Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or new to the hobby, importing for the first time may feel like you're pedaling uphill! Not to worry, here is everything you need to know if you want to import your power-assisted bicycle (e-bike) or electric scooter into Canada.
The first step to importing is understanding all the parties involved and how they interact with each other. Your Customs Broker and carrier work together on your behalf with agencies including the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Transport Canada to abide by their rules and regulations for importing an e-bike.
Regulated Or Non-Regulated?
You may be asking yourself, are e-bikes considered motorized vehicles? To answer this, you will need to determine if your bike meets the characteristics of Transport Canada’s definition of an e-bike.
On February 4, 2021, Transport Canada repealed the previous definition of a power-assisted bicycle. Instead, Transport Canada will assess the design and speed of the e-bike in order to determine if it is regulated under the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations.
Transport Canada will regulate your e-bike if it:
- Can travel faster at speeds of 32 km/h / 20 miles/h or greater (power assisted)
- Is equipped with features that resemble on-road motorcycles or vehicles
For E-bikes equipped with speed limiters, Transport Canada will first assess the e-bike based upon the untethered speed capacity to determine if the e-bike is regulated.
E-Bikes are also regulated at the Provincial and Territory level, so it is good practice to check with your local government for regulations prior to importing or purchasing an e-bike.
Please note that electric scooters (no pedals) follow the same guidelines. It’s important to know that not all e-bikes are admissible into Canada, for further clarification please visit the Government of Canada’s FAQ page or the Motor Vehicle Act Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation for full details.
If your e-bike’s design meets these requirements it is considered Non-Regulated, making it exempt from the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. If for example, your e-bike has a wattage over 500 or the power motor speed exceeds 32 km/h it will be considered a Regulated Vehicle and must adhere to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. See the import regulations here.
The Import Process
You are the Importer of Record, which means you are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the import declaration, as well as the payment of all applicable duties and taxes which must be paid upon the e-bike entering the country (duty and tax must be paid on all goods valued $20 or greater entering Canada, or $40 if goods are coming from US or Mexico). The rate of duty will be determined by the tariff, value, and the origin of the e-bike.
Upon arrival, if your ebike is considered non-regulated, you will be required to present a detailed commercial invoice to the border services officer at the port of entry (Regulated e-bikes will require more importation documentation such as a detailed invoice, title, manufacturer’s statement, etc). A key factor to remember when importing is that you may be subject to a customs review, inspection or audit before, at the time of crossing, or up to six years after your e-bike enters Canada. During this time you are responsible for any additional fees by the Government for these services. Which is why you are required to keep your import records for six years from the date of import.
As you can see, clarifying if your e-bike is considered a motorized vehicle or not is key in determining what you will need for your importation. We hope this helps you in getting your e-bike into Canada.