Best Free Sites to Check The Car Owner by License Plate Number in Canada
Best Free Sites to Check The Car Owner by License Plate Number in Canada
Table of Content - Check The Car Owner by License Plate Number in Canada

In Canada, registration plates are issued by an agency of the provincial or territorial government.

Generally, the appearance of plates is frequently chosen to contain symbols, colours, or slogans associated with the issuing jurisdiction.

Often, registration plates are called licence plates (drivers are licensed, vehicles are registered), but the term "licence plate" is common in informal usage. (This terminology was official in New Brunswick prior to June 14, 2019.) On most licence plates, there is a small sticker, which indicates the month and year of plate renewal, that the driver sticks to the licence plates.

In some parts of Canada, special plates are issued to persons with disabilities having the International Symbol of Access on them, which entitle them to special parking privileges. Some provinces issue a parking permit for people with disability to display on their dashboard, allowing them to park at designated spots closest to building entrances. The international code for Canadian plates is CDN.

If you're looking for a way to check owner of a car by license plate number in Canada, read the information below.

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

What Information Can You Find From A License Plate?

So what information can you get from a private investigator or similar service?

Vehicle description. In most cases, you’ll be able to get a description of the vehicle the license is attached to, including whether the license matches what’s on record.

Current owner name. Depending on your state, you may also be able to find the name of the current owner. The accuracy of this information will depend on your source.

Current owner address. If you can find the name of the current owner, you can likely also find the address of the current owner.

Other information. When law enforcement officers these show plates, they may also be able to tell things like whether the vehicle has been reported stolen, and whether the car it’s attached to has valid, up-to-date insurance.

There are many factors to consider here, including which states provide accurate, up-to-date information on their registered license holders, and the type of company you’re dealing with. In any case, if you’re going to look up a license plate number, make sure it’s for a good reason; looking up a vehicle owner for personal reasons is illegal, and will likely be turned down by a private investigator.

Why Would You Look Up a License Plate?

Let’s take a look at a few examples of why someone might look up a license plate. Generally, this is done to find the owner of a vehicle (including their address), or to discover more about the history of the vehicle. These are common scenarios:

• Hit and run accidents (and suspected fraud). If you suspect the owner or driver of a vehicle has been involved in a crime, you may want to track them down. For example, if you were the victim of a hit and run accident, and you wrote down the license plate number of the car that hit you, you may want to track down the owner and take legal action.

• Used car research. You may also be tempted to look up a license plate to learn more about a vehicle’s history. For example, if you’re considering purchasing a used vehicle, you may want to know about who owned it last, how long they owned it, or other information.

• Personal motivations. In some cases, people want to look up license plates for more personal, sometimes nefarious reasons. For example, you might have flirted with someone at a red light and be interested in tracking them down, or you might be annoyed with someone who keeps taking your parking space.

However, as you’ll soon learn, not all these motivations are treated equally.

Is it legal to look up someone's license plate in Canada?

It is perfectly legal to look up any license plate, as it is a matter of public records. But if you are trying to retrieve personally identifiable information (PII), then you should have specific DPPA (Driver's Privacy Protection Act) reasons for it.

The permissible use cases are:

→ for government agencies

→ in connection with matters of motor vehicle or driver safety, and theft

→ in the normal course of business to verify the accuracy of information provided by the car owner

→ in connection with any matter before a court or arbitration proceeding

→ in research activities (excluding personal information)

→ for insurance purposes

→ for providing notice to owners of towed cars

→ by any licensed private investigative agency or licensed security service

→ by employers to verify commercial driver information as required by US Code Title 49, subtitle VI, chapter 313

→ by private toll transportation facilities

→ for responding to requests from departments of motor vehicles

→ for bulk distribution for surveys, marketing, or solicitations (requires opt-in)

→ by written consent of the owner

→ for other reasons (varies by state)

So running a license plate search is perfectly legal—unless you want to find out personally identifiable information, which is still legal if you have a DPPA permissible use case.

License Plate Number in Canada

Photo: Forbes
Photo: Forbes

In all provinces and the territory of Yukon, licence plate serials are alphanumeric and usually assigned in ascending order. The letters I, O, Q and U are generally not used to avoid confusion with 1, 0 and V; additionally, British Columbia does not use the letters Y and Z. The Northwest Territories and Nunavut use all-numeric serials, which are also assigned in ascending order.

Many jurisdictions distinguish their licence plates through distinctive colour schemes and logos. For example, Ontario's plates have featured a crown graphic since 1937 (except 1951), while Yukon's plates have featured a gold prospector graphic since 1952. The Northwest Territories' plates since 1970, and Nunavut's from 1999 to 2012, are cut in the shape of a polar bear, but meet the standardized mounting guidelines.

In every jurisdiction except Nunavut, the serial is embossed onto the plate. Nunavut's current rectangular plate, first issued in 2012, has the serial screened; the territory's previous bear-shaped plate had the serial embossed. Other identifying information, such as the name of the issuing jurisdiction and the vehicle class, can be either screened or embossed.

In 1956, the Canadian provinces and U.S. states came to an agreement with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the National Safety Council that standardized the size for licence plates for vehicles (except those for motorcycles) at 6 inches (15 cm) in height by 12 inches (30 cm) in width, with standardized mounting holes. These figures may vary slightly by jurisdiction. Smaller-sized plates are used for motorcycles and, in some jurisdictions, mopeds and certain types of trailers and construction equipment.

Can You Find Vehicle Owner by VIN Number In Canada?

Canadian VIN number check and search information will reassure you that the car you buy is actually yours to own.

Canada – the other country next to the United States, the country with the better health care, and the better accents. We all know of Canada, but yet we know little about them and how their country might be different. Most people simply assume that Canada is just like the United States, but with a different flag. That’s not quite the way things work. No, Canada actually has a different constitution and a different way of doing things, especially when it comes to cars. By learning about Canadian VIN number check, you will not only be able to buy a car in Canada, but you can also stick around without losing your ride on the way.

Does Canada VIN Number Check Knowledge Matter?

If you don’t already know, VINs (vehicle identification numbers) are pretty important during the process of buying and selling a car. These numbers will identify the car and link the car to its rightful owner. If you don’t have a VIN number on your car, you will not be able to get it registered legally – and that’s not going to help you with your Canada dreams. Conversely, if you want to buy a car in Canada, you will want to make sure you know the history of the car, where it’s been, who it belongs to, etc.

The VIN numbers in Canada are a bit different from those in the United States, so learning how they work is always a good idea. There are 17 numbers or letters in the VIN number when you start your Canadian VIN number check. To utilize Canada search information, you will also want to know what each of these numbers stands for:

→ The first digit – Where the car was manufactured.

→ Second through eighth digits – brand, style, etc. of car” Ninth digit – Check

→ Tenth digit – Year

→ Eleventh digit – When the car’s made in Canada, this is a 2.

→ Final six digits – Serial number

This is a lot of numbers to keep in mind and to identity your car, or soon-to-be-yours car. By checking with Canadian Search information online (CarFax works well in Canada too), with sites like CarProof, you can easily make sure the car belongs to the person claiming to own the car – and you can find out more about the past of the car.

Canadian Search Information, Discovered!

Like any good blind date, you want to know as much as you can about the car you’re about to buy. Sure, you Google your dates, but can you hunt for facts about your car? With sites online, like CarProof and CarFax, you will be able to do a Canadian VIN number check to find out the accident history, the owner information, as well as about any liens against the car. You will know more about the car that you know about your parents – but really, what do you want to know about your parents anyway?

From the Canadian VIN number check, you will also learn about the miles and the odometer of the car, which helps to spot a car seller who might have turned the numbers back. You will also learn about the Canadian registration information through the Canada search information site.

Sure, using these Canadian VIN number check sites is going to cost you a little money, but that’s nothing compared to the headache you might have when you find out the car you bought was stolen. That’s really going to make for a bad, bad day.

What does a license plate search result provide?

In many cases, if the license plate was previously reported, you will see images and videos submitted by our community, read comments and feedback, view related resources and more.

If you'd like to receive additional information, you may try contacting your state or local law enforcement, DMV, motor vehicles agency or local police department. They can provide additional information upon request and sometimes for a fee. All the information displayed on our website is public records. Specialty and Vanity PlatesIn most countries and states people can register vanity registration and personalized license plate, with custom characters or numbers.

How do you officially look up a license plate in Canada?

1) Make a list of lookup companies. Look up a list of the various license plate lookup companies online or through your local phonebook yellow pages.

2) Contact each lookup company. Approach the license plate lookup company online through their website contact form or over the phone.

3) Provide the plate number. Give them the license plate number and wait.

What Are The Best Free Sites to Check or Search The Car Owner by License Plate Number in Canada?

1. VIN Verify (free)

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

The Insurance Bureau of Canada provides a free tool called VIN Verify to identify vehicles that have branded title statuses of Flood, Fire, Irreparable, or Salvaged. While you don’t receive a detailed report, a quick check on VIN Verify can help you avoid title washed cars.

Historically, fraudsters have bought flood-damaged vehicles to sell to unsuspecting consumers for a profit. But with water-damaged electronic components, potential mould and other issues, flood vehicles are unsafe. They have no place on the road.

To protect consumers, IBC, its member insurance companies have compiled a database of vehicles reported and branded as non-repairable after flooding across southern Alberta and the Greater Toronto Area.

Use this free VIN Verify service to check whether a vehicle has been reported as flood damaged and non-repairable by participating IBC member insurance companies.

2. CARFAX Canada - VIN Decoder and Lookup (free)

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

CARFAX Canada offers a free VIN check that reveals limited but up-to-date information about your car’s history. With this insight, you’ll be able to determine if you want to see the complete history report.

Where is my VIN?

On the vehicle’s dashboard, inside the windshield on the driver’s side. It can also be found on the door jamb inside, right where the driver’s side door latches. You can also find it on documents like the vehicle’s ownership, insurance and service records.

What if my VIN doesn’t decode?

Make sure each digit was entered correctly. Keep in mind that VINs never have the letters ‘O’ or ‘I’ in them, so make sure these letters weren’t substituted for the numbers ‘0’ or ‘1.’

In most cases, vehicles with VINs shorter than 17 digits were manufactured prior to 1981 and will not decode. If you have a VIN that is shorter than 17 digits and would like to know the vehicle history, please give us a call and we may still be able to access archived data for your vehicle.

3. Transport Canada (free)

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

If you’re simply looking for recall information, Transport Canada offers a database you can search quickly and easily. This free tool will make it easy to find any make, model, or year of vehicle that has been recalled due to manufacturer defects. If the vehicle you’re looking at has had a lot of manufacturer recalls, it could be a red flag.

Transport Canada (French: Transports Canada) is the department within the Government of Canada responsible for developing regulations, policies and services of road, rail, marine and air transportation in Canada. It is part of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities (TIC) portfolio. The current Minister of Transport is Omar Alghabra. Transport Canada is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario.

Prior to a 1994 federal government reorganization, Transport Canada had a wide range of operational responsibilities including the Canadian Coast Guard, the Saint Lawrence Seaway, airports and seaports, as well as Via Rail and CN Rail. Significant cuts to Transport Canada at that time resulted in CN Rail being privatized, the coast guard being transferred to Fisheries and Oceans, and the seaway and various ports and airports being transferred to local operating authorities. Transport Canada emerged from this process as a department focused on policy and regulation rather than transportation operations.

In 2004, Transport Canada introduced non-passenger screening to enhance both airport and civil aviation security.

4. AutoCheck

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

Similar to CARFAX, AutoCheck provides a free VIN check service that displays the make, model, year, style, engine, and country of assembly. For $24.99, you can get more comprehensive information about the vehicle's title, registration and usage history, fleet usage, and more.

Click, you can search with a vehicle identification number (VIN), or you can search with a valid license plate number and state. Searching via a license plate and state is a terrific option if you can’t find the VIN, it’s hard to read or your car has no VIN.

In the box below, simply enter the license plate number and state. Once the information is submitted, records will be returned on that plate. Some searches may return multiple records. This often indicates that a vehicle owner has transferred his or her license plate from vehicle to vehicle. For instance, five years ago you may have purchased a Toyota sedan and you recently traded it in for a Honda SUV and kept your current license plate. Both vehicles will be tied to the same plate.

If multiple records are returned, simply select the vehicle record from the drop-down box and get the report. Then begin enjoying all of the unique benefits of choosing a vehicle history report from Experian Automotive to help you understand, compare and select the right vehicle.

5. VinAudit Canada

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

Having recently entered the Canadian market, a VinAudit Canada report includes registration records, recall records, vehicle status checks, manufacturer buybacks through the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP), theft records, and more. A report is $14.95 per vehicle, and you can access free VIN check services here too.

As an official access provider for the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), VinAudit partners with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and industry sources to offer one of the most comprehensive US vehicle history reports available.

6. FindByPlate

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot is a free resource for looking up license plates and reporting bad drivers. In most cases the website will identify the car and its basic information. If other users have submitted any reports about the license plate number, images, videos, comments, or even related websites, you'll be able to see that information.

License plates (aka vehicle tags, vehicle registration number, number plates, etc.) have been around since 1893. New York was the first state to require a registration plate on vehicles, in 1903. But back then, license plates were not government-issued. Massachusetts was the first US state to provide government-issued license plates.

When you do a reverse license plate number search on FindByPlate, you will access a report about the motor vehicle, government recalls, vehicle sketch, and image. In many cases, if the license plate was previously reported, you will see images and videos submitted by our community, read comments and feedback, view related resources, and more.

If you'd like to receive additional information, you may try contacting your state or local law enforcement, DMV, motor vehicles agency, or local police department. They can provide additional information upon request and sometimes for a fee.

In most countries and states, people can register vanity and personalized license plates, with custom characters or numbers. For example, a personalized or vanity license plate may read "MY RIDE." Most countries and states prohibit profanities and obscene or offensive words or meanings in license plates. Registration is usually available on the state DMV office's official website. A driver's license is required for vanity plate registration. These specialized and vanity numbers may incur additional fees; it depends on the plate type.

Some state DMVs now require temporary license plates on newly purchased or leased vehicles. Temporary tags have an expiration date, usually after 90 days (this may differ from one country or state to another). This is usually attached to the driver's license information until the actual vanity plates or regular license plates are issued and shipped.

How to look up a license plate

Do you need to look up information based on a license plate number? FindByPlate will do the work for you to find available license plate information online—for free!

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to search a license plate and report bad drivers:

Open a web browser

Go to

Enter the license plate number, and select state

View the report

View images submitted by the community

View videos submitted by the community

Add comments

Add pictures of the vehicle

Add videos related to the vehicle

7. LicensePlateData

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

LicensePlateData is one of the largest websites serving North America and customers worldwide. We offer License Plate Lookups, Vehicle Data, and VIN checks all online.

LicensePlateData reports offer a plethora of information about license plates. Our service provides customers access to the world's largest list of vehicle data providers in the automotive industry.

As one of the largest vehicle databases in the world, we use a simple method that maximizes information from the best websites and services guaranteeing the best results. Once you enter a License Plate or VIN, you will receive a vast array of information.

We search billions of records regarding vehicle registration to guarantee you always recieve an up-to-date report. Our data is presented in an easy-to-understand format so you can clearly glean the necessary information from it. We respect that our customers are looking for comprehensive information. Because of this, we constantly update our databases to make sure every available piece of information is included in our reports.”

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