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Explanations on Mandatory Compliance


Nov/18/2021 Edition

Disclaimer: This list is compiled by Transport Canada for the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program using information provided by vehicle manufacturers on a voluntary basis.

Its accuracy cannot be guaranteed and its content is subject to change without notice.

There is also no guarantee that a vehicle deemed admissible on the list can be successfully modified to meet Canadian requirements.

For detailed information on importing a vehicle purchased in the United States or Mexico, contact the RIV at 1-888-848-8240 or visit www.riv.ca.

 

1. On February 19, 2020, the mandate of the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) was expanded to include the importation from Mexico of a passenger car, multi-purpose passenger vehicle, truck or bus meeting the following conditions:

  • the vehicle is American certified, and
  • the vehicle was built prior to the current calendar year, and at least 90 days have elapsed since the date of manufacturing shown on the American compliance label, and
    • if gross vehicle weight is less than 5 metric tons, the odometer must show greater than 621 miles (1,000 km), or
    • if gross vehicle weight is equal to or greater than 5 metric tons, the odometer must show greater than 3,105 miles (5,000 km).

The new mandate does not include a three-wheeled vehicle, a low-speed vehicle, a trailer, a motorcycle, a dirt bike, a restricted-use vehicle, an ATV or a snowmobile from Mexico. Due to these limitations, the RIV compatibility list now indicates United States and Mexico or United States only under each admissibility record.

To import an eligible vehicle from Mexico, you must follow RIV procedures and complete the process.

An American specification vehicle is a vehicle designed, built, tested and certified by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to meet all applicable U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs). Where a U.S. specification vehicle is listed as ADMISSIBLE, and requires modifications, it may be extensive and expensive. Importers should determine the cost and extent of any required modifications before importing a vehicle into Canada.

A vehicle that cannot be modified, for whatever reason, cannot remain in Canada and must be exported. Where there is no information in this list concerning a U.S. specification vehicle, you must contact the manufacturer to determine its admissibility or inadmissibility. Manufacturers of U.S. vehicles are not legally obligated to respond to Transport Canada's requests for information on admissibility status or required to explain the reasons for inadmissibility, although some do. Transport Canada is not legally responsible for the accuracy and safety or cost implications of the information provided by OEMs.

2. A vehicle eligible for the RIV program (except a snowmobile, restricted-use vehicle, dirt bike and ATV which require different certification) must be certified by the OEM to all applicable U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs). Two criteria can be used to determine this:

  1. an American compliance label affixed to the vehicle at the time of main assembly with one of the following statements,
    "This vehicle conforms to the applicable federal motor vehicle safety, bumper and theft prevention standards in effect on the date of manufacture shown above"; or
    "This vehicle conforms to all applicable U.S. federal motor vehicle safety standards in effect on the date of manufacture shown above";
    or
  2. a valid letter from the original manufacturer (subject to verification) or the final stage manufacturer (if applicable) containing the same information as would appear on the compliance label when the vehicle was originally certified at assembly.

3. Vehicles that have been modified from their original state, other than regular maintenance, may not be eligible for importation into Canada. For example, a van transformed into a motorhome (often known as Class B motorhome), a van equipped with raised roof and/or modified interior, a pick-up or a passenger car equipped with lift kit, a motorcycle converted to a motor tricycle (trike) are types of modifications that can render a vehicle inadmissible.

4. The importer is responsible for fulfilling any export requirements from the originating country that may apply. More information can be obtained by contacting the relevant customs border authorities before exporting a vehicle.

5. Vehicles originally equipped with air bags, as required by U.S. safety standards, must have operational air bags at the time of inspection by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV).

6. All admissible vehicles, including trailers, snowmobiles, restricted-use vehicles, dirt bikes and ATVs must bear a manufacturer issued 17 character alphanumeric sequence that complies with CMVSS 115 - Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

7. ACTIVE and U.S. PASSIVE RESTRAINT SYSTEMS - Passive restraint systems are identified as a motorized upper torso restraint or a door mounted 3-point restraint. The fact that a seat belt restraint system is considered to be active or passive does not in itself determine a vehicle's admissibility or inadmissibility into Canada. What does make this determination is whether or not that vehicle meets CMVSS 210 - Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages. Vehicles identified by their manufacturer as not meeting CMVSS 210 at the time of manufacture are not eligible for importation into Canada under any circumstances. No modifications are allowed to the seat belt anchorage system.

8. CONFIRMATION OF NO OUTSTANDING RECALLS -

To carry out the task of monitoring the importation of vehicles purchased at the retail level in the United States and those prescribed by regulations from mexico, Transport Canada has contracted a company called the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) to establish and operate a system of inspection and compliance confirmation of imported vehicles. The program is a controlled process of federal registration, inspection and verification, to ensure that a U.S. specification vehicle is confirmed compliant to all CMVSSs prior to provincial/territorial licensing and registration in Canada.

Some of the benefits of this program to Canadians are to:

  • ensure the safety of imported vehicles on Canadian roads;
  • allow vehicles that do not meet Canadian safety standards, in such areas as, daytime running lights, child restraint tether anchorages, electronic immobilization system and some labeling requirements, to be modified after they enter Canada;
  • assist importers through a support system, including a toll free bilingual public response service (1-888-848-8240);
  • assist the Government of Canada to develop and maintain an accurate and comprehensive database on such importations;
  • assist Transport Canada in its enforcement efforts; and
  • assist provinces and territories to confirm compliance to federal safety standards of imported vehicles prior to licensing and registration in Canada.

Upon arrival at the border, importers must produce the vehicle's ownership title and documents related to its purchase. There must be evidence of an American Statement of Compliance (SOC) label on the vehicle or a manufacturer's letter (subject to verification), stating that the vehicle was built to comply with U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) at the time of final assembly.

Importers must have the means of paying the Registrar of Imported Vehicles service fee and is responsible for the costs of modifying the vehicle. There are also fees and charges resulting from failure to pass the initial inspection within 45 days or 12 months in the case of a salvage vehicle imported to be rebuilt.

A confirmation that there are no outstanding recalls on a vehicle or proof that the recall work has already been completed in the U.S. must be sent to the RIV as soon as possible before, during or after importation. Confirmation that there are no outstanding recalls on a vehicle is a mandatory requirement for the RIV federal inspection program. The Vehicle Inspection Form will only be released to the importer in Canada by the RIV upon receipt and acceptance of the confirmation of no outstanding recalls. To verify what types of confirmation of no outstanding recalls are accepted by the RIV, please visit their Web site at: www.riv.ca/RecallClearance.aspx. Send your confirmation of no outstanding recalls to the RIV by e-mail at recall@support.riv.ca, or by fax at 1-888-642-9899, or mail to 405 The West Mall, Toronto ON M9C 5K7.

The symbol (#) indicates that the manufacturer will not issue a confirmation of no outstanding recalls for vehicles that were once declared "salvaged" in the U.S. Failure to produce this confirmation will result in a failed inspection; therefore rendering the vehicle inadmissible.

9. [EIS] ELECTRONIC IMMOBILIZATION SYSTEM - Every passenger vehicle, multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck and three-wheeled vehicle manufactured after September 1, 2007, with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) less than 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs), except an emergency vehicle or a walk-in van, must be equipped with an electronic immobilization system, as per the requirements of CMVSS 114 - Theft Protection.

Electronic immobilizers typically require a special key or a small electronic device to start a vehicle's engine. This type of system, when activated, prevents the operation of the engine in response to any attempt to start the vehicle without using the authorized key, by shutting off one or more parts of the engine's electrical system. This might include the starter, ignition or fuel system.

Many manufacturers equip some or all of their U.S. market vehicles with electronic immobilization systems that meet the requirements of CMVSS 114, while in some cases these are available only as an option. There are also several U.S. market vehicles that are either not equipped with electronic immobilization systems, or that are equipped with electronic immobilization systems that do not meet the requirements of CMVSS 114. Here are three possible circumstances:

  1. Electronic Immobilizers Installed as Original Equipment and Certified to CMVSS 114
    Vehicles equipped with such systems do not require any special inspection or modifications. They are listed as admissible without any special annotation regarding the immobilizer.
  2. Electronic Immobilizers Installed as Original Equipment but Not Certified to CMVSS 114
    Vehicles that do not comply with CMVSS 114 will require confirmation of the presence of an electronic immobilizer at the time of the RIV federal inspection. They are listed as admissible with a special annotation ([EIS]) regarding the immobilizer.
    Demonstration of the presence of an electronic immobilizer can be done through one of the following means:
    • presentation of the completed vehicle purchase agreement showing the VIN and indicating the presence of an electronic immobilizer;
    • presentation of the vehicle window sticker (Monroney label) showing the VIN and indicating the presence of an electronic immobilizer;
    • a letter from the manufacturer showing the VIN and indicating the presence of an electronic immobilizer; and
    • other type of information present on the vehicle or on the ignition key or fob allowing the positive identification of such a system.
  3. No Electronic Immobilizers Installed
    These vehicles will need to be fitted with an immobilization system that conforms to National Standard of Canada CAN/ULC-S338-98, entitled Automobile Theft Deterrent Equipment and Systems: Electronic Immobilization (May 1998), published by the Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada, before being presented for registration under the laws of a province.
    These are listed as admissible with a special annotation [EIS] regarding electronic immobilizers.

At the time of the required federal inspection at one of the RIV inspection stations, the importer must present the original invoice (and provide a copy to the RIV) confirming the installation of an electronic immobilizer compliant to CAN/ULC-S338-98, as mentioned above. The invoice must clearly indicate VIN, name and address of aftermarket installer, date of installation, and conformity of the system to CAN/ULC-S338-98.

Importers should be aware of the following BEFORE they purchase a vehicle in the U.S.:

  • there is no guarantee that an aftermarket immobilizer can be fitted to a vehicle;
  • some manufacturers have indicated that the installation of an aftermarket immobilizer may affect a vehicle's warranty;
  • some manufacturers have indicated that the installation of an aftermarket immobilizer may affect the performance of certain safety equipment on a vehicle;
  • certified installers of CAN/ULC-S338-98 aftermarket immobilizers may not be available in your local area;
  • modifications may be complex and expensive; and
  • importers enter the importation process at their own risk and Transport Canada assumes no liability.

Please note: Transport Canada does not endorse any brand of electronic immobilization systems or installers.

10. WARNING: Trailers with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs) or more manufactured after September 1, 2007 - Every trailer with a GVWR of 4,536 kg or more manufactured after September 1, 2007, must be equipped with a rear impact guard that conforms to Section (3) of CMVSS 223 - Rear Impact Guard.

The only exceptions are:

  1. a pole trailer, a pulpwood trailer, a wheels back trailer or a trailer designed to be used as temporary living quarters;
  2. a low-chassis trailer; and
  3. a trailer designed to interact with, or having, work-performing equipment located in or moving through the area that would be occupied by a horizontal member that meets the configuration requirements specified in the standard.

Trailers with a GVWR of 4,536 kg or more and manufactured after September 1, 2007 to U.S. FMVSS may not be equipped with a rear impact guard that conforms to Canadian requirements. Before you import a trailer, please make sure it is listed as ADMISSIBLE (see SECTION 11.3 of the list).

11. TRAILERS with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs) - The trailer MUST bear a valid and legible manufacturer issued 17-character Vehicle Identifier Number (VIN) and a valid U.S. FMVSS manufacturing statement of compliance label (or equivalent letter from the manufacturer). All trailers that have undergone alterations (other than typical repairs or maintenance) which impede the trailer's original U.S. FMVSS certification are inadmissible.

12. DAYTIME RUNNING LAMPS (CMVSS 108) - All passenger cars, multi-purpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses imported into Canada must be equipped with functional daytime running lamps.

13. IMPORTATION OF VEHICLES (15) YEARS OLD OR OLDER AND BUSES MANUFACTURED BEFORE JANUARY 1, 1971 - Vehicles fifteen (15) years old or older, as determined by the month and year of manufacture, and buses manufactured before January 1, 1971, are no longer regulated under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act by virtue of their age. While Transport Canada does not regulate the importation of these vehicles, it does not preclude the vehicles from having to meet provincial/territorial safety and licensing requirements. Importers of such vehicles are required to complete a Vehicle Import Form 1, at the time of importation, and present proof of ownership. Also, please contact the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for clearance requirements.

14. MANUAL TRANSMISSION AND CLUTCH PEDAL (Vehicles manufactured after May 1, 2005 and newer only) - If a passenger car, multi-purpose passenger vehicle, truck or three-wheeled vehicle has a GVWR of 4 536 kg or less and is equipped with a manual transmission, it must not be possible to start the engine unless the clutch pedal is depressed or the drive train is otherwise disengaged. If it is possible to start the engine without the clutch pedal being depressed or with the drive train engaged, the vehicle will fail the RIV inspection.

15. OWNER'S MANUAL AND BILINGUAL WARNING LABELS - To obtain an owner's manual in both official languages or bilingual warning labels, an importer can contact the vehicle manufacturer or an authorized dealer. Online resources may also be available.

16. CONTACT INFORMATION

FOR VEHICLES PURCHASED EXCLUSIVELY IN THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO:

Contact the REGISTRAR OF IMPORTED VEHICLES (RIV):

Registrar of Imported Vehicles
405 The West Mall, Suite 500
Toronto, ON M9C 5K7

Tel. within North America: 1-888-848-8240 (English/French)
Outside North America: (416) 626-6812
Web site: http://www.riv.ca
E-mail Address: support@support.riv.ca

FOR DUTIES AND TAXES AT IMPORTATION:

Contact the CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCY (CBSA):

Canada Border Services Agency
Automated Information System (ACIS)

Tel.: (204) 983-3500 or (506) 636-5064 (English)
(204) 983-3700 or (506) 636-5067 (French)
Web site: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca

You can call toll free from within Canada by dialing 1-800-461-9999 (English) or 1-800-959-2036 (French), or you may also wish to contact your local Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office. Telephone numbers are available in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.

FOR VEHICLE IMPORTATION FROM OTHER FOREIGN COUNTRIES:

Contact TRANSPORT CANADA:

Vehicle Safety and Importation
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0N5

Within Canada: 1-800-333-0371 (toll free)
Outside Canada: (613) 998-8616
Facsimile: (613) 998-8541
Web site: http://www.tc.gc.ca

Subject to revision without notification.

Date Modified:
2021-11-18

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