, and 3 are more specifically for heavy vehicles (including buses), class 4A for emergency vehicles, class 4B for minibuses (24 passengers or less), and class 4C for taxis.
Class 5 authorizes the holder to drive a motor vehicle having 2 axles and a net mass of less than 4,500 kg, a motor home, an equipment vehicle, a service vehicle, a moped, and a farm tractor. The holder may also drive a covered vehicle hauling a trailer.
Class 6A authorizes the holder to drive any motorcycle or moped.
Class 6B authorizes the holder to drive any motorcycle with an engine size of not more than 400 cc or a moped.
Class 6C authorizes the holder to drive any motorcycle with an engine size of not more than 125 cc or a moped.
Class 6D authorizes the holder to drive a moped. No person may ride a motorcycle or moped equipped with a 125 cc or less engine on a limited access highway or on an entrance or exit ramp.
Class 6E authorizes the holder to drive a three-wheeled motorcycle.
Class 8 authorizes the holder to drive a farm tractor.
No person may use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function while driving a motor vehicle.
Citizen band radio channel 9 is not monitored for emergency calls. The emergency cellular number is *4141.
Wearing headphones or earphones is not permitted while driving or operating a bicycle unless the device is used in conversational exchanges among its users to the extent that the device allows surrounding traffic noises to be heard.
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).
Quebec sets the legal drinking age at 18.
It is illegal to fail to submit to testing or an evaluation for impaired driving.
Quebec requires the use of ignition interlocks for all impaired driving offenders over .08 BAC.
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, while in a moving road vehicle, must wear, properly fastened, the seat belt with which his or her seat is equipped unless: (1) the person is driving in reverse; (2) the person is a taxi driver performing his or her functions on a numbered highway with a speed limit set by a municipality or on an unnumbered highway; (3) after meeting certain conditions, the person has been issued a medical exemption certificate by the SAAQ; or (4) the person is occupying a passenger seat in a police wagon.
In no case may the driver of a vehicle allow more passengers in his or her vehicle than there are places available for them to sit.
No person may drive a vehicle if the front seat is occupied by more than 3 persons or more than 2 persons if the front of the vehicle is equipped with chair seats.
Riding in pickup truck beds is not permitted.
Children whose seated height is less than 63 cm measured from the seat to the top of the head are required to be in a child restraint or booster seat.
At a railroad crossing, the driver of a road vehicle or any person riding a bicycle must stop his or her vehicle not less than 5 meters from the railway where a sign, signal, lowered gate, or railway employee signals an approaching rail vehicle, or where the driver or cyclist sees or hears a rail vehicle approaching the railroad crossing.
Even if so authorized by traffic lights, no driver of a road vehicle may enter a railroad crossing if there is not sufficient space ahead of the vehicle to allow him or her to cross the level crossing.
The driver of a road vehicle who is approaching a school bus with flashing lights turned on or whose compulsory stop signal has been activated, must stop his or her vehicle more than 5 meters from the bus and must not proceed in either direction until the flashing lights are turned off and the compulsory stop signal has been retracted, and he or she ascertains that he or she can do so in safety. A driver is not required to stop upon meeting a school bus on an adjacent roadway separated by a median strip or any other raised physical separation.
Modification of original vehicle bumper height is illegal.
Headlights are required to be used when conditions warrant.
Hazard light use is permitted only for safety reasons.
Tire chains may be used, from 15 October to 1 May, on the tires of any emergency vehicle, any farm tractor, or any other road vehicle used for snow removal and winter maintenance.
Studded tires may be used, from October 15 to May 1, on any commercial vehicle with a loaded mass not exceeding 3,000 kg; any passenger vehicle and taxi, provided that such a vehicle has studded tires on both ends of an axle and, where it has studded tires on the front axle, such tires are also installed on the rear axle.
No material which darkens glass shall be affixed to or sprayed on the windshield of a road vehicle. However, a strip no more than 15 cm in width may be affixed to the upper part of a windshield.
The windows on each side of the driver’s compartment shall admit 70% or more light, when measured with a photometer.
No person may drive a road vehicle in which a television set or a display screen is so placed that the image broadcast on the screen is directly or indirectly visible to the driver, except in the case of a closed circuit system used by the driver to operate the vehicle, or a system used by a peace officer or ambulance driver in the performance of their duties.
Radar detectors are prohibited.
Windshields and other windows of a motor vehicle must be free of any material that might reduce visibility from inside or outside the vehicle.
Between December 15 and March 15, the owner of a taxi or a passenger vehicle registered in Québec may not put the vehicle into operation unless it is equipped with tires specifically designed for winter driving, in compliance with the standards prescribed by government regulation. The prohibition also applies to any person renting out passenger vehicles not equipped with that type of tires.
Every motorcycle or moped must carry at least: (1) 1 headlight; (2) 1 red taillight; (3) 2 white or amber turn-signal lights on the front and 2 red or amber turn-signal lights at the rear; and (4) 1 red stop light at the rear.
When a motorcycle is equipped with a sidecar, the sidecar must carry a red tail light, which must be as near as practicable to the right extremity of the sidecar.
Every motorcycle or moped must be equipped with 2 rear view mirrors, 1 solidly attached to each side of the vehicle.
No driver of a motorcycle or moped may carry any other person unless his or her vehicle is equipped with permanently fixed seats designed for that purpose and with footrests fixed on each side of the vehicle.
The driver of a motorcycle or moped must keep the headlight of his or her vehicle on at all times.
Every person riding on a motorcycle or moped or in a sidecar must wear a protective helmet.
Motorcycle: New drivers are eligible for a learner’s permit from the age of 16. All prospective motorcycle operators must first pass a visual test and a knowledge test in order to get a class 6R learner’s license, valid for use only within a driving school’s course and for the SAAQ’s test on a closed circuit. After having held a class 6R license for at least 1 month, learners must successfully complete a driving school’s course for operating a motorcycle and a closed circuit test. Only then are prospective motorcycle operators issued a class 6A learner’s license, which must be held for at least 11 months.
The holder of a learner’s license must, when driving a motorcycle, be accompanied by a person on a separate motorcycle who has held, for at least 2 years, a valid driver’s license authorizing the driving of a motorcycle of the appropriate class (6A, 6B, or 6C) and who is able to provide assistance and advice. No passengers are permitted on motorcycles operated by learner’s license holders.
The last step is a road test, which prospective operators must pass in order to obtain a probationary or regular license for a motorcycle.
A person who has already held a driver’s license may obtain a class 6A, 6B, or 6C license after passing the road test.
No province-wide motorcycle noise limits restriction. Motorcyclists may be ticketed by a peace officer if the noise from a motorcycle is deemed excessive.
A class 6D license is required to operator a moped. Minimum age 14. A person age 14-17 applying for a class 6D license must pass a 6 hour course with a written test. Drivers under age 18 must have authorization from parents.
No person may ride a motorcycle or moped equipped with a 125 cc or less engine on a limited access highway or on an entrance or exit ramp.
The maximum length for any combination consisting of a towing vehicle and a single trailer is 23 meters. The maximum length of a trailer is 12.5 meters.
The maximum width of any trailer, load included, is 2.60 meters.
The maximum height of any trailer, load included, is 4.15 meters.
Every road vehicle must be equipped with at least 1 service system allowing sufficient braking force to be applied on each weight-bearing wheel to stop the vehicle quickly in case of emergency.
Every trailer that is part of a combination of road vehicles and that has a mass, once loaded, of 1,300 kg or more or that has a mass, once loaded, of over half the net mass of the motor vehicle by which it is being towed, must be equipped with an independent braking system allowing application of a braking force on each weight-bearing wheel. The towing vehicle must carry the necessary equipment for operating the braking system of any trailer being towed.
Every trailer operated without an independent brake system adequate to stop the vehicle if the trailer becomes separated from the towing vehicle must be equipped with chains, cables, or any other safety device that is sufficiently solid and installed to ensure that the trailer and towing vehicle remain attached in the event of a failure in the attachment devices. The towing vehicle must carry the necessary equipment for attaching the chains, cables, or safety device of any trailer being towed.
No person may pull a trailer without using an adequate coupling device. The lights, raking system, chains, cables, and any other safety device on the trailer must be connected to the towing vehicle and in proper working condition.
Every trailer must carry at least:
In addition, if the trailer width exceeds 2.03 metres at any point, it must also carry:
Lights and reflectors must be visible at a distance of not less that 150 metres.
Where the motor vehicle pulls a trailer, rear view mirrors must be attached so as to enable the driver to have a clear view to the back of the combination of vehicles: (1) 1 rear view mirror attached to the exterior of the motor vehicle on the left side if the existing rear view mirror cannot be used; and (2) another rear view mirror attached to the exterior of the motor vehicle on the right side if the existing interior or exterior rear view mirror on the right side cannot be used.
Same speed as passenger cars, or as posted.
No person may occupy a trailer in motion or tolerate such practice. Where a trailer is specially designed and equipped for the transportation of persons, it may be used for that purpose in parades or other popular events provided the highway used is closed to all other traffic.
No person may use a road vehicle for pulling another road vehicle the wheels of which remain on the ground, unless the vehicle is firmly held by a bar.
Accident resulting in injury must be reported immediately to the police. Accidents resulting in property damage are not required to be directly reported to the SAAQ. When a driver is involved in an accident involving an animal weighing over 25 kg, an unattended road vehicle or any other inanimate object, and if the owner of the damaged property or a person representing him cannot be found at the scene of the accident or nearby, the driver must communicate immediately with the nearest police station to report the accident.
Contact your local AAA club about AAA Guaranteed Arrest Bond validity in Canada.
The owner of any automobile operating in Québec must have a liability insurance contract. The insurance contract must cover property damage caused in an accident in Canada or the United States and bodily injury or death caused by the automobile outside Québec, elsewhere in Canada, and in the United States. The minimum coverage required for an individual owner is C$50,000, and the minimum coverage required for a commercial operator is C$1,000,000.
Québec has an automobile insurance fund administered by the SAAQ that compensates bodily injury and death as a result of automobile accidents. Residents of Québec are covered inside and outside of Québec. Non-residents are covered for accidents occurring in Québec to the extent that they were not responsible for the accident.
A person registering a vehicle in Québec or obtaining a Québec driver’s license must make payments into the fund.
Residents: All Quebecers, victims of automobile accidents in or outside Quebec, shall be compensated by the SAAQ regardless of fault. Non-residents: Non-resident victim of an accident in Quebec shall be compensated to the extent he or she is not responsible for the accident unless a different agreement between the SAAQ and the jurisdiction where he or she resides. In case of disagreement between the victim and the SAAQ concerning his or her responsibility, the victim may have recourse to the law court. He or she will be entirely compensated if he or she is the owner, driver, or passenger of a vehicle registered in Quebec. Benefits include: Indemnity for loss of income: 90% of net income (maximum gross income considered is C$69,500.00 (CDN/yearly). Reimbursement of medical, hospital, and rehabilitation expenses. Lump sum awarded for permanent impairment is C$236,131.00 for 2015. Death benefits depend on the age and marital status of the deceased. For 2015, the maximum lump sum to cover funeral expenses is C$5046.00.
Financing of the public automobile insurance plan is ensured through contributions paid by motor vehicle owners and driver’s licence holders. In 2015, owners of a passenger vehicle are required to pay a contribution of $131.23 upon renewal of their registration. The amount varies for other types of vehicles. Holders of a driver’s licence must pay a minimum contribution of $69.71 a year. The contribution may be higher, depending on the number of demerit points entered on their record.
Trucks with a GVWR of 4,500 kg or more and combination road vehicles where the GVWR of one of the vehicle is 4,500 kg or more must stop at weigh stations. Exceptions: vehicles used for recreational purposes and trucks with a net weight of 4,000 kg or less registered as a passenger vehicles.
No province-wide helmet law requirement.
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). 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.
The legal drinking age is 18. Drivers under age 21 are subject to a zero-tolerance .00 BAC policy.