Will a dealership sell me a new car if I live in another province?

Jasion Tchir, 2021-12-13

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I live in Ontario and the new car I want isn’t available here right now. I’m wondering if it’s possible to buy one from a car dealer in Quebec or British Columbia. Are there any rules against that? If I did, would I have to pay provincial sales tax in both provinces – there and here? – Ken, Mississauga

If you’re looking for a car at a dealership in another province, it’s dealer’s choice whether they sell it to you or not.

“There are no regulatory requirements saying they can’t,” says Viraf Baliwalla, a car broker in Toronto. “Most dealers want to sell vehicles and they don’t care where you live – but, having said that, some dealers don’t want to go through the extra effort.”

Andy Tan, general manager of OpenRoad VW in Burnaby, B.C., says out-of-province buyers are typically looking for used cars. That’s because buyers could, at least until this year, purchase most new car models in their home province.

Traditionally, Tan’s dealership would sell one to two used cars a month to out-of-province buyers, he says. But that number has increased to three or four a month as the computer chip shortage has slowed new car production and boosted demand for used cars, Tan says.

What about new cars? With some new models in short supply, will a dealer sell to an out-of-province buyer?

“It depends on the dealership – we’re all franchisees and run our operations differently,” Tan says. “[Some dealers] may want to reserve this limited inventory to clients who will continue their service requirements with them, while [other dealers] may just care for the sale.”

In other words, you may have to call around.

“I had a number of clients in B.C. looking for a RAV4 Prime and I could get them here in Ontario but they couldn’t find them out there,” Baliwalla says.

Some vehicles sell out quickly in some provinces and not others. Plus, some new models don’t get sent to every province. For instance, when automakers launch new electric vehicles (EVs), they’re often available in B.C. and Quebec before other provinces.

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