Vehicle Transfer in Ontario through Ontario Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office: Hints and Tips.

I just bought a car, and I figured I'd write this article to help explain some of the things that I had a hard time finding an answer to, or being too confident in the information I had received.

Ontario Temporary Vehicle Permits

You can still get a temporary $15 10-day vehicle permit if you buy an uncertified vehicle (ie: one without a "Safety" certificate or e-test). I believe you're limited to getting only two of these 10-day temporary permits. You still buy the full set of plates for $20, which you can renew with proper stickers after this time period.

It's usually a good idea to only buy a car with a safety or e-test, but there can be instances where it doesn't make good sense to do so.

Vehicle License Plate Renewals

If you're just going to get your plate stickers renewed, don't dare go to a service centre unless you have to, do it at a kiosk. I despise the trend toward serve-yourself as much as everyone else does, but since no one bothers with the machines, or think they're too complicated to use, you'll ultimately save time by using them for the simple stuff. Since all cars driven on Ontario roads require insurance, and you require insurance to renew your license, I don't know why they can't just roll the fee in with our insurance as a line item on insurance premia. Maybe some enterprising insurance company can offer this as a service where they automagically renew the stickers and mail them with my new pink insurance slips?

Ontario Tax - Sale of Car/Auto/Truck/Motorcycle

You pay 13% HST/PST/RST/whatever-they-call-it-now based on the higher of the wholesale price as indicated on the Used Vehicle Information Package, or the price in the Bill of Sale. There are instances where the UVIP does not have a wholesale or retail price, such as for bikes or rarer vehicles. In this case, tax is paid based on the actual amount paid as written in the Bill of Sale (ie: the declared purchase price).

Waterloo Ontario Vehicle Safety Inspections

The cost for a safety that I was quoted in Waterloo Ontario was $95 from an independent shop that I was referred to. The stealership quoted $187.50. You may be able to get cheaper, but I considered this a reliable referral, and I already felt good when I called them to book the safety. E-tests are the same price everywhere, go wherever it's convenient, but you mind as well get the person that's doing the safety to do it for convenience's sake. Having said that, some people recommend the shops that only do simple things like e-tests and oil changes, since they have less to gain in major mechanical work if you fail. I figure going to an independent shop with a decent reputation based on a reliable referral is the way to go, and I try to drop the fact that I was referred there by a friend. I figure they're less likely to screw me over on something when they know that the first thing I'll do is tell this friend what happened and they'll lose more than just my business.

Ontario Emissions Testing on Vehicle Sale/Transfer

E-Tests are still required for a transfer, even if the car otherwise wouldn't require an e-test. For example, cars don't require an e-test until 5 years after their model year, but when sold/transferred, even within 1 year of manufacture, it still requires an e-test. The Ontario government claims that this mandatory for transfers but otherwise unrequired test is to protect buyers, but this is where they confuse the consumer: you can buy a car without an e-test, get it temporarily permitted, and then take it for its e-test. So, in other words, since it isn't mandatory to pass an e-test in order to offer a car for sale, consumers aren't actually being protected. The Ontario government is trying to keep garages happy after making big investments in dynos and emissions sensors after partially scrapping their largely ineffective and even more so unpopular vehicle emissions program.

Ontario Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office Hours and Lineups

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office locations largely have crappy hours that are great if you're on welfare or a student, but atrocious if you have, you know, a real job that requires you to go to work and pay things like taxes. Having said that, the location that I went to "closed" at 5PM, but that means they locked the doors at 5PM, as long as you got in there before 5PM, you were served in a dignified manner. I'll bet these offices are empty during the day, so try to avoid this rush if you can, but it's at least not as bad as I first expected. The line was long but moved fast, and they seemed to know what they were doing. Since I was doing a vehicle transfer, getting new plates, and a temporary permit, I sprawled out all of my papers on top of the counter so that the agent could pick and grab what she needed. What I thought would be a complicated ordeal took just 5 minutes once I got to the counter. Complicated for me, but not for them.

The lineup was fun (for me), I could see and hear the people that obviously didn't do even 2 minutes of research beforehand, like the person that didn't know what an E-test was, or the 80+ year old that couldn't understand why the Ministry wanted to send him to a class to see if we should send him to another test to see if we should take his license away (I drive more defensively after they weren't legally able to take it away right then and there). Do your research and have all of your paperwork in order, then it's a quick visit once you're at the counter, and you can smugly laugh at those that don't. While waiting in line, don't get secretly or overtly angry at the people that got there before you for not having their paperwork in order, you may be one of them, but you won't find out until you get to the counter and they're long gone. Karma.

Don't make them ask to see your driver's license, you know they're going to need it.

There is a Dealers line where I suppose auto dealers get to skip the queue. On the one hand, I think it's wrong to make the average Joe wait in line, as their time is valuable too, but I guess Dealers at least have their paperwork in order, and oh so many other people don't as I learned. The line takes regulars most of the time anyway. Dealers are probably smart enough to go while there is little to no lineup too. Having said that, I speculate that the agent at this desk is the most knowledgeable one available, so if you're doing something really complicated, consider letting the person behind you in front until the person at the Dealer counter calls 'next' without making it too obvious what you're doing. At least I couldn't imagine the agent at the Dealers Only counter that I ended up at being any better than she was, it was as if she worked there for years and knew every price, regulation, computer application and paper shuffle like the back of her hand.

You will probably wait in a lineup, so come prepared, bring a magazine, smartphone, music player or even a friend to help pass the time, there isn't much else to look at inside these places, often not even the other people in line (I think I got a bit lucky that day...). At least banks nowadays are smart enough to put CP24 or the like on a big screen somewhere with the CC on, probably the smartest $1000 investment a company could ever make). The most disgruntled people seem to be people that for some stupid reason expected there to be no lineup while arriving 20 minutes before closing to a (pseudo?)government office that closes at 5PM.

You can pay your $$$ RST/PST/HST on your vehicle transfer with a Visa or Mastercard, among other forms of non-advantageous methods of payment. If it's a big tax bill, bring a second method of payment just in case your credit card company decides to reject your payment for a transaction that has a very long paper trail and 0% chance of actually being fraudulent. I recommend you use the MBNA Smart Cash so you get 1% cash back like I did (and no, they didn't reject it, but Relay for Life did).

The agents that work here deal with idiots all day. Okay, probably 5-10% of the time, but when you work in this type of profession, 5% gets to feels like 80%. Don't be one of them. If you forgot to bring something, it's your fault, or the person that made the rule's fault, not the person on the other side of the desk. Leave, get the paperwork you need, come back when you have it, and arrange a calm and comfortable lunch with your MPP friend about it while largely keeping to yourself how stupid and angering such and such rule, regulation, fee, tax and/or regulation is. If these agents went to your work and did what "80%" of people did to them daily, but now to you, you'd probably throw them out or quit your job if you couldn't. Karma.

Having said that, one agent struck a 3 or so minute conversation with one of the customers/clients/patients, WHILE WE WERE ALL WAITING IN LINE AT 4:50PM, THE GALL HE MUST HAVE HAD. Or at least that's probably what 90% of people in line were thinking. I figured he was putting a human face on an increasingly faceless industry, good for him. The morale improvement from that 3 minute conversation with randoms likely resulted in an increase in productivity and retention that more than made up for its expense and increased wait.

Buying, Transferring and Registering a Car in Ontario Conclusion

Get the seller to pay for swapping out the winter tires and putting on summer tires when buying in May. What a pain in the ass as I sit here with a car in the driveway that has half summer and half winter tires. It would've been just $42 for the garage to do the whole thing, why didn't I just do that? Why did I think it was better to spend $60 on a jack to save $80 per year while ignoring the hours of my time it'll take me?

Canadian Prepaid processors

Who processes on behalf of the major cards like BMO, etc.? Is it First Data?
Are there any Canadian based processors?

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