Why are vehicles in Ontario more expensive than Quebec?

If you are wondering why cost of cars in Ontario is more than those in Quebec, then you are at the right place.

Consumers often ask about the price differences between Quebec and Ontario vehicles. “Why are some vehicles in Ontario more expensive than those in Quebec?”  is a common question. Consumers in Ontario ask, “Should I buy a vehicle in Quebec?” or “What is the difference between buying in Ontario or Quebec?” Quebec buyers often as similar questions, “Why should I pay more to buy a vehicle in Ontario?” These are all great questions, and the answers may surprise you.

Why are some vehicles in Ontario more expensive than those in Quebec? Anytime a vehicle in Ontario changes ownership and is to be licensed for use on the road, it must come with an Ontario Safety Standards Certificate.  This certificate can only be provided by an inspection station licensed by the province of Ontario and indicates that the vehicle meets or exceeds all minimum standards for the province. That means if you are buying a used vehicle in Ontario from a dealer, and it is to be licensed for road use, it must undergo a rigorous inspection which involves hundreds of items, and all items that do not meet those standards would require repair or replacement to pass and be licensed in Ontario. It is not unusual for this to cost thousands of dollars, especially on vehicles that are a few years old. If you buy a vehicle in Quebec, this is not the case. Dealers in Quebec are not required to do any inspection to sell vehicles to consumers, thus advertised prices would not include an Ontario Safety, or even a Quebec Safety Inspection for an Ontario consumer. It would be extra.

Beyond that, Ontario has a dealer governing body that licenses and oversees the automotive retail sector specifically. The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council. OMVIC. This agency has an incredibly detailed and specific set of guidelines for the advertising and sale of vehicles in Ontario. Not only does it have the responsibility and authority to provide or cancel dealer’s licenses in Ontario, but it also provides an extremely strict legal framework for advertised prices. The province of Quebec has no such governing body, and dealers in Quebec are not required to adhere to the same guidelines.

If you live in the province of Ontario and purchase vehicle from a dealer in Quebec, you will be required to pay extra to have the vehicle certified in the province of Ontario either by doing it yourself, or by paying the dealer to do it. Not only that, but you are not protected by the same laws guiding purchases in Ontario by OMVIC and the Ministry of Transportation. You may also find that you have no recourse in the province of Quebec as you are a resident of Ontario. In other words, if you are an Ontario resident buying a vehicle in Quebec, it really is buyer beware.

Ironically, it is not the same for a Quebec purchaser buying in Ontario. If you are transferring a vehicle province to province, from Ontario to Quebec, Quebec requires a Provincial safety inspection at one of its licensed inspection stations, something Quebec buyers do not get when they buy in Quebec! Not only that, most dealers include an Ontario safety in there pricing meaning not only will the vehicle be required to pass a Quebec set of safety standards, but it will likely have already undergone a safety inspection for Ontario, and they are different. In any case, residents of Quebec who are buying a used vehicle in Ontario have the benefit of passing two inspections especially if buying from a reputable dealer, like The Car Club in Ottawa. But there are others, and you should ask. If they buy a used vehicle in Quebec, they get none!

The bottom line is this. If you live in Ontario, buying a used vehicle for driving in Ontario means you are getting an Ontario Safety Standards Certificate with the vehicle if the vehicle is advertised fit, which most are. It also means you are well protected from fraud, or misrepresentation or many other nefarious activities by OMVIC, who even provides compensation for those who get taken advantage of.  If you live in Quebec and buy a vehicle in Ontario you get all the same advantages as Ontario consumers, plus a Quebec Safety Inspection and Certificate. It’s a win win!