A Guide to Car Ownership, Transferring Car Ownership & Joint Car Ownership in Ontario

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car ownership ontario

Vehicle ownership is a big step for most Canadian drivers. Whether you buy new or used, upon completion of the transaction, you become the vehicle owner. But what does that mean? Do I need to register my car and pay insurance on it every year? How do I transfer ownership if I sell my vehicle? The questions are endless!

In this blog post we will take a look at vehicle ownership in Ontario, how to change your vehicle’s ownership when selling it, and how much it costs to transfer your vehicle’s ownership.

Feel free to use our table of contents to skip to the section you want to read about.

ontario vehicle permit

In most cases, the green piece of paper issued by Ontario is what people associate with ownership. Some refer to it as a vehicle title or permit and you can get this document when buying your car from a dealer, or transferring during private sale. This includes all information about your new ride, including:

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

Here are some commonly asked questions about vehicle ownership:

Do you need to have your vehicle ownership when you're driving?

Yes, in Ontario it is required by law to carry your vehicle ownership with you while driving. The safe bet is to keep it in your glove box so you never leave home without it.

When do you need to show proof of vehicle ownership?

These are the most common scenarios where you’ll have to show proof of car ownership:

  • When you sell your vehicle
  • When you transfer ownership
  • When you get pulled over by the police
  • When replace your lost, stolen or damaged licence plate

How do you replace your lost car ownership in Ontario?

You’re able to replace your lost, damaged or stolen car papers at Service Ontario. The replacement cost is $32 and you’ll need identification, your driver’s license as well as proof of insurance in order to get your new ownership.

How do you transfer vehicle ownership in Ontario?

Whether you are buying a used car or selling your own vehicle in Ontario, it’s important to be aware of the laws associated with ownership transfers.

The term transfer may have different meanings depending on what type of transaction is taking place: transferring from one dealership to another; between two private parties (e.g., when someone buys a new and privately sells their old); or within family members who want to divest themselves of an asset such as property rights for inheritance purposes.

Before we dive into the process, there are some documents you will need to have prepared:

Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP)

The UVIP includes:

  • Details of vehicle (make, model, year)
  • Registration history
  • Lien information
  • Average wholesale value of vehicle
  • Retail sales tax information
  • Condition of vehicle
  • Bill of sale portion

If you are looking to buy a used car, it is required by law to provide the UVIP (Used Vehicle Information Package) during any private sale. A UVIP will not be needed if buying from a registered dealer or transferring ownership between family members. You 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 MTO guidelines require this certifications for transfers of used vehicles to new owners, but is not required when transferring to spouses. This certification is valid for 36 days and can be obtained from any inspection station licensed by the MTO with prices varying depending on the location.

How much does it cost to transfer car ownership in Ontario?

In Ontario, it costs $32 for your car ownership. This cost is the same for all types of vehicles. You typically don’t have to pay this as a standalone fee (unless you need to replace it) as it’s usually combined with the total buying cost.

What is required to transfer ownership of a vehicle in Ontario?

If you’re buying or selling a used vehicle, you’ll have to transfer the ownership of the vehicle. Below are the requirements for both buyers & sellers.

Buying

If you’re a buyer looking to transfer a vehicle, these are the steps you need to take:

  1. Ensure the VIN number matches the VIN number on the permit
  2. Complete bill of sale section of the UVIP
  3. Complete the application of transfer
  4. Bring the UVIP and vehicle permit to a Service Ontario within 6 days of the sale
  5. Pay the retail sales tax, vehicle registration, license plates and sticker
  6. Provide proof of car insurance

Selling

If you’re a seller looking to transfer a vehicle, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Purchase a UVIP and give it to the buyer
  2. Write the name of the buyer, signature, sale price and date on the bill of sale portion of the UVIP
  3. Sign the application for transfer portion
  4. Keep your licence plates, and the plate portion of the ownership paper
  5. Notify the Ministry of Transportation that you’ve sold your vehicle

It’s important to remember that until the vehicle transfer process is completed by the buyer at Service Ontario, it will remain registered in your name and any legal liability for it remains with you. To ensure a smooth sale of your car make sure to follow up with buyers after they are successful at registering the car. Be sure to keep records proving this transaction has been complete!

How do you transfer car ownership as a family gift?

The process of transferring ownership to a family member as a gift is fairly simple. In order to gift a vehicle to a family member, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Proof of insurance
  2. Your Driver’s Licence
  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 within the last 36 days(not needed for a spouse)
  6. Emissions test
  7. If you’re also transferring licence plates you’ll need a completed plate transfer declaration

How does joint car ownership in Ontario work?

joint car ownership ontario

Joint ownership of a car is possible in Ontario, the process involves both names of the parties being placed on the driver’s permit. This means that it’s possible to legally share your vehicle with your spouse, friend or family member. However, when it comes time to transfer or sell your vehicle, you will need signatures from all parties involved.

When one person becomes the owner, they may enter into an agreement with their partner, friend, or roommate to share the cost and liability of the vehicle. The cost may be split evenly, or one person could provide a larger share depending on what they can afford. Regardless of the split, both parties names must appear on the official green paper vehicle permit issued by the province of Ontario. On top of that, all paperwork required, including the transfer of ownership, must be signed by both parties.

Here are some commonly asked questions about joint car ownership in Ontario:

Can a vehicle be registered in two names in Ontario?

Yes, you can add two names on your car ownership, most people only do it so they qualify for a lower interest rate and more affordable monthly payments. This is becoming increasingly common with friends sharing the same lease or relatives who are also drivers in their family.

Can you put your car ownership under your parent's name?

Yes, you can put your car ownership under your parents’ names. This is very common when parents purchase their child a vehicle.

Can you do change of vehicle ownership online?

No, you can’t change the ownership of a vehicle in Ontario online. You must go to a Service Ontario centre.

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