Moving to Ottawa

Moving to Ottawa for Residency?

Here are a few tips/tricks to make the transition smoother.


Vehicle Registration

  • Vehicles in Ontario need both Safety Inspections and Vehicle Emissions Testing. The MTO (Ministry of Transportation Ontario) publishes annually which vehicles require repeat emissions testing.
  • License plates in Ontario consist of a plate fee (flat rate at time of registration) and a “sticker” fee which is renewed every 1 or 2 years depending on what you prefer. The sticker is placed directly on the license plate
  • Service Ontario locations across Ottawa can help. Follow the link below for information on driver’s license and vehicle registration in Ontario

Driver’s Licence

  • You can exchange a valid drivers’ license from any other province in Canada, the USA, the armed forces, or a variety of other countries (see list in link below), for an Ontario drivers’ license. You must exchange your previous license for an Ontario license within 60 days of moving to Ontario
  • To make the process smoother, request your driving record and your driver’s insurance record from both your provincial licensing body and your insurer
  • Service Ontario locations across Ottawa can help. Be sure to bring your birth certificate + valid photo ID, or passport with you.


  • Car insurance is much more expensive in Ontario. Shop around to find a good deal.
  • We suggest checking out the OMA/CMA plan available through your membership, often they have brokered a much better deal than you can get commercially.

OMA insurance

Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) + card

  • Any provincial health insurance card in Canada can be exchanged for an OHIP card. In some circumstances you can keep your home province’s card but only if you can prove you will return to said province. Be aware that residents of Quebec will often be charged extra fees for bloodwork or physician visits due to nonreciprocal agreements between Ontario and Quebec.
  • More information can be found below

Moving Expenses

Keep ALL moving truck, gas, food, receipts and contracts.  You may claim moving expenses on your income taxes if you are moving >50 km closer to your place of employment (i.e. your FHT/the Ottawa Hospital!)

  • If signing with a moving company, ensure you read through your contract carefully and that there is clear outline for broken items, missing items, delayed delivery
  • Keep all of your receipts including food receipts for your displacement
  • Consider additional insurance if not included in your moving contract


See our Housing and Neighbourhoods pages for more info!