Motor vehicle registries are provincial and territorial systems that record vehicle ownership and operator licensing information.
Motor vehicle registries are very important tools for determining where in Canada a vehicle is located (registered). When a debtor or collateral move from one jurisdiction to another, it may be necessary for an additional PPRS registration to be created in the new jurisdiction.
Unlike motor vehicle registries, Personal Property Registries do not define the ownership of the motor vehicle. A “security interest” is not the same as ownership. For example, the person (debtor) listed in the registration may have been a co-signor on a loan or may have already sold the vehicle.
In the United States, motor vehicle registries also record liens as part of a vehicle “title”. As a result, some people from the USA will approach the motor vehicle registry instead of the Personal Property Registry for information about security interests. This is not applicable in Canada.