Importing a Vehicle into Canada

CIC News
Published: November 1, 1997

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) and Regulations require that all Vehicles imported into Canada comply with the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) in effect on the date the vehicle was manufactured. The requirements apply to the following vehicle classes if, when imported, they are less than fifteen (15) years old and to all buses manufactured after January 1, 1971.

1. Vehicles (other than buses) manufactured more than fifteen (15) years before their date of importation

- Vehicles fifteen years old and older (other than buses) are exempt from the Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and can be imported into Canada.

2. Vehicles (other than buses) less than fifteen (15) years old, up to and including the 1984 model year

Vehicles in this category can be imported into Canada if they have been certified by their original manufacturer as complying with United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Proof of this certification is the Statement of Compliance label affixed to the driver's door or door frame by the original manufacturer or a letter from the original manufacturer.

3. Vehicles (other than buses) from the 1985 model year to date

- Vehicles in this category can be imported into Canada if they meet requirements (a) through (f) below.

(a) - All vehicles must bear a Statement of Compliance (SOC) label affixed by the original manufacturer or be accompanied by a letter from the original manufacturer indicating that they were certified to comply with United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.(Applicable to all vehicle classes.)

(b) Passenger cars, motorhomes and limousines must be on the List of Vehicles Admissible from the U.S. (leaflet CL 9203 E). If a passenger car is not on that list, the importer must obtain written certification from the original manufacturer indicating that the vehicle complies with Canadian standards CMVSS 210 (seat belt anchorages), CMVSS 210.1 (tether anchorages) and CMVSS 215 (bumpers). (Applicable to passenger cars only). If a motorhome or limousine is not on that list, the importer may contact Transport Canada to ascertain the status of the vehicle. (Applicable to motorhomes and limousines.)

(c) The importer must ensure that CMVSS 101 and 123 (metric markings on speedometer) are complied with by having a speedometer that is calibrated to display vehicle speed in kilometers per hour. Should the vehicle not have a speedometer with metric markings, the importer must correct it by affixing adhesive labels to adjust the speedometer graduations to read in kilometers per hour.(Applicable to passenger cars, mpvs, motorhomes, buses, trucks, motorcycles and chassis~abs.)

(d) The importer must ensure that CMVSS 108 (daytime running lights) is complied with if the vehicle being imported was manufactured after November 30,1989. This requirement can be met by the importer installing a daytime running light kit. (Applicable to passenger cars, buses, chassis-cabs if applicable, mpvs motorhomes, motorcycles and trucks.)

(e) The importer must ensure that there are no outstanding recalls (Notice of Defect) on the vehicle being imported. This requirement can be met by having the manufacturer's dealer run the vehicle identification number of the subject vehicle on their service computer. A letter or computer printout from the dealer indicating no outstanding recalls would be proof of compliance.(Applicable to all vehicle classes.)

(f) Vehicles equipped with airbags must bear a bilingual maintenance label in accordance with CMVSS 208(37). To meet this requirement we suggest that the importer contacts the vehicle manufacturer to obtain the proper label.(Applicable to passenger cars, buses, trucks, mpvs and motorhomes.)

LICENSING and other PROVINCIAL/TERRITORIAL REQUIREMENTS

The licensing and registration of vehicles in Canada fall within Provincial/Territorial jurisdictions which may have additional requirements (e.g. trailers may require brakes and a break-away device). You must contact the Provincial/Territorial government in the Province/Territory in which you will be residing for information on road use, licensing and registration of vehicles.

Additional Information can be obtained from:

Transport Canada,
Vehicle Importation,
13th Floor, Canada Bldg.,
344 Slater Street,
OttawaON KIAON5
Phone: 1-800-333-0558
Facsimile: (613) 998-4831
Revenue Canada,
Customs, Excise and Taxation,
Traveler's Directorate,
Ottawa ON KIA OLS

Automated Customs information System,
Phone: (613) 993-05341(902) 426-29111(604) 666-0545

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