How to register your car

4 minute read Published on Jan 14, 2022 | Last updated Jan 14, 2022 by BrokerLink Communications

How to register your car

When you buy a car, there are a few things you need to do before you hit the road. You need to get the right car insurance (we can help with that), register your car and get license plates. But how do you register your car? Where do you go? Can you do it online? There isn’t one answer because the process is different in every province!

To make it a little easier on you, we’ve put together a handy chart to help you figure out where to go and how much you can expect to pay to register your vehicle in each Canadian province. Keep reading to learn more about how to register your car in Canada.

Overview of car registration in Canada

Registering your car means it’s registered with the government and can be driven legally. Registration is mandatory in Canada. If you ever get pulled over and the police ask for your license and registration, this is what you show them.

When you register your vehicle the first time, you’ll typically receive a license plate, license plate stickers and proof of registration that you should keep in your car (or keep a photocopy and keep the original in your wallet with your license). You must renew your registration on a regular basis; depending on the province, registration renewal is every one to two years.

What you need to register your car in Canada

Here’s everything you’ll need to register your car:

  • Driver’s license
  • Proof of purchase of the vehicle, for example a receipt
  • If the car is used, you may need a transfer of ownership form
  • Proof of insurance

You may require additional information depending on the province you live in. Check the website before you head to the registration office!

How and where to register your car in a specific province

If you are buying a new vehicle from a dealership, they’ll typically take care of vehicle registration, then you’re responsible for renewing the registration on a regular basis. If you buy a used car, you’ll have to register it at a provincial service centre.

Province Where to register Cost of registration
Ontario Service Ontario Vehicle permit: $32
License plate: $59
License plate sticker (Northern Ontario): $60
License plate sticker (Southern Ontario): $120
Alberta Service Alberta registry agent $93
Nova Scotia Access Nova Scotia Vehicle permit: $143.30-$276.50 depending on the size of the vehicle
Registration certificate: $13.20
New Brunswick Service New Brunswick $61 - $189 depending on the size of the vehicle
Newfoundland Service Newfoundland $180 or $99 for seniors
PEI PEI Government Service Centre $100
British Columbia ICBC Price varies. Talk to an ICBC agent for more information.
Manitoba MPI Service Centre Varies depending on vehicle. Contact an MPI Service centre for more information.
Saskatchewan SGI agents Price varies depending on vehicle. Contact your local license issuer for more information.
Quebec SAAQ Service Outlet Varies depending on vehicle.

Note: if you are moving to a different province in Canada, you typically have some time to register your vehicle. Most provinces have a grace period of three months, but check the rules in the province you’re moving to.

What is a vehicle permit?

Your vehicle permit is proof that your vehicle is registered. It shows that your car can be driven legally, and it shows who owns the vehicle. You can keep it in your car in case you are pulled over or need to show your registration for any reason (You may keep the original in your wallet and keep a copy in your car in case of theft. You will need to show the original to police if pulled over.).

Looking for the right insurance for your car? BrokerLink can help!

Between researching what kind of vehicle you want, purchasing that vehicle, registering it and finding the right insurance, there is a lot to think about. Let BrokerLink help with the insurance. We’ll take the time to get to know you so we can find insurance that’s right for you and you can drive away with peace of mind knowing you’re protected.

Get an auto insurance quote [phone]

How to register your car FAQs

Do I have to pay a fee for the car registration?

Yes, you have to pay a fee to register your car. The fee varies from province to province but expect to pay at least $100. You will also have to renew your registration on a regular basis, usually every one to two years depending on the province.

What is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

Vin stands for vehicle identification number. Think of it as a serial number – every vehicle has a unique VIN. It identifies the manufacturer of the vehicle, as well as the make, model and the year it was manufactured. The number can also be used to find the history of the vehicle, including details like maintenance and accidents.

Do I receive any documents as a proof of my car registration?

Yes, you’ll receive proof of registration that you can keep in your car.