Buying a Car
8. How can I buy a car from a private seller?
Carefully check the car and register all defects; it will help you reduce the price. It is a very good idea to have the car checked by an independent expert, for example, a local mechanic who you are familiar with. It is best to get behind the wheel and test-drive the car for a few kilometres. Do you feel comfortable? Check to see if there is any smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, and if there are any unusual sounds when switching gears or braking. Then, carefully check the car documents. Try to learn the history of the car, whether it was in an accident before, and how many kilometers there are on the speedometer. Also be sure that there are no outstanding debts associated with the car, whether there were problems with safety inspectors, and if the person selling the car is its real owner.
The seller is obliged to present to you a package of documents, which will answer these questions. This package is called the Used Vehicle Information Package or UVIP. See information about UVIP at www.ontario.ca/en/services_for_residents/053408. A UVIP can be obtained at a Vehicle Licence Issuing Office. Selling a car without a UVIP is illegal. The car must be no more than ten years old and have run up no more than 200 thousand kilometers. A car like this will usually cost about 6-8 thousand dollars. Buying cheaper cars, for example for $3,000, is a false economy because you will spend a lot of money on repairs.
See also: Buying a Used Car - Tips and Scams to Avoid
9. How can I lease a car?
If you want to lease a car, find out the details of the transaction. Leasing a car usually lasts for two to three years, during which time there is a warranty and you will not pay for the repairs. When leasing a car, you must pay a down payment and sign a contract for your chosen term. During the period of lease you will pay a monthly charge. At the end of the lease, you can return the car in good condition with mileage not higher than specified in the contract or, if you like it, you can buy it.
10. How can I get car insurance?
Before registering your vehicle, you should insure it by selecting the appropriate insurance company. The law says that if a collision is your fault and it causes damage to someone else's car and/or its driver sustains injuries, the insurance company will pay for car repair and driver expenses for treatment and rehabilitation. This insurance is mandatory. You can also insure against damage to your car and your health, but the law does not require it. You can find an insurance company through the advice of relatives or friends and if you want to find an insurance agent who speaks your native language, see ads in the ethnic newspapers catering to your community. Contact various insurance companies and compare prices. The cost of auto insurance depends on the model and date of manufacture of the car, your age and health, your driving experience, place of residence, history of your insurance claims, etc. Beginner drivers will have to pay the insurance company a monthly premium of about 300-400 dollars.
11. What do I need to know about car registration?
If you bought a car at a dealership, they will issue you a registration after which you will have to get a Permit, Licence plate and Sticker. If you are buying a used vehicle, you will need to register the vehicle within six days of the sale at a Service Ontario centre. To register a vehicle and get a permit and licence plate, you need:
•your driver’s licence or your registrant identification number (RIN),
•the completed used vehicle information package (UVIP),
•proof of purchase,
•proof of insurance from an insurance provider licensed in Ontario,
•the original vehicle permit from the seller with the completed transfer portion,
•the plate portion of the permit if you already have a licence plate.
To get a licence plate sticker, you will need to pass a Drive Clean vehicle emissions test and get a Safety Standards Certificate.
12. What are the rules for using parking lots?
There are certain rules for using parking lots. Being aware of these rules will help you to avoid an unnecessary fine. When you want to park your car, carefully read two or three times the parking meters or road signs. There are parking lots next to shops, restaurants, bars, banks, and museums, where you are normally allowed to park for up to 2 hours. You can also park on the streets, where there are special signs indicating permission. In the city centre parking is usually paid; it can be located on the street, where the payment is received by meter, or in separate parking lots, both above ground and underground. Fines for illegal parking range on average from 35 to 70 dollars, depending on the violation. Usually you won’t pay a fine if someone is in the car who says that they are about to leave. Never leave anything valuable in a car in a parking lot, even if you think it won’t attract attention, The Toronto Parking Authority operates the system of Municipal off-street parking lots (‘Green P’) and the on-street metered parking. There are 60 municipal parking lots containing about 20,000 spaces and approximately 17,500 on-street spaces operated by way of single space meters. Metered parking costs $1.50, $2.25, $3.00 or $4.00 per hour depending on the area of the city.
13. What are traffic tickets?
If a driver commits a traffic violation and the police witness it, the offender gets a traffic ticket, the amount of which depends on the type of violation, the driver's previous record and how many penalties he already has. If the driver does not agree with the traffic ticket, he can fight the ticket in court to reduce or eliminate the penalty.
The driver may apply to the traffic court by himself or hire a traffic violation lawyer, who is usually paid if the ticket is reduced or eliminated. The court summons the driver and the police officer to a hearing where the case is decided. If you hire a lawyer, he can come to court with you or instead of you. Sometimes the police officer doesn’t come to court; in this case, the judge often frees the driver from the penalty. Be aware that the driver's ticket will be recorded in your personal file and may be the cause of an increase in the cost of insurance, so if you have the opportunity to avoid the fine, it is worth doing it. If the violation is significant, in addition to a fine, the driver will get demerit points.
The worst violation of traffic rules is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is called impaired driving. It is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada and in the case of impaired driving a driver may lose their licence, car and could even be imprisoned. Go to https://www.ontario.ca/page/impaired-driving and learn more about traffic violation rules and regulations.
14. What are demerit points?
Demerit points are penalties entered into the record of a driver which remain on his/her driving record for two years. After accumulating too many points, the driver could lose their driver's licence. See below how many demerit points driver can get in case of:
•Failure to remain at the scene of an accident - 7.
•Stunt driving - exceeding speed limit by 50 km/h or more - 6.
•Careless driving and failure to stop for a school bus - 6.
•Speeding 16-29 km/h over the limit- 3.
•Speeding 30-49 km/h over the limit- 4.
•Seatbelt Offences - 2.
•Failure to obey a Stop Sign, Traffic Control or Railway Crossing Signals - 3.
If a new driver gets 8 demerit points, he/she may be deprived of the driver licence for a month or more, but an experienced driver can accumulate 14 demerit points before losing their licence. Try to avoid getting demerit points; the more points you have, the more you will have to pay for car insurance. Go to https://www.ontario.ca/page/understanding-demerit-points and learn more about demerit points.
15. Where can I repair my car?
All Canadian cities have garages and mechanics that repair cars. It is better when you have a permanent mechanic recommended by your relatives or friends. You can trust this person and not be afraid he will make you pay for unnecessary repairs. But you can hire any person you want. For example, you can find a licensed mechanic at Canadian Tire (https://www.canadiantire.ca/en.html). If you want to find a mechanic who speaks your native language, look for ads in newspapers catering to your ethnic community. Just as patients often go to another doctor to get a second opinion, we recommend that you also have your car inspected by two or three mechanics, because their recommendations for repairs as well as prices may be quite different.
Get the estimate for repairs in advance, and ask about the inspection fee. Often after the repairs are complete, the mechanic will ask for more money, but usually this amount should be no more than 10% of the agreed price. You will find other rights and duties related to hiring a mechanic to repair your car on the webpage Car repair shops: your rights https://www.ontario.ca/page/car-repair-shops-your-rights.
16. Are there any Canadian sources in other languages?
Yes, visit: https://settlement.org/translated-information/
Leisure and Sports
1. What are Canadian statutory holidays?
These are the following 9 paid statutory holidays in Canada:
1.New Year's Day
However, the provinces and territories can include their own paid and unpaid days off.
Often holidays combined with Saturdays and Sundays make long weekends, which are a great time for sports, relaxing, having fun and going on a trip.
A full list of Canadian holidays in 2022 can be found at https://www.officeholidays.com/countries/canada.
2. How can I find out about parks in my area?
Are you tired of seeing your kids playing video games when it's a beautiful day? Well, it's time to get outside for some real-life fun! Even if your budget is tight, you can have many adventures at a park. There are 40 national parks in Canada. In Ontario, provincial parks cover about 10% of the total area of the province. There are countless other parks that are run locally by the government of the cities or towns that they belong to. For newcomers who are moving to a new area for the first time, information about parks might be something they have to search for. You can consult the Parks Canada website to find about federally run parks. If you live in Ontario, you should take a look at the Ontario Parks website https://www.ontarioparks.com/en. Most cities and towns in Canada also have websites, which usually provide information about the parks that are within their borders. For example, visit the website: Parks Locator Map City of Toronto. Many parks offer adult and children activities, hiking, bird watching, picnic sites, covered shelters, barbecues. etc., but you have to know and obey the park visitors' rules.
3. What are water activities?
Canada has the largest world water reserves. There are a lot of huge rivers and lakes, which is why water activities are quite popular in Canada and there are plenty of resources available here for those who enjoy spending their leisure time on the water. Newcomers to Canada, especially if they are from warmer countries, can enjoy such water activities as swimming, boating, surfing, windsurfing and waterskiing, fishing, cruising and spending summer time in resorts. There are many beaches in Ontario that are free of charge to use, although you may need to pay for transportation or parking. Also there are many programs available that can give you and your family access to pools and swimming lessons free of charge or at reduced rates. Be aware that some of these programs are popular and there are sometimes waiting lists to join them. Unfortunately, there are accidents that occur every year in the water in Canada. Immigrants to Canada should be especially aware of water safety and strictly obey the rules and regulations. To see swimming, boating and water safety tips visit
https://www.redcross.ca/, click on "Training and Certification” and "Swimming and Water Safety Tips & Resources.”
4. Where can I go to experience Canadian culture and art?
Life is more than just work and family life alone. For many newcomers, who spend a lot of time getting their new life together, there is a well-supported arts and culture scene in most of Canada’s larger cities, especially in Toronto. If you like to see live productions and plays, you can go to the Theatre District near King Street West in downtown Toronto, where you will find the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Royal Alexandra Theatre and the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. The National Ballet of Canada usually performs at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra hosts high profile classical music events, generally at the Roy Thompson Hall. To see traditional and modern art visit the Art Gallery of Ontario or the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and if you like movies, there are many movie festivals, some of which are related to a specific language or culture. People who are interested in museums should visit the most famous museum in Canada, the Royal Ontario museum. There are many options for joining free culture and arts programs. The Doors Open Ontario program provides free admission to heritage sites all across Ontario. Dundas Square offers a variety of free concerts and films, as do the Barry Zukerman Amphitheatre, Mel Lastman square and the Harbourfront Centre. The Toronto Library offers free passes to Museums, Historic Sites and even the Toronto Zoo.
5. Where can I spend holidays with people from my country?
After arriving in Canada most newcomers want to stay connected to their roots and have some link to people who grew up in the same culture and speak the same language. Many Canadian non-profit cultural organizations try to create opportunities for people of a certain country or ethnicity to get together for activities to keep their culture alive in Canada. There are many festivals that take place to celebrate different cultures, which create a good place to meet people from your country. In order to find out where your ethnic community is, visit community recreation centres, and search for local businesses related to your nationality, for example restaurants, cafes, bars and food markets. If you find that many of those businesses are close to each other, you have found a neighbourhood where people of your nationality get together. UReach Toronto has an excellent "Cultural Profiles” tool that provides accessible ethnicity and language information for newcomers. Also, you may find programs and events designed for people from your country of origin in libraries. Once you have found your ethnic community, you are sure to be informed of many free events put on by cultural organizations that you can go to.
6. Where are some places of interest?
If you enjoy places of interest, you have to know that the most famous attraction in Toronto is definitely the CN Tower. From its completion in 1976 to 2010, it was the tallest tower in the world at 555.33 meters tall. The observation deck towards the top of the building offers the best view of Toronto in the whole city. Near the CN Tower you can visit the aquarium, which hosts 16,000 water animals and has personal interactive exhibits. Near the aquarium you will find the Rogers Centre which is an excellent place to get a taste of professional sports. Previously named the Skydome, this stadium is equipped with a mechanical roof that can be closed or opened based on weather conditions. Another great place to visit, especially with children, is Wonderland. Located north of Toronto, Wonderland has over 200 attractions, 69 rides and a 20 acre water park. If you enjoy gambling you may be disappointed that downtown Toronto does not have any Las Vegas style casinos. However, the Woodbine Racetrack, within the Toronto city limits, provides live horse races which you can try your luck on. If you ever wondered what life in Canada was like in the 1800s, you should definitely visit the Black Creek Pioneer Village near York University in Toronto. This historical theme park aims to recreate the experience of 1800s lifestyles through a combination of restored buildings, artefacts and in-character guides, wearing the clothing that was popular at that time.
Ask for Canadian travel guides at the library and you will find many more places of interest in Toronto, Ontario and across Canada.
7. Where can I play sports in Canada?
Sport is a very important aspect of Canadian life. Almost every neighbourhood has facilities nearby for sport activities. To find local sports teams that your children can join, search for "little league” the name of the sport and the name of your city or neighbourhood. If you are more interested in joining a sports team yourself, there are lots of adult leagues that you can join. If you search for "women’s leagues,” including the name of the sport and the name of your city, you will find many teams available for yourself or for female members of your family. Many seniors like to join sports teams and most social sports clubs have teams for seniors. You may find seniors’ sport teams in the Ontario Senior Games Association (https://www.ontarioseniorgames.ca/). There are many options for people with disabilities to participate in sports. To get involved, take a look at the Parasport Ontario website https://www.parasportontario.ca/. If you are looking for something a little more exciting than conventional sports, namely extreme sports such as skydiving, wakeboarding, snowmobiling and rock climbing, take a look at the Lonely Planet list of extreme sports in Canada, (www.lonelyplanet.com/canada/activities/extreme-sports).
8. How can I go traveling abroad?
Before traveling abroad take time to be well prepared. First, collect the right documents. It is better to wait until your Permanent Resident card is received before leaving the country. If you are already a citizen, you should bring your Canadian passport and any necessary visa. Always check in advance to see if you will need any visa to enter the country you plan to visit. One advantage of being a Canadian citizen is that there are many countries Canadians can visit without arranging for a visa in advance. Visas are not required for Canadians visiting the US, Mexico, New Zealand, any of the European Union countries, most of the countries in South America and the Caribbean and many Asian countries such as Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Now it is time to think about buying travel insurance. While emergency treatment is generally free in Canada for citizens and permanent residents, the federal and provincial governments will not cover most of your overseas medical expenses. If you get into an accident or get a serious illness abroad, you may end up with a bill in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is no shortage of insurance providers in Canada, so look into several companies’ plans to find one that suits your needs.
When it comes to taking items out of Canada, make sure you do not bring more than $10,000 in currency over the border without declaring it in advance. Most countries have rules against bringing prohibited items such as illegal drugs, weapons, certain fruits, vegetables, meat, plants and animals into the country. When re-entering Canada, the goods that are prohibited are similar to those that you aren’t allowed to take out.
9. Where can I find additional information about leisure and sports in Canada?
We recommend the following sources about leisure and sports in Canada
Welcome to Parks Canada https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/index.
Canada's 50 Places of a Lifetime http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/canada/places-of-a-lifetime.
10. Are there any Canadian sources in other languages?
Yes, visit: https://settlement.org/translated-information/