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How to Become a Car Dealer in Canada

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If you drive through a neighborhood, you will probably see at least one car being sold by the owner. You do not need any special training or licensing to sell your own car. However, if you plan on making a living selling cars in Canada, you must comply with your province’s motor vehicle dealer laws. Each province specifies the procedure to become licensed in order to sell calls in your community. Licensing involves taking coursework and registering with your province.

Contact your province’s motor vehicle division and ask them to send you a list of approved certification courses. Many provinces, such as Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia require dealers to take a certification course. Courses typically involve home study; Ontario's takes roughly 24 hours to complete. The course teaches applicants about the industry and how to maintain professionalism. Fees vary from province to province.

Earn a passing score in your certification course. The provinces do not expect that you will ace the course; however, you are expected to meet minimum scores. British Columbia, for example, requires you earn at least a 75 percent in the class.

Undergo a background check. Contact your local Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) station to begin your background check. The province has the right to deny you a license based on past bad behavior. Convictions involving fraud or other dishonest conduct may hamper your ability to obtain a dealership license.

Find a suitable spot to operate your business. Saskatchewan’s dealer license, for instance, requires that your business has a car lot with adequate storage and security, a business office, posted hours of operation and a sign that clearly identifies your business. Check with your province as to any location requirements you must meet.

Fill out the dealership application and include the license fee. After complying with your province’s requirements, fill out an application to obtain your dealer license. These can be found online; contact your province’s motor vehicle department to have one mailed to your address. License fees are subject to change and vary from province to province; check with the motor vehicles department for the most current fees.


Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.