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Registering a vehicle with diplomatic plates in Toronto

In order to register an imported or locally-purchased vehicle, foreign representatives and accredited family members in Ottawa must first obtain an “entitlement form” from the Global Affairs Canada Protocol Office.

The following documents are needed when requesting the form:the year, make and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of each vehicle, along with supporting documentation in English or French. Red licence plates should be picked up in person in:

Toronto at the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario

Government Service Centre in Toronto,
College Park, Market Level, 777 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C8,
(Tel.: 416–585–7412, Fax: 416–585–7429)

All foreign representatives must register their vehicles with their red diplomatic plates within 30 days of establishing residency in Canada. In order to validate the licence, a validation sticker must be affixed to the upper right-hand corner of the rear plate. When registering a vehicle for the first time, applicants must present the following documents in their original forms:

  • ID Card (two ID Cards if joint registration)
  • “Entitlement form” issued by the Office of Protocol
  • Proof of insurance (provided by insurer)
  • Bill of sale for the vehicle
  • Signed transfer of ownership, if the vehicle was purchased from a private vendor
  • Used Vehicle Information Package, if the vehicle was purchased from a private vendor
  • Safety certificate, if the vehicle was purchased used (from licensed inspection station)
  • Emissions test certificate completed under the Drive Clean Program (consult Drive Clean or call 1-888-758-2999)
  • Canada Border Services Agency Form 1, if the vehicle was imported
  • Last registration translated into English or French, if the vehicle was imported

The renewals of licence plates are generally handled by the Ministry of Transportation between November 15 and December 31. Applicants must, at renewal time, present the following original documents at the Government Service Centres listed above, along with an odometer reading in kilometres:

  • ID Card (two ID Cards if joint registration)
  • Ontario vehicle insurance policy
  • Vehicle permit for a vehicle already in Ontario
  • Original licence renewal application form completed and signed by hand
  • An odometer reading of each vehicle, in kilometers
  • Every two years, proof of the emissions test (see above)

The Ministry of Transportation will not process requests for renewals if fines are unpaid. Fines may be paid by credit card or cash at the time of renewal.

Insurance in Toronto

Auto insurance coverage is compulsory. Insurance in Toronto is run by private companies.


ome, when asked, will accept “No Claims Discounts” based on previous claims-free driving experience in other countries. Written proof of driving and claims history from previous insurers is required when seeking to obtain discounts. In cases of excessive premiums, appeals can be made to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (www.fsco.gov.on.ca).

Ontario has a “no fault” insurance system. The words “no fault” are confusing because it does, in fact, matter who was at fault and an accident may result in dramatically higher premiums and potential difficulty in obtaining coverage in the future. In the case of an accident, “no fault” means that drivers deal with their own companies, regardless of who caused the accident, and do not have to go after the other driver or wait to get benefits. The insurance company will assess fault based on charts and rules. This means that it is important to consider the reputation and quality of customer service, as well as cost, when choosing an insurance company.

For more expensive cars, having an approved theft deterrent system may reduce premiums. Some cars are more expensive to insure than others, making it wise to speak to an insurance company before buying a car.