Golf Carts, Race Cars, Vehicle Parts and Other Non-Regulated Vehicle Imports

With summer right around the corner, and many Canadians wanting to enjoy the great outdoors, we thought we would address common questions surrounding vehicles used for hobbies. Whether you are looking to purchase a golf cart, UTV, segway, e-bike, or work on your hobby car project by importing some vehicle parts, these are the regulations you will need to know and follow.

Before you buy or plan on bringing your vehicle into Canada you need to understand that as the importer, you are responsible for making sure that the vehicle complies with all Canadian legislative requirements. Transport Canada, under the governance of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA), regulates the importation of many vehicles and motorized equipment based on their characteristics. 

The engine for your vehicle is also regulated and its admissibility into Canada is controlled by Environmental and Climate Control Canada. 

Engine Emissions Regulations For Importing Into Canada

Transport Canada has a set of guidelines in place for what is considered regulated and non-regulated motorized vehicles - meaning, are they regulated under the MVSA or not.

What Are Non-Regulated Vehicles?

Transport Canada defines non-regulated vehicles as those that are exempt from having to comply with the MVSA at the time of manufacture or importation. 

This status is determined by either its design characteristics, the circumstances of the vehicle’s entry into Canada, and/or its age. 

Non-Regulated Vehicles Include:

  • Vehicles fifteen years (15) old or older
  • Buses manufactured before January 1st, 1971
  • Vehicles imported 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)
  • Competition vehicles designed exclusively for closed course competition, bearing the necessary labels.
  • Conventional pedal bicycles with motor assist (electric or gas) of any age unable to exceed 32 km/h

Importing a vehicle that does not meet the above requirements? Check out our vehicle import guide here.

Although Transport Canada does not maintain a full list of non-regulated vehicles, below is a few examples:

Examples of A Non-Regulated Vehicle:

  • Lawn or farm tractor
  • Golf cart
  • Single axle personal transporter such as a segway
  • Race car
  • Power assisted bicycle 
  • Forklift
  • Backhoe or front end loader

However, not all of the above vehicles are created equal. For example, e-bikes that travel at a speed faster than 32 km/h are considered “regulated” and must comply with MVSA. Competition vehicles are only exempt if they are for closed course competition and have all the necessary labeling in place.

Everything You Need To Know To Import Your E-Bike Into Canada

Are Vehicle Parts Regulated By Transport Canada?

Transport Canada under MVSA does not regulate individual parts with the exception of:

  • Tires
  • Child car seats 
  • Booster seats

Disassembled automotive parts are not regulated as long as they do NOT amount to one or more vehicles. Also, if you are planning on importing an engine for your vehicle, ensure that it is admissible into Canada, as they are regulated by Environmental and Climate Control Canada.

Import Process Of Non-Regulated Vehicles

Vehicles that are not regulated by Transport Canada must still comply with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) entry requirements.

At the time of importation CBSA will:

  • Confirm non-regulated status
  • Inspect for possible soil contaminants
  • Examine the ownership documents
  • Collect the duty and taxes if applicable
  • Determine its admissibility according to other Canadian customs regulations that may apply

We encourage you to seek out the advice of a customs broker to help you determine if your vehicle is regulated by Transport Canada or any other Participating Government Agencies (PGA). 

In conclusion, whether you are importing a golf cart or vehicle parts, it’s important to ensure you have reviewed the requirements of each import before you buy. It is the importer’s responsibility to research the admissibility of a non-regulated vehicle before attempting to import it into Canada. 

Disclaimer: While reading, kindly note the date of this blog. At PCB we do our due diligence to write on the most relevant topic every week and naturally content may become dated as developments in a certain program/topic occur. For this reason, we greatly appreciate your readership and hope you continue reading with the posting date in mind. For the latest information on this topic please use our website's search function, or better yet, subscribe to our "Trading Post" newsletter to receive these updates directly to your inbox.
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About Author
Jan Brock

Jan Brock joined Pacific Customs Brokers in 2015 as a Senior Trade Advisor. She retired from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in 2015 after serving more than 37 years. Jan started her career with CBSA as a summer student in 1976 and worked part-time until she graduated from U.B.C. with a Bachelor of Education Degree in 1980 . Shortly after graduating from U.B.C. Jan worked full time as an inspector with CBSA and within three years was promoted to Superintendent. She served some time in the Regional Operations office as an Operations Review Officer before she was promoted to Chief of Operations first at the Customs Mail Centre, then in the Metro District as the Commercial Chief and ending her career as a Chief at Pacific Highway Commercial Operations where she served as Chief from 1992 to 2015. During her career she was a member of the Customs Drug Team and a trainer in the National Enforcement Program. Jan also served as the Regional Coordinator Officer Powers and Use of Force for the Pacific Region. Jan served on many Commercial Program Reviews and committees both national and regional during her career and possesses an expansive knowledge of importing and exporting into and from Canada.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.