New rules for mechanics and garage owners
You must use the Passenger/Light-Duty Vehicle Inspection Standard (PDF) for vehicles that require a safety standards certificate. Learn more about the new regulations.

Overview

A safety standards certificate confirms that your vehicle met the minimum safety standards on the date the certificate was issued. It is not a warranty or guarantee of the vehicle’s condition.

You can buy and register a vehicle without a safety standards certificate, but cannot put plates on a vehicle without one.

To get a certificate, your vehicle must first pass an inspection at an inspection station, licensed by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

Where to get a certificate

Any inspection station in Ontario, licensed by MTO, can give you a certificate once your vehicle passes an inspection. Most licensed inspection stations have a sign that says Motor Vehicle Inspection Station.

When you need a certificate

You need a safety standard inspection and certificate if you are:

  1. registering a rebuilt vehicle
  2. transferring a used vehicle to a new owner (unless the new owner is your spouse)
  3. registering a vehicle in Ontario that was bought in or came from another province, territory or country
  4. changing the status of a vehicle from unfit to fit

Who is exempt

You do not need a safety standards inspection and certificate if you are:

  1. registering a used motorized snow vehicle, off-road vehicle, motor-assisted bicycle (e.g. moped), or trailer
  2. transferring the vehicle to your spouse

If you have questions or need more information on exemptions, please call ServiceOntario’s Driver and Vehicle Contact Centre at:

  • 416-235-2999
  • Toll-free: 1-800-387-3445

Inspection criteria

When you take your vehicle to a licensed Motor Vehicle Inspection Station, they must use government-regulated inspection criteria to determine if your vehicle meets the minimum standards to pass inspection.

Learn more about the inspection rules for:

If you have a concern or complaint about an inspection station or recently certified vehicle, please call us at 1-800-387-7736 (toll-free). You’ll need to know the current mileage of the vehicle. If you’ve done a qualified re-inspection, you’ll need those results as well.

Cost

The cost of a safety standard inspection and the certificate is different at each Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. This isn’t regulated by the government.

Validity period

A safety standards certificate is valid for 36 calendar days after the inspection.

Please note that if it expires before you register your vehicle, you will have to pay for a new inspection and certificate.

Certifying a salvage vehicle as rebuilt

A salvage vehicle is a vehicle that has been identified as stolen and dismantled or damaged as a result of a collision, impact (e.g. a large tree falls onto the vehicle), fire or flood.

In order to register and put a plate on a salvage vehicle:

  • it must be inspected, certified and/or repaired by a specialized Motor Vehicle Inspection Station, licensed to conduct more in-depth, structural inspections (call the inspection station to confirm)
  • you must get both a Structural Inspection Certificate and a Safety Standards Certificate from the inspection station

The vehicle will be re-branded from salvage to rebuilt once you submit a Structural Inspection Certificate at any ServiceOntario location.

Updated: May 14, 2021
Published: May 01, 2017