Frequently Asked Questions - Importing Non-regulated Vehicles into Canada

What types of vehicles are not regulated by Transport Canada?

Transport Canada defines non-regulated vehicles as vehicles that are exempt from having to comply with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act at the time of manufacture or importation. The non-regulated status of a vehicle can be determined either by its design characteristics, the circumstances at the vehicle's time of entry into Canada, or its age.

Examples include:

  • vehicles fifteen (15) years old or older
  • buses manufactured before January 1st, 1971
  • vehicles brought in temporarily by visitors, foreign students or foreign workers
  • vehicles designed exclusively for off-road use such as farm tractors, construction equipment and utility vehicles (UTV)
  • a competition vehicle designed exclusively for closed course competition, bearing the necessary labels
  • power assisted bicycles as defined under section 2(1) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations

Does Transport Canada have a list of vehicle types that are non-regulated?

Transport Canada does not maintain an all-inclusive list of non-regulated vehicles and motorized products. Some common types of motorized products not considered regulated under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act are:

  • a lawn tractor
  • a golf cart clearly designed exclusively for use as a golf cart
  • a single axle personal transporter (ex: Segway)
  • an electric wheelchair or similar personal mobility aid equipped with a bench chair
  • a farm tractor
  • an agricultural combine
  • a forklift
  • a backhoe
  • a skid steer front-end loader
  • a crawler mounted excavator

We remind importers about the importance of researching the admissibility of a non-regulated vehicle before presenting it at a Canadian port of entry, to reduce the risk of its being denied importation. These vehicles must also meet Canada Border Services Agency admissibility requirements.

For assistance in confirming whether a vehicle is regulated or not, contact the Transport Canada toll-free information service at 1-800-333-0371 or e-mail mvs-sa@tc.gc.ca.

Are individual motor vehicle parts regulated at importation?

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) does not regulate shipments of individual parts, with the exception of tires, child car seats and booster seats. This means you may import a shipment of disassembled automotive parts if it does not amount to one or more vehicle(s). Canada Border Services Agency officers will detain any shipment when the parts content is unclear and/or may contain enough parts to meet the definition of vehicle under the MVSA.

Canadians wanting to import tires, child car seats or booster seats should contact Transport Canada at 1-800-333-0371 or by e-mail at mvs-sa@tc.gc.ca .

What does Transport Canada consider a competition vehicle?

A competition vehicle is a vehicle that is designed exclusively for use in closed course competition. A factory built competition vehicle must bear a label affixed by the manufacturer stating that the vehicle is a competition vehicle for use exclusively in closed-course competition.

A vehicle that has been adapted for competition and bears obvious evidence of modification for closed-course competition purposes must be accompanied by either:

  • A signed declaration indicating that the vehicle is a competition vehicle and is for use exclusively in closed-course competition, or
  • A written declaration from a racing sanctioning body with regards to the vehicle’s classification as a competition vehicle.

Transport Canada does not consider a restricted-use motorcycle (dirt bike or ATV) designed for off-road use as a competition vehicle. We do not recognize an off-road environment to be a closed course competition environment.

What does Transport Canada consider a power assisted-bicycle?

We consider a power assisted bicycle to be an electric bicycle propelled by either a combination of muscular power and a motor, or by the motor alone. Section 2(1) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR) describes a power assisted bicycle as follows:

  1. (a) has steering handlebars and is equipped with pedals,

  2. (b) is designed to travel on not more than three wheels touching with the ground,

  3. (c) is capable of being propelled by muscular power,

  4. (d) has one or more electric motors which have, singly or in combination, the following characteristics:

    1. (i) it has a total continuous power output rating, measured at the shaft of each motor, of 500 W or less,

    2. (ii) if it is engaged by the use of muscular power, power assistance immediately ceases when the muscular power ceases,

    3. (iii) if it is engaged by the use of an accelerator controller, power assistance immediately ceases when the brakes are applied, and

    4. (iv) it is incapable of providing further assistance when the bicycle attains a speed of 32 km/h on level ground,

  5. (e) bears a label that is permanently affixed by the manufacturer and appears in a conspicuous location stating, in both official languages, that the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle as defined in this section, and

  6. (f) has one of the following safety features:

    1. (i) an enabling mechanism to turn the electric motor on and off that is separate from the accelerator controller and fitted in such a manner that it is operable by the driver, or

    2. (ii) a mechanism that prevents the motor from being engaged before the bicycle attains a speed of 3 km/h.

How do I import a non-regulated vehicle?

Arrange for transportation or delivery for the goods and plan the border crossing ahead of time. A vehicle not required to comply with Motor Vehicle Safety Act must still comply with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) entry requirements. At the border, officers will examine the vehicle to:

  • confirm its non-regulated status,
  • inspect it for possible soil contaminants,
  • examine the ownership documents, and
  • collect taxes and/or duties if applicable
  • determine its admissibility according to other Canadian customs regulations that may apply,

Please contact the Canada Border Services Agency for full details.

Note: Some countries also monitor the export of vehicles and can prohibit a vehicle from leaving the country of purchase without proper clearance.

How do I arrange for the delivery of a motor vehicle to Canada?

You can have it driven, towed or shipped using a variety of services. If you are driving the vehicle into Canada, you must respect the highway traffic laws of the jurisdiction(s) that you are driving in. Transport Canada does not issue any kind of permits for the temporary transit of motor vehicles. Contact the motor vehicle enforcement authorities for the state, province or territory to learn about their laws.

How do I arrange to ship a vehicle into Canada from overseas? Can you recommend anybody?

Transport Canada does not endorse any shipping companies or brokers. Shipping a vehicle is your responsibility.

Is it necessary to hire a customs broker to import a motor vehicle into Canada?

No. Hiring a customs broker is an importer's choice. These independent businesses provide services to importers ranging from basic paperwork at the Canadian border to complete delivery logistics and customs clearance. Transport Canada does not endorse any specific broker nor maintain a list of customs brokers.

Note: The importer on record is responsible for compliance with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

How do I assess how much tax or duty I may have to pay at the Canadian border when I import a motor vehicle?

Canada Border Services Agency officers collect duties and taxes at the time of importation. If your vehicle is eligible for importation into Canada, please contact the Canada Border Services Agency by dialing toll-free 1-800-461-9999 from within Canada or 1-506-636-5064 from outside Canada (long distance charges may apply), or visit www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca  to learn more about duty and taxes.

Once in Canada, how do I register or license a permanently imported vehicle?

Following a successful importation, provide the importation documents you obtained to your provincial or territorial licensing authority.

Note: Successfully importing a vehicle does not guarantee that you will be able to register and license it. For example, some provinces will not license right hand drive vehicles or certain salvage branded vehicles even once repaired. Please contact your provincial or territorial licensing department to learn more about registering an imported vehicle, before you actually import it.

Related Links

Contact

  • 1-800-333-0371 (toll-free Canada and United States)
  • 1-613-998-8616 (Ottawa region and from other countries)
  • Email: mvs-sa@tc.gc.ca