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Registering a vehicle with diplomatic plates in Montréal

Foreign representatives and their accredited family members wishing to register an imported or locally-purchased vehicle must first obtain an “entitlement form” from the Protocol Office of Québec in Montréal:

Protocole du gouvernement du Québec

Service de la correspondance officielle,
des privilèges et immunités, Édifice Hector-Fabre,
1er étage, 525, boulevard René-Lévesque E., Québec (Québec) G1R 5R9,
Telephone: 418–649–2346.

Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ)

Place Victoria Office,

Telephone: 514-954-7891 or 514-954-7642.
General information could be obtained at 514-873-7620.

Permanent Representatives and certain officials of international organizations recognised by agreements or understandings are eligible to obtain diplomatic plates with the prefix CD, so long as the fees set by the regulation and the insurance contribution are paid.

Foreign missions and international organizations are required, when officially requesting entitlement forms, to provide the year, make and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of each vehicle. Any supporting documentation must be submitted in one of Canada’s official languages. This privilege, limited to two vehicles per representative, is extended to persons who are not Canadian citizens (i.e. they may be permanent residents) and who perform their official functions in Canada only. The registration year for a vehicle with diplomatic plates begins April 1 and ends on March 31. On the assumption that representatives will wish to renew their registration, they will normally receive, at the beginning of each year, a partiallycompleted application form for motor vehicles already registered. If, however, the automobile was licensed only a few months before the new registration year, the application form might not be sent automatically, in which case action to re-license should be taken through the licence bureau, by contacting the Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ).

Insurance in Québec

Car insurance in Québec is run by a government agency, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) and by private companies. Premiums for public coverage are included in the cost of the licence plates. Public insurance covers injuries to people, while private insurance covers damage to property, including the insurer’s own car. Drivers involved in traffic accidents that cause more than $500.00 in damage to another party and who are not covered by insurance for property damage will automatically have their driver’s licences suspended and lose the right to obtain a licence. The SAAQ will consequently prohibit operation of a motor vehicle in their name. This suspension and prohibition to operate a vehicle will be repealed only when the SAAQ has proof of payment for damage or a guarantee to comply with the ruling rendered following the accident. These drivers are also liable to fines between $325.00 and $2,800.00.

Québec has a “no fault” insurancesystem. The words “no fault” are confusing because it does, in fact, matter who was at fault and an accident may result in dramatically higher premiums and potential difficulty in obtaining coverage in the future. In the case of an accident, “no fault” means that drivers deal with their own companies, regardless of who caused the accident,and do not have to go after the other driver or wait to get benefits. The insurance company will assess fault based on charts and rules. This means that it is important to consider reputation and quality of customer service, as well as cost, when choosing an insurance company.