Importing Older Vehicles into Canada

Did you know that vehicles older than 15 years of age and buses manufactured before January 1st, 1971 are not regulated at the time of importation by the Motor Vehicle Safety Act?

This means that you can import these types of vehicles into Canada if they meet Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) entry requirements. At the border, officers will:

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

The age of a vehicle is primarily determined by the month and year it was manufactured as noted on the vehicle’s statement of compliance label affixed by the manufacturer. Vehicles that are built in stages such as motorhomes, vocational trucks, limousines and conversions vans are assessed using the date when the final stage manufacturer completed the vehicle, as also affixed to the vehicle on a label.

Note: Successfully importing a older 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 older imported vehicle, before you import it.

For vintage replica vehicles, the age is assessed using the final date of completion of the replica, not the model year it replicates. If an importer is unable to provide valid proof of age to establish a vehicle’s non-regulated status, CBSA officers will assess a vehicle for importation according to normal guidelines, which can result in its denial at the Canadian border if the vehicle does not comply.

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