Blog Car Ownership In Ontario - Transfer Vehicle Ownership, Cost, Lost Permit & FAQs

Feb 5, 2020

Learn All About Ontario Vehicle Ownership

Woman and man shaking hands at car dealership

How much do you really know about car ownership in Ontario? Like millions of others, you own a vehicle, but how much do you know about it?

People in Ontario buy and sell cars every day. Whether you buy new or used, upon completion of the transaction, you become the vehicle owner. You have the car ownership papers, and the vehicle is registered in your name.

This blog takes a look at the types of ownership, costs, and how to transfer it to family or when selling your vehicle.

What Is Vehicle Ownership In Ontario?

Most people associate ownership in Ontario with the green piece of paper that is issued by the province. Some refer to it as the vehicle title or vehicle permit. You receive this document when you buy a car from a dealership, or when you transfer it during a private sale. It includes the following information :

  • The VIN number
  • Make and model of the car
  • Name and address of the car owner
  • The licence plate number
  • The smaller portion of the plate sticker

Do You Need To Have Your Vehicle Ownership When Driving?

Yes, you are required to carry your vehicle permit with you when you drive. Most people keep it in their glove box, and it is the document police will request if you are pulled over.

Types Of Car Ownership In Ontario

Here are a few of the most common questions Ontario drivers have about ownership :

Can I Legally Have Joint Car Ownership In Ontario?

Yes, joint ownership of a car title is possible in Ontario. This also means that all documentation for the automobile must be signed by both parties. If you plan to sell or transfer, all parties must sign off on the appropriate documentation.

Can Car Ownership Be Under Two Names?

Yes, you can add two names. Most people do so to qualify for car loans and make driving more affordable. It’s increasingly common for friends, roommates, and relatives to share it.

Can You Put Car Ownership Under Parents' Name?

Yes, you can put ownership under your parents’ name. Many parents purchase vehicles for their children and put them under their names. The child can also have their name added to the title.

Do You Own A Car If You Are Leasing It In Ontario?

No. When you agree to a lease, you do not own the vehicle. The car dealership or parent company maintains ownership of it. You will still be provided with the ownership and registration papers.

What Is The Difference Between Vehicle Ownership Permit And Registration?

Vehicle ownership is the process of purchasing a car. The permit is the green piece of paper provided to you by the seller. Vehicle registration is the process of registering your vehicle with the province of Ontario.

To register you will need proof of insurance, a valid license plate and plate sticker. This process can be completed at any ServiceOntario location.

What Is The Cost Of Car Ownership In Ontario?

In Ontario, it will cost $32. This is applicable to all types of vehicles. This fee is often lumped into the total buying cost and will be listed on the car bill of sale.

Learn more about the total costs of own and drive a car .

How To Transfer Car Ownership In Ontario

Ontario license plate

Whether you are buying a used car or selling a car in Ontario, it’s important to be aware of the laws associated with the transfer of the ownership. Transferring it can happen between a dealership and a buyer, a private sale, or through family members.

Before we outline the steps required for a transfer, there are a few terms you need to become familiar with :

Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP)

The used vehicle information package provides buyers with important information including :

  • Vehicle details and description
  • Registration history in Ontario
  • Lien information
  • The average wholesale value of the car
  • Retail sales tax information
  • The condition of the automobile
  • Bill of sale section

It is legally required under the Highway Traffic Act for sellers to provide the UVIP to a buyer during a private sale. A UVIP is not required when you buy from a registered used car dealer or when transferring ownership between family members. Sellers can purchase one for $20 through ServiceOntario.

Safety Standards Certificate

The safety standards certificate confirms that a vehicle meets minimum safety standards on the date it was inspected and the certificate was granted. The certificate is required when transferring a used vehicle to a new owner. This is not required when you transfer a vehicle to a spouse. The certificate is valid for 36 days and can be obtained by any inspection station licensed by the MTO. Price varies by location.

Used Car Transfer Of Ownership Steps - For Buyers And Sellers

Once you’ve found a vehicle and have agreed on payment terms, here is how to complete the used vehicle transfer of ownership process for buyers :

How Do You Transfer Car Ownership For Buyers?

Here are the steps for the buyer to transfer it :

  1. Make sure the VIN matches the VIN number on the permit
  2. Complete the bill of sale portion of the Used Vehicle Inspection Package
  3. Complete the Application for Transfer
  4. Bring the UVIP and vehicle permit to Service Ontario within 6 days of the sale
  5. Pay the retail sales tax
  6. Pay the licensing fees for the plates, permit, and sticker
  7. Show proof of car insurance

How Do You Transfer Car Ownership For Sellers?

Follow these steps if you are the seller transferring ownership of a used vehicle :

  1. Purchase a Used Vehicle Inspection Package and provide it to the buyer
  2. Record the name of buyer, signature, purchase price, and sale date on the bill of sale portion of the UVIP
  3. Sign the Application for Transfer portion
  4. Keep your license plate and the plate portion of the ownership paper
  5. Notify the Ministry of Transportation that your vehicle is sold

Keep in mind, the vehicle will remain registered in the seller’s name until the vehicle transfer process is completed by the buyer at Service Ontario. You remain legally liable for it until the transfer is complete. Therefore, it’s recommended you follow up with the buyer to ensure the transfer is successful. Maintain proof of the transfer.

How Do You Transfer Ownership Of A Car To Family Members As A Gift?

Lost Car Ownership

You can transfer ownership of a vehicle to most family members as a gift. This includes a spouse, parents, grandparents, children, siblings and in-laws. You do not have to pay retail sales tax when you transfer.

In order to complete a ownership transfer to family, you need to provide the following documentation to Service Ontario :

  1. Proof of insurance
  2. Your driver’s license
  3. Vehicle ownership permit
  4. A completed sworn statement for a Family Gift of a Used Motor Vehicle in the Province of Ontario form
  5. Safety Standards Certificate (not required if transferring to a spouse)
  6. Emissions test
  7. A completed plate transfer declaration (if you are also transferring license plates)

Ontario Car Ownership FAQs

No. You cannot change car ownership online. You will need to visit a ServiceOntario location to show proof of ownership, insurance, and other documents.

You can change your address on your vehicle permit online. However, you will need to visit any ServiceOntario location to pick up your updated car ownership papers. You will need to bring your old permit with you. If you do not have your old permit, you will be required to pay a $32 fee.

Lost car ownership papers are a common occurrence. You can replace lost, damaged, or stolen car papers at ServiceOntario. The replacement cost is $32. Bring identification, your driver’s license, and proof of valid car insurance in Ontario with you.

There are a number of situations when you may need to show proof, including :

  • When pulled over by police
  • When selling your automobile
  • When transferring ownership
  • When replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged license plate

Yes, you can transfer a car with a lien or outstanding debt. Buying a car with a lien can be a risk. If the lien is not paid, the debt holder has the right to repossess the vehicle from the person who owes the money OR from the buyer of the car.

Always check the lien information on the Used Vehicle Information Package.

Transferring ownership after a death can play out in a number of ways. The executor of the will is required to visit ServiceOntario and provide a copy of the will, vehicle ownership papers, personal identification, proof of insurance, and proof of death certificate to transfer the it to a beneficiary.

If the spouse is the executor of the will and the vehicle is being transferred to a family member, the rules for transferring ownership of a vehicle to a family member apply.

If two married people have a jointly owned vehicle, the surviving person can transfer the ownership into their name. A death certificate will be required to complete the transfer of a car after a death.

If the deceased does not have a will, the executor must prove the recipient of the vehicle is entitled to it. You can get a letter of opinion drafted by your lawyer and present it to the Ministry of Transportation.