Considering buying a hybrid or electric vehicle? Here’s what to look out for…

Published On
February 26, 2024

Ontario’s consumer protection legislation applies equally to buying an EV as it does to internal combustion engine vehicles

Graham Michaels  •  Postmedia Content Works

Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity among Ontario’s car and truck buyers, with new models reaching the market all the time. With more EVs on the road, there are more available in the secondhand market, too, putting them within reach of many more potential owners.

Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Dealer Act (MVDA), which regulates retail vehicle sales in the province, applies equally to EVs as it does to conventional, internal combustion engine (ICE)-powered vehicles. Take the subject of non-disclosures for used EVs, for example. Under Section 42 of the Act, dealerships must make disclosures of prior accident repairs or use as a rental vehicle, just as they would for an ICE vehicle. To find out more about the importance of disclosures, check out this previous article.

“Consumers can be reassured that the mandatory disclosures apply equally to the unique aspects of EVs,” says Jeff Donnelly, Chief Consumer Protection Officer at OMVIC, Ontario’s motor vehicle sales regulator.

In a similar fashion, if you’re buying a new EV, the dealer must separately list on the vehicle purchase agreement any extra features that have been specified or purchased on top of the base vehicle, just as would be the case for a conventionally powered car.

The law also applies equally to EVs when it comes to all-in pricing regulations. Under the MVDA, dealers may only advertise a vehicle price that includes all fees and extras, aside from taxes and licensing charges. Dealers are not allowed to include government EV rebates in the advertised price.

There are currently no provincial rebates in Ontario for plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) or battery-electric (BEV) vehicles, but federal rebates are available under the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program within certain parameters. Click here for more information about iZEV and the latest list of qualifying vehicles.

As with buying any vehicle, it’s important to make an informed decision when choosing an EV because in Ontario there is no cooling-off period for vehicle purchases. The cost is only one factor to weigh up when deciding whether an EV is right for you. Two other things to consider would include how you use the vehicle (how far and how often you drive), and where you would be able to recharge it (at home or via public charging). But there are many other considerations, too, and OMVIC recommends doing plenty of research if you’re contemplating the switch from an ICE to a hybrid or fully electric vehicle.

“An excellent resource for free information on electric and hybrid vehicles is Plug ‘n Drive,” says Donnelly. “Consumers can visit the website or head to their Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre in Toronto for advice on buying and owning an EV, and even test drive EV vehicles to get a feel for different models.”

OMVIC has been delegated responsibility for administering and enforcing the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA). Visit to learn about your consumer rights when you purchase from an OMVIC-registered dealer and sign up for OMVIC’s monthly newsletter.

Contact OMVIC’s consumer support team at [email protected] or 1-800-943-6002 for advice and answers to all your car-buying questions.

OMVIC also offers free education services and webinars for consumers upon request. To learn more about your rights as a consumer, contact [email protected] for more information on our services and materials.

Our new OMVIC website launched on November 21. It’s been designed to empower car-buyers like you. Whether you’re in the market for a new car, seeking expert advice, or simply exploring your rights as a buyer, our website is your gateway to a wealth of information. With a mobile-responsive design, intuitive navigation, and engaging content, we’re committed to making your experience seamless and informative. Dive into our fresh platform and take control of your consumer journey.

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This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of OMVIC.