Overview

A trailer is considered a separate vehicle from your car or truck. Before you can tow one for work or for pleasure on any public road in Ontario, you must register it and pay a one-time registration fee.

When you register your trailer, you will receive a licence plate and vehicle permit for it. You may have noticed the plates on other people’s trailers. The word ‘trailer’ appears on them, but they do not have a plate sticker. Stickers aren’t needed because drivers only have to register them once – the registration does not expire.

Utility trailers are used to transport goods and materials. They may have a removable cover or no cover.

A recreational trailer is for camping and travel. It has facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom and beds.

How to register your trailer

Whether you have a utility or recreational trailer, you can only register it in person at a ServiceOntario centre.

You need to bring documents with you. The documents you need depend on whether you’re registering a:

  • new trailer
  • used trailer (previously registered in Ontario)
  • used trailer (previously registered outside Ontario)

New trailers: register

Bring the following documents to a ServiceOntario centre:

  • New Vehicle Information Statement (NVIS) or dealer’s Certificate of Sale
  • bill of sale
  • driver’s licence or other government-issued identification (for example, your passport)
  • plate portion of permit if you want to use plates you already own

For new trailers bought in another Canadian province or territory

A dealer should still give you an NVIS. If the dealer did not give you an NVIS, you can use a dealer’s Certificate of Sale and the bill of sale.

For new trailers purchased outside of Canada

Bring the Vehicle Import Form 1 – RIV (Registrar of imported Vehicles) to the ServiceOntario centre along with the New Vehicle Information Statement from the dealer. If the dealer did not give you an NVIS, you can use one of these documents instead:

  • dealer’s Certificate of Sale and/or bill of sale
  • Certificate of Title
  • Certificate of Origin

Used trailer: previously registered in Ontario

Bring the following documents to the ServiceOntario centre:

  • vehicle portion of permit
  • bill of sale
  • driver’s licence or other government-issued identification (for example, your passport)
  • plate portion of permit from your previous trailer (if you owned one before this purchase)

If you don’t have any of these documents, please call ServiceOntario:

Used trailer: previously registered outside Ontario

If you want to register a trailer you bought in another Canadian province or territory, or in the United States, bring the following documents with you to the ServiceOntario centre:

  • Original registration from the other jurisdiction (for example, a state in the U.S.) or certificate of title
  • Original bill of sale
  • An empty weigh slip if the trailer weighs over 900kg

Note: Proof of weight can be obtained from any government approved scale site such as a garbage dump, cement company or you can get a letter from a motor vehicle dealer confirming the manufacturer’s specifications for the empty weight.

You also need to provide:

  • your driver’s licence or other government-issued identification (for example, your passport)
  • Vehicle Import Form
    • RIV, if the trailer is from outside Canada
  • plate portion of permit from your previous trailer registered in Ontario (if you owned one before this purchase)

If you don’t have any of these documents, please call ServiceOntario:

Homemade trailer: register

A homemade trailer – one you built yourself – must still be registered.

Bring your driver’s licence or other government-issued identification (for example, your passport to the ServiceOntario centre to register a homemade trailer.

If your homemade trailer weighs more than 900 kg empty

You can weigh your trailer at any Ministry of Transportation Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. Look for the green-and-white sign along highways. There are more than 12,000 stations across Ontario.

Once you confirm the trailer’s weight exceeds 900kg, bring the following documents to the ServiceOntario centre:

  • a weight slip, the document proving the weight of the trailer when empty
    • weigh your trailer and get a weight slip at a:
      • grain scale
      • recyclers
      • CAT (Caterpillar) scale
      • municipal dump (if equipped)
  • a signed letter stating ownership that includes the following details:
    • description of body type (for example, dimensions, covering, number of axels, etc.)
    • declaration that trailer is homemade
    • year trailer was built

Cost and delivery

Cost

The cost to get a plate, permit and validation sticker is $72. Remember you only have to register a trailer once.

If you are registering a new trailer, or a used or homemade trailer, you must pay applicable taxes:

Any outstanding defaulted fines against the registrant (person who is registering the trailer) must be paid to be able to register the trailer.

Payment

You can use any of the following payment methods at the ServiceOntario centre:

  • credit card: Visa, Mastercard
  • debit
  • cash
  • certified personal or company cheque or money order made payable to Minister of Finance

Delivery

Once you register your recreational or utility trailer at the ServiceOntario centre, you get your plate and permit right away – all in one visit.

Attach the licence plate to the back of your trailer where it is clearly visible. Always carry your permit, or a copy of it, to show to a police officer if asked.

Updated: July 16, 2021
Published: May 18, 2016