Side-by-side Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) New Import Requirements Coming into Force

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) updated Memorandum D19-12-1 this past August, indicating a change to the vehicle import requirements to include import requirements of side-by-side utility terrain vehicles under the restricted motorcycle as a regulated good. Also, renaming of the prescribed class “restricted-use motorcycle” to “restricted-use vehicle”

The CBSA assists Transport Canada with the administration of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) and the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR) by administering and enforcing the conditions under which new and used vehicles may be imported at CBSA points of entry. The MVSA regulates the importation of vehicles to reduce the risk of death, injury, and damage to property and the environment.

A vehicle means any vehicle (assembled or disassembled) that, when in its assembled state, is capable of being driven or drawn on roads by any means other than muscular power exclusively but does not include any vehicle designed to run exclusively on rails. The prescribed (or regulated) classes of vehicles under the MVSR are:

  • passenger car (including limousines)
  • multi-purpose passenger vehicle (including vans, Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs, motorhomes)
  • truck (including chassis cabs and service trucks)
  • bus (including school buses)
  • low speed vehicle
  • motorcycle open, enclosed, motor tricycle, and limited speed motorcycles
  • restricted-use motorcycle (RUM) (ATV, dirt bikes and as of February 2021 will include UTV aka “side by side”)
  • trailer including utility, cargo, with mounted equipment, horse, boat, travel trailer, car dolly, etc.
  • trailer converter dolly
  • snowmobile
  • three wheeled vehicles

Side-by-side Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs)
As of 4 February 2021, UTVs, commonly referred to as side-by-side UTVs, will be regulated under the MVSA as ATVs and restricted-use motorcycles (RUM).

Prior to Feb 2021, UTVs, commonly referred to as side-by-side UTVs, were previously not regulated under the MVSA as ATVs and restricted-use motorcycles because they are not equipped with steering handlebars and the passengers are sitting side-by-side rather than astride.

Some UTVs are not considered regulated at importation when they are clearly designed for off-road use only. If it appears that the vehicle is not designed exclusively for off-road use because it has enough design features for practical on-road use, it can lead to interpreting the importation of the vehicle as a regulated class of on-road vehicle and a border services officer may seek further clarification from Transport Canada before allowing for its release.

Vehicles meeting the definition of an ATV in section 2 of the MVSR are included in the definition of restricted-use motorcycle and must be certified to all applicable CMVSS for that prescribed class of vehicle to be eligible for importation.

The Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (National Safety Marks and Importation): SOR/2020-22 was published in  Canada Gazette II, Vol 154 Number 4, February 4, 2020 that advised of the amendments and stated that the Department of Transport has included a 12-month delay for the coming into force of amendments related to the expansion and renaming of the prescribed class “restricted-use motorcycle” to “restricted-use vehicle,” including repealing the power-assisted bicycle definition as well as the paragraph 6(3)(c) amendments for the label placement on restricted-use vehicles. This will allow a delay for assuring compliance of vehicles that will fall under this revised prescribed class.

For detailed information on the impact to your business, review the amendments made to the Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (National Safety Marks and Importation): SOR/2020-22. The Amendments to the Vehicle Regulations allows for the importation of vehicles from Mexico, expands the definition of “restricted-use vehicle” and clarify the link between the expressions “at the time of the main assembly” in the Act and “date of manufacture” in the Vehicle Regulations.

These amendments to the regulations also set out the conditions for the temporary importation of vehicles, tires and child restraint systems in their respective regulations. A temporarily imported vehicle may also be donated as provided for in the Vehicle Regulations. In addition, these amendments set out the National Safety Mark for vehicles and tires in their respective regulations and allow the optional use of the United States format for the Tire Identification Number (TIN).

For inquires contact Transport Canada webpage or if you have any questions or concerns email:

Jessey Almeida, Multimodal and Road Safety Programs
Transport Canada
330 Sparks Street, 11th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5