Thursday, February 28, 2008

Correct Exporting Information for Montana and Idaho Border Crossings Is Now Available

UCanImport is pleased to announced that the correct exporting information for Montana and Idaho border crossings is now available at border crossing information on the UCanImport website.

There are 14 border crossings in all that connect Idaho and Montana to parts of BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan and the requirements for all crossings are listed on UCanImport.

Importers can print off the Vehicle Export Worksheet as well as the worksheet titled Exportation of Equipment Not Requiring A Title directly off the UCanImport website and submit all requisite documents following the instructions provided.

Provincial Inspections for Vehicles Imported into PEI

If importing a vehicle from the US into Prince Edward Island, a motor vehicle inspection report must be submitted at the time of vehicle registration.

Information on the inspections process and costs are available here:

Location contact information is listed here:

Special Note:

When registering a vehicle imported from the US in PEI, the vehicle will be exempt from sales tax if:

  • the person must have resided outside of PEI for not less than 6 consecutive months;
  • the vehicle must have been owned by the person for at least 30 days prior to taking up residence in PEI; and
  • no customs duties were collected on the vehicle at the Canada-US border.
In order to bring goods into the Province as tax exempt the individual must establish permanent residency. Summer residence may not register vehicles as tax free. Collection of GST only at the border will not affect the exemption.

Note: the Federal Inspection is covered in the RIV fee of $195 which you are required to pay upon importing your vehicle.

Provincial Inspections for Vehicles Imported into New Brunswick

If you are importing a vehicle into New Brunswick, a motor vehicle inspection is required in the province. According to Government of New Brunswick Services, a motor vehicle inspection is an inspection and mechanical examination of the body and associated components, the windshield and windows, the windshield wipers, the horn, the rearview mirror, the lights, the exhaust system, the brakes, the steering and suspension system, the wheels and tires, and the coupling system.

For prices and locations please see:

For off-road vehicle registration visit:

Warranty specialist partners with UCanImport

UCanImport is pleased to launch its partnership with Canada Wide Warranty.

Many vehicle manufacturers refuse to honour warranties on imported cars; however, Canadians no longer need to fear this tactic. Canadian importers can purchase superior third-party warranty coverage and customize it to meet their driving needs.

Canada Wide Warranty provides third-party warranties on practically any type of vehicle purchased in the USA or Canada. The company is an authorized representative of Secure®, one of Canada's leading warranty product solutions for various automotive and recreation vehicles. Secure® warranties are fully insured by the Sovereign General Insurance Company, a member of the Co-Operators, one of Canada's oldest and most respected insurance companies. The Sovereign General Insurance Company and its affiliated companies have assets in excess of $4 billion and a very strong credit rating.

Contact Canada Wide Warranty for your no obligation consultation on the warranty packages available to you.

Class-action lawsuit launched against Transport Canada

Ottawa sued over car import rules


Two vehicle leasing companies have launched a class-action lawsuit on cross-border vehicle shopping with a new twist, alleging Transport Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency were participants in a conspiracy to keep vehicle prices high.

The two arms of the government have been named along with BMW Canada Inc., Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. and Mercedes-Benz USA LLC in a lawsuit that alleges actions they required of people or companies trying to import U.S. vehicles into Canada reduced competition and enabled prices of vehicles sold here to be 20 per cent to 35 per cent higher than similar U.S. models.

Read the rest of the article: Ottawa sued over car import rules

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Volvo admissibility Q&A for importers from the US

Volvo has posted a series of Q&As for the importer at this link

You will see that Volvo claims that "Transport Canada has delegated to Volvo Canada the responsibility of informing the public which Volvo vehicles are admissible in accordance with Transport Canada standards."

One of the statements that Transport Canada (TC) makes is that auto-manufacturers are "self-certifying" and unless called to audit the certification process, TC leaves it to the manufacturer, in this case, Volvo, to tell the importer and TC which vehicles may be admitted to Canada, and in their opinion, be successfully modified to meet Canadian Safety Standards that are governed by TC.

Where TC stands on the exorbitant pricing strategy for these modifications is anyone's guess...

Porsche Boxter, Cayman and 911 require modifications to bumpers

For Porsche importers, please note that on the 2008 models, RIV has recently updated bumper requirements to read as follows:

All passenger car U.S. models (Boxster, Cayman, 911 varients) do not comply with CMVSS 215 (bumpers). In order for these vehicles to be brought into compliance with CMVSS 215, the two impact pipes (part # 996 505 019 01) and their mating two desk pad impact absorbers (part # 996 505 775 00) that support the rear bumper have to be replaced with the Canadian specification impact absorbers (part # 996 505 015 01) and desk pad impact absorbers (part # 996 505 775 01).

UCanImport is encouraging importers to get a quote for this modification prior to commencing their importation.

Obtaining an In-transit Permit in Florida for vehicle imports

If you are purchasing a vehicle from a private seller in Florida, either you or the seller will have to purchase an in-transit permit as described below:


What is the purpose for issuance of temporary license plates?

Florida law provides for a variety of legal uses of temporary license plates. The most common is by motor vehicle dealers to allow customers who don't have a license plate to transfer to be able to drive their newly purchased vehicle off the lot. The license plates are valid for 30 days, which gives dealers ample time to apply for titles and registrations for their customers.

If you are not a dealer, but you have acquired another vehicle and transferred your license plate from your old vehicle to the new vehicle, a temporary license plate may be obtained from the tax collector's office so you may demonstrate your old vehicle while it is for sale.

Non-residents also are eligible to secure a temporary license plate for "in-transit" purposes if they purchase a vehicle in Florida and want to drive it back home. However, proof of insurance (from Florida or home state) and sales tax in the amount required by the home state must be paid. If you feel you may be eligible for a temporary license plate, inquire through your local tax collector's office or the regional DMV office ( serves your area.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bumper standards may soon be harmonized on vehicle imports from the US into Canada

The following was published in Part 1 of the Canada Gazette. I think that we will soon see an amendment and harmonization of bumper standards. But, then it remains to be seen what else the auto manufacturers will dream up as a deterrent to trade.

Link to
or read below.



Notice requesting comments on the intention to amend section 215, "Bumpers," of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations

Notice is hereby given that the Department of Transport is considering amending Canada's regulatory requirements governing bumpers and is soliciting written comments from all interested parties on the potential changes.


The Department of Transport is evaluating the need to amend its current bumper requirements by introducing changes that would either rescind the Canadian bumper standard entirely or align the bumper impact test speeds with those of the United States and require or allow compliance with the lower leg requirements of the future global technical regulation (gtr) on pedestrian safety currently under development. This gtr will come into effect when, and if, it is adopted by the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

During the review process, the Department will ensure that the current level of safety is maintained. While out of our control, we can, however, give consideration to the effects of regulation on cost and availability benefits to consumers.


The Department is seeking comments on various bumper requirement options in order to help determine which requirements governing bumpers would be more beneficial to consumers, rather than those presently in effect. The intent of the review is not to reduce safety in any way, but to investigate harmonization options which will allow manufacturers to continue to meet future bumper requirements, while ultimately reducing costs and possibly increasing vehicle model availability to consumers.

The objective of the Canadian bumper standard, which applies to front and rear bumpers, is to prevent or reduce the damage to safety-related components in systems such as the lighting, fuel, suspension, steering, propulsion, cooling and exhaust systems of passenger cars in low-speed collisions. Ultimately, the standard is aimed at reducing the number of fatalities and injuries associated with motor vehicle collisions, which would occur because of prior damage to those systems. It also establishes a range of bumper heights to reduce the risk of underride and override in the event of a collision.

The present bumper standard applies only to passenger cars, which are one of several prescribed classes of vehicles under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA). This is also the case for the similar U.S. and European standards, which are the two other main world requirements for bumpers on motor vehicles. The Canadian bumper standard differs from those of the United States and Europe by having slightly different test procedures but, more importantly, the Canadian standard includes a significantly higher test speed. The Department has observed that U.S. or European market specification vehicles do not necessarily comply with the Canadian bumper standard.

Regulatory diversity between countries can limit the range of vehicle models marketed in any given country and may act as an impediment to the development of vehicle models. Alternatively, it may increase the unit cost of such vehicles, depending on the number of modifications or model variants that the manufacturer needs to produce to market the vehicle platform globally. This is why the Department needs to ensure that there is a demonstrated net benefit to Canadians if pursuing a non-harmonized approach.

In the case of the bumper standard, it has proven difficult to estimate the number of fatalities and injuries associated with motor vehicle collisions which occur because of prior damage to a safety-related component in a low-speed collision, and the extent to which the higher Canadian test speed has yielded safety and economic benefits.

In the intervening years since the introduction of the bumper standard, not only have vehicle designs changed significantly but the classes of vehicles used by Canadians have also changed. When the standard was introduced in 1972, most Canadians drove passenger cars, whereas today, many Canadians drive multi-purpose passenger vehicles (MPVs) and trucks; thus, the number of vehicles that must meet the bumper standard has continued to decrease each year.

One of the new challenges for bumper designs is to better protect pedestrians during low-speed collisions. There is significant interest around the world in introducing requirements to limit the injuries to pedestrians. Work is nearing completion on a gtr being completed under the auspices of UNECE.

Finally, to improve vehicle fuel efficiencies, manufacturers attempt to design bumper systems that are lighter in mass and offer superior aerodynamic profiles. This objective has resulted in a significant change in bumper designs from the heavier steel designs of the past to lighter more aerodynamic composite designs, which incorporate pedestrian safety features on modern passenger cars.

The Department's purpose in publishing this notice is twofold: first, to summarize the evolution of the Canadian bumper standard since it was first introduced in 1972, including the explanation for why the Canadian bumper standard is currently in disharmony with the U.S. and European requirements; and second, to outline the various options to rectify this and provide an opportunity for the Canadian public and other stakeholders to comment on potential amendments.


The Department introduced its regulation on passenger car bumpers on July 26, 1972. The regulation comprised an 8-km/h frontal impact and a 5-km/h rear impact into a fixed collision barrier, under which damage to specific safety-related components involving structural components as well as principal operating systems were prohibited.

The regulation was amended on September 26, 1973, to add a pendulum-type impact test. In addition, the rear impact test speed into a fixed collision barrier was increased to 8 km/h.

On December 10, 1975, a new amendment to the bumper standard was completed to add a detailed test procedure for the pendulum-type impact test. The test included an impact speed of 4.8 km/h being applied to one corner of each bumper between specific heights. Those heights were later rounded off on April 25, 1979, in order for the Canadian bumper standard to be fully harmonized with those of the United States.

However, in 1979, the United States initiated a rulemaking action to amend its bumper requirements and the U.S. standard began diverging from the Canadian standard. To complement the existing no damage requirement to safety-related parts, the U.S. government added new criteria that prohibited property damage to all exterior vehicle surfaces not involving the bumper system, as well as damage resistant criteria not to be exceeded by the bumper itself. These additional requirements were in effect for 1980 to 1982 models and required barrier and pendulum impact test speeds identical to the Canadian bumper standard. On May 14, 1982, the United States reduced the test impact speeds from 8 km/h to 4 km/h for longitudinal impacts and from 4.8 km/h to 2.4 km/h for corner pendulum impacts. The damage resistance criteria were also dropped from the U.S. regulation. Conversely, the no damage requirement to safety-related parts and to all exterior vehicle surfaces not involving the bumper system remained in effect.

During the same period in Europe, a bumper standard specified by the UNECE was developed (hereinafter referred to as ECE Regulation No. 42). The standard, created in 1980, does not include a barrier impact test but comprises pendulum impact tests using speeds similar to those of the United States. In this test, a profiled pendulum strikes the vehicle with a speed of 4 km/h on the front and rear bumpers and at 2.5 km/h at the bumper corners. Similar to the Canadian bumper standard, ECE Regulation No. 42 ensures the integrity of various safety systems.

The U.S. bumper standard, on the other hand, is not intended to improve the integrity of safety systems but to reduce the costs associated with damage to bumpers involved in low-speed collisions. The reason for this difference is that through the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, the U.S. government is empowered to regulate the design of automobiles solely for the purpose of savings in cost to the public at large, whereas Canadian legislation constrains regulations to improvements in safety. In other words, Transport Canada does not have the authority to regulate requirements that would not offer a safety benefit. This is why the requirements of the Canadian bumper standard cannot be fully aligned with those of the United States on the basis employed by U.S. lawmakers.

On May 14, 1983, Transport Canada published in Part I of the Canada Gazette a proposal to partially harmonize its bumper requirements with those of the United States by lowering the velocities of the barrier and pendulum bumper impact tests to the same values as those of the United States. This would have also brought the Canadian speeds for the pendulum tests closer to those of ECE Regulation No. 42. However, the Department received significant opposition from the provinces and territories, the public, the media and the insurance industry with respect to the proposed lowering of bumper impact velocities. This opposition resulted in the Department withdrawing its proposal on August 3, 1985, and the Department not harmonizing its bumper standard impact test speeds with those of the United States and the UNECE. This divergence still exists today.

In the decades that followed, one issue that the Department put effort into addressing was collision compatibility between passenger cars and larger and heavier vehicles. On September 23, 2004, Transport Canada introduced a new regulation aimed at reducing the risk of injury in collisions between passenger cars and large commercial vehicles. This regulation mandated the installation of low mounted rear underride guards on large commercial trailers to reduce the likelihood of passenger vehicles from traveling underneath the rear of the trailer in the event of a collision.

Moreover, Transport Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2006 with the automotive industry aimed at improving compatibility between new passenger cars and light duty trucks in front-to-front and front-to-side vehicle collisions by the effective date of September 2009. In this MOU, vehicle manufacturers have agreed to redesign the bumper energy absorbing structure of larger vehicles to better protect occupants of smaller vehicles in the event of a collision.

Development of a global technical regulation on pedestrian safety

Since September 4, 2002, the Department has been participating in the development of a gtr on pedestrian safety at the UNECE. The intent of the gtr is to establish countermeasures that will help reduce injuries and fatalities sustained by pedestrians when they are struck by automobiles. Once approved, the gtr will comprise a series of tests to replicate collisions involving child and adult pedestrians where impacts occur at 40 km/h. It is expected that these tests will help reduce injuries to the lower legs of pedestrians against front bumpers, and upper legs and heads against hoods. Finalization of this gtr is expected in the near future. It is expected that when and if this gtr is adopted, manufacturers will be facing new challenges to design and manufacture more pedestrian-friendly bumpers, while still being required to meet the existing bumper standards of several jurisdictions. This will be further complicated by the need to maintain or improve fuel economy performance in relation to fuel efficiency regulations and incentive programs.

Ratings from insurance groups

There are several insurance groups worldwide that rate bumper performance during low-severity collisions based on the cost of repairing vehicle damage. These consumer metric tests influence bumper system design with the intent of minimizing vehicle damage. The largest groups are the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States, and the Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR) with members in Europe, Asia and America.

Until very recently, IIHS used four impact tests to rate bumper performance. The four configurations were two full-width front and rear impacts into a flat barrier, a front impact into an angled barrier, and a rear impact into a centered pole. The first two configurations were patterned after the U.S. federal full-width impacts but used the Canadian 8 km/h impact speed rather than the U.S. 4 km/h. The two latter impact tests were also conducted at 8 km/h and represented additional crash configurations that may be encountered in the real world.

In 2007, IIHS released a new bumper test protocol to better mimic the design of a car bumper and assess underride and override during vehicle-to-vehicle low speed crashes. The impact speed of the front and rear full-width impacts was changed from 8 km/h to 9.6 km/h and the flat barrier was substituted with a steel barrier developed with RCAR comprising a plastic absorber and flexible cover simulating typical energy absorbers and plastic bumper covers from passenger cars. The third and fourth tests comprise front and rear corner impacts at 4.8 km/h against the same barrier with a 15% bumper overlap.

The RCAR test program, which has existed since 1999, uses a different test procedure for evaluating bumper performance. The tests are a 40% overlap front impact into a flat rigid barrier (known as the Danner test in Germany and the Thatcham test in the United Kingdom) and a 40% overlap rear impact by a 1 000 kg mobile barrier. The tests are completed at a speed of 15 km/h. In 2006, the tests were modified and the vehicle now strikes the barriers with an angle of 10°. In addition, the mass of the mobile barrier has been increased to 1 400 kg. In 2009, RCAR is expected to add the same front and rear full-width bumper impact tests into a steel barrier that were recently adopted by IIHS.

While IIHS widely publicizes its results, some members of RCAR use results of their tests to rate vehicles for insurance pricing purposes. According to RCAR, many manufacturers have also incorporated the insurance test into the development program for new models. The test serves to forewarn of any difficulties or problems that may arise with a production standard vehicle, and thus provides the opportunity to eliminate such difficulties at an early stage.

Protection of the occupants in high-speed frontal collisions

Car bumpers do not typically play a major role in vehicle crashworthiness or occupant protection during front or rear collisions. According to American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), new technologies permit the bumper design to absorb about 15% of the energy under high-speed impact. Nonetheless, there is a direct interaction between the bumper and the chassis rails. The bumper is also a common structural component in both low- and high-speed crash tests, and has an influence on the level of vehicle stability in a crash and the deployment synchronicity of the air bag system. Diverging bumper standard requirements between jurisdictions increase the complexity for manufacturers of complying with high-speed crash test requirements. A harmonized world bumper standard would reduce the burden on industry by allowing manufacturers to design, test and produce products to one set of standards.

Review of alternatives

Manufactures of vehicles are increasingly challenged to comply with all applicable bumper standards; receive high performance, low cost ratings from insurance groups; protect occupants in high-speed frontal collisions; enhance pedestrian safety requirements; provide visually appealing designs to their customers; and maintain aerodynamic characteristics which promote fuel efficiency. If manufacturers need to design several vehicle front and rear ends to accommodate different safety standards from various jurisdictions, this could increase costs to the consumers or decrease the number of vehicle models offered in a given jurisdiction. Thus, the Department believes that it is time to revisit the Canadian bumper standard and determine whether it is justified to maintain or amend the standard.

The Department is considering the following options and is interested in gathering comments:

1. Maintain status quo;

2. Maintain status quo but allow alternative compliance with the lower leg requirements of the gtr on pedestrian safety (since this portion of the gtr is the most advanced);

3. Rescind the Canadian bumper standard;

4. Rescind the Canadian bumper standard but regulate the lower leg requirements of the gtr on pedestrian safety as either mandatory or optional;

5. Amend the Canadian bumper standard to align the bumper impact test speeds with those of the United States; and

6. Amend the Canadian bumper standard to align the bumper impact test speeds with those of the United States and allow optional (or potentially require) compliance with the lower leg requirements of the gtr on pedestrian safety.

As a normal practice, the Department seeks to harmonize its regulatory requirements with those of other countries wherever possible to facilitate trade and minimize the economic burden of compliance on the automotive industry, as well as the costs that the industry subsequently passes on to its customers. The first option to maintain status quo by keeping the Canadian bumper standard unchanged implies that the standard would remain in disharmony with the U.S. and UNECE standards. The Canadian bumper impact tests are double the speed of any other country's bumper regulations. This higher impact speed may require a stiffer bumper system. This may represent an impediment to free trade if unique model variants are designed for the Canadian marketplace, with a potential loss of vehicle sales for some manufacturers, as well as the inability for the general public to import certain models of vehicles sold in the United States. In addition, some manufacturers have found it necessary to commit additional testing and engineering resources and, in some cases, have experienced longer lead times and/or the unavailability of certain models for the Canadian market due to the existing disharmony. The end result for consumers is a potentially smaller consumer choice and an increase in car purchase prices. An analysis, prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which supported that the U.S. bumper standard impact test speeds be reduced by half in 1982, indicated that while the faster Canadian impact test speeds reduce lifetime repair costs for cars, they increase car purchase prices and fuel consumption. In terms of safety, a second report prepared by NHTSA in 1987, indicated that the change in the bumper standard from 8 km/h to 4 km/h in 1982 had not affected the protection of the safety related parts. From a cost-benefit perspective, Transport Canada has been unable to justify why the Canadian bumper standard should continue to be more stringent than those of the United States or the UNECE. In the absence of evidence that the benefits of the Canadian bumper standard exceed the cost to society resulting from it, maintaining the standard unchanged would not appear to constitute an appropriate solution.

Option 2, that of maintaining status quo but allowing optional compliance with the lower leg requirements of the gtr on pedestrian safety, could facilitate trade and minimize the economic burden of compliance on the automotive industry by incorporating some of the future requirements of the gtr on pedestrian safety. This would allow optional compliance with global requirements, while also maintaining the current requirements, allowing vehicle manufacturers freedom of choice. This option is practical only if the gtr is adopted by the UNECE and if any U.S. regulatory amendment mirrors the gtr.

Since the benefits to safety provided by bumpers in low-speed collisions are difficult to assess and there may be a greater need to address vehicle repair costs or pedestrian safety, options 3 and 4 are to either rescind the Canadian bumper standard altogether or to rescind it and regulate instead the lower leg requirements of the gtr on pedestrian safety. It should be pointed out that several countries in the world, such as Austria, France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, and Australia, have no safety standards regulating bumper impact tests. The United Kingdom for one has an organization called the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre (Thatcham), which instead uses the RCAR test to rate the performance of bumpers for insurance pricing purposes. Other countries, such as Japan, are more concerned about injury to their pedestrians and therefore do not necessarily want car bumpers to be so rigid and unyielding that they could lead to a higher risk of injuries to pedestrians. The downside to options 3 and 4 is that Canadian consumers could lose with respect to both safety and reparability if some manufacturers (including perhaps emerging entities that do not currently market in Canada) choose to economize by selling cars in Canada that meet none of the other national standards for bumpers.

The proposed option 5 would be to amend the Canadian bumper standard to align the bumper impact test speeds with those of the United States. This would ensure free trade between Canada and the United States, and would also put the Canadian impact test speeds more in line with those of ECE Regulation No. 42. While introducing this option would increase the number of passenger car vehicle models available in Canada, the Department is not able to determine if there would be any negative effect on safety as the current passenger car fleet is capable of meeting the higher speed tests.

Option 6 would be to not only amend the Canadian bumper standard to align the bumper impact test speeds with those of the United States but also to allow compliance with the lower leg requirements of the gtr on pedestrian safety as an option or as a mandatory requirement. Discussions with the industry revealed that, while it is very challenging and costly to design to the Canadian bumper standard and the gtr on pedestrian safety, they are able to manufacture vehicles that would comply with both the U.S. bumper standard and the gtr. World studies all suggest that pedestrian head and leg injuries will be significantly reduced with the introduction of pedestrian safety requirements. The science on lower leg injury prevention is relatively more advanced at present.


Manufacturers, importers, public safety organizations, insurers, and other interested parties are requested to provide their comments on this proposal in writing, at the address provided below, before December 31, 2007. Comments should be supported by data wherever possible.

Comments should identify those parts of the representations that should not be disclosed pursuant to the Access to Information Act and, in particular, pursuant to sections 19 and 20 of the Act, the reason why those parts should not be disclosed and the period during which those parts should remain undisclosed.

Comments, questions, and requests for additional information regarding this notice may be directed to Matthew Coons, Senior Regulatory Development Engineer, Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate, Transport Canada, 330 Sparks Street, 8th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5, 613-998-1961 (telephone), 613-990-2913 (fax); and Standards and Regulations Division, Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate, Transport Canada, 330 Sparks Street, 8th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5, 613-998-2268 (telephone), 613-990-2913 (fax).

Standards Research and Development
For the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

Friday, February 22, 2008

Provincial Inspections for Vehicles Imported into Ontario

If you are registering an imported vehicle in Ontario, the Ministry of Transportation for Ontario has provided a handy checklist of required steps.

Click here to view the checklist:

An SCC is a certificate that is issued by a government- approved Motor Vehicle Inspection Station (MVIS) after a vehicle passes an inspection. This inspection covers the minimum safety requirements for vehicles in the province of Ontario. You can have your vehicle inspected at a Ministry of Transportation-approved Motor Vehicle Inspection Station (MVIS). There are approximately 13,500 stations across Ontario, just look for the green and white sign that says "Ontario Motor Vehicle Inspection Station".

For more information on the SCC visit

Provincial Inspections for Vehicles Imported into BC

To register an imported vehicle or any private vehicle previously registered outside of BC, you will need to obtain a "passed" Vehicle Inspection Report from a Designated Inspection Facility (DIF) in BC (a DIF is an auto repairer or service shop that has been certified by Government to perform inspections).

For a complete list of DPIs visit

Type "Private Vehicle Inspections" in the Search box at the top of the home page and click GO. Click on the link to "List of Designated Inspection Facilities" at the bottom of the new page that comes up.

Note: the Federal Inspection is covered in the RIV fee of $195 which you are required to pay upon importing your vehicle.

Provincial Inspections for Vehicles Imported into Manitoba

According to Manitoba Public Insurance, to register any newly acquired motor vehicle in Manitoba, you'll have to get a valid safety inspection certificate. In Manitoba this provincial safety inspection certificated a Certificate of Inspection (COI).

The provincial safety inspections ensure that vehicle meets minimum safety standards before being operated on Manitoba roads. The inspection includes examination of the steering, suspension, tires, brakes, exhaust, lights, and the vehicle's supporting structure.

The costs at an provincial inspection station can be up to $45.00. This doesn't include any extra fee to reinspect brake components that failed the first time around - that can cost as much as $20 more. Any repairs to make the vehicle safe are extra - these repairs must be completed before you'll be allowed to register your vehicle.

Approved inspection stations are located throughout Manitoba. Call Vehicle Standards and Inspections at (204) 985-0929 or toll-free (866) 323-0542 for an inspection station near you.

Note: the Federal Inspection is regulated by RIV and is included in the $195 importation fee.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Provincial Inspections for Vehicles Imported into Saskatchewan

According to SGI, if you wish to register a vehicle in Saskatchewan that was most recently licensed (or purchased) in another jurisdiction, the vehicle must be inspected under the First-Time Registered Vehicle Inspection program.

Importers have the option of contacting a motor licence issuer and conducting a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) search to check whether a vehicle is eligible for registration in Saskatchewan - prior to beginning their importation process.

To locate inspection facilities for the First-Time Registered Vehicle Inspection program, you can visit

Provincial Inspections for Vehicles Imported in Alberta

The Province of Alberta requires that vehicles previously unregistered in Alberta have a Out-of-Province (OOP) Provincial Inspection completed prior to registering their new vehicle in Alberta. This step is in addition to the required Federal Inspection regulated by Transport Canada and RIV.

Use this handy interactive map provided on the Provincial web site at

Make sure you select the "out-of-province" option at the top of the page before clicking on the map. Narrow your search quickly and select from a list of licensed shops.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Car Imports from the US break records: NAATA publication

The North American Automobile Trade Association newsletter states that a record number of vehicles entered Canada from the US in 2007.

A whopping 189,738 vehicles entered into Canada through the RIV program last year, a 55% increase over 2006 - also a record year.

January 2008 saw 21,661 vehicles come into Canada. With the Canadian dollar at par with the greenback, these figures reflect the price advantage of shopping in the US.

For more information, visit NAATA

Private Seller Transactions for Vehicle Importation: Understanding your payment options

UCanImport has indicated within the importing guide that there are several ways to seal the deal when paying for you new vehicle. Recently, we have noticed that there is a growing trend for Canadians to purchase their vehicle from a private US seller. While the importation documents and processes don't change, what may be affected is the level of comfort of seller and buyer when it comes to receiving payment or paying for the car respectively.

Payment options include:

1. Wire transfer from your bank account or a foreign exchange merchant
Excellent reliability, but little protection from a fraudulent seller. This is a good option to transfer funds for a deposit amount. You may want to note the details of the transaction directly on the memo field of the transfer. For example: deposit against VIN 12ABC34DEF56GHI78.
Keeping a receipt or screen printout that shows the seller's name and the details of the transfer are useful precautions.

2. Certified cheque or US Cash delivered in person when you pick up the car
A great option to protect both parties as you can see what you are buying and there are generally no surprises. You travel with the cheque or cash, making sure to declare it to the border officers if the value is over $10,0000. The seller delivers the vehicle and you can accompany the seller to their financial institution to deposit the funds to their account. This process is a bit more cumbersome, but it offers a greater level of security, assuming no one steals your wallet or purse.

3. Escrow services to keep the funds with a 3rd party until the vehicle is delivered to you
For a small fee, this is a great option for the wary buyer and seller. The buyer transfer funds to an escrow account, which then holds the funds for the seller until the buyer confirms that the transaction occurred successfully. Caveats: not all escrow services are legitimate, which means you have to do your homework. EBay refers its customers to to handle these types of transactions. There is a fair bit of information on the website that explains how each step of the process works.

4. In-Trust accounts through buyer and seller lawyers
Anticipate a fee if you use your lawyer's office to transact the deal with the seller. Similar to a real estate transaction a lawyer will use an in-trust account to hold funds for the buyer, and confirm same to the seller's lawyer. The funds will be transferred to the seller's lawyer to be held in-trust for the seller pending successful delivery of the vehicle to the buyer. The downside here is that you have a number of people to work with and depending on location, potentially different time zones. But the service does keep the transaction on the up and up, and for cross-border shopping sprees, does wonders for your comfort level.

Have you purchased a vehicle from a private seller? How did you transfer your money? Share your information here so that other importers can benefit from your experience.

BMW Service Bulletin for Instrument Cluster Change on BMW Imports from the US

Submitted by a UCanImport Subscriber

Please review this bulletin and let us know if these conversions are truly required to meet Canadian Safety Standards or are just being implemented to slow down imports of BMW. Costs for the instrument cluster change can run up to $2,500 or more.

If you can shed some light on why these changes were implemented post-Nov 26, 2007, we would be very interested.

This Service Information bulletin supersedes SI 00 80 07 dated November 2007.

Vehicle conversion – USA to Canada

BMW and MINI models


BMW and MINI vehicles are built to operate correctly and to meet safety requirements in their respective markets. In Canada some of these important requirements that differentiate USA to Canadian cars are related to Daytime Running Lights (DRL), different instrumentation, hardware and software components.

The high sophistication of components involves a large amount of interactions and interdependencies between the fitted control units of a vehicle. This highlights the importance of carrying out a proper USA-Canada conversion as recommended by BMW AG, which not only ensures compliance of the systems, but also ensures the correct operation and interaction of all control units.

While some features can be modified by means of software which might appear to fulfill Canadian compliance and technical requirements for a correctly functioning vehicle, they do not. This type of modification is not suitable for correct functioning of the Daytime Running Lights and therefore cannot ensure compliance.

BMW Group does not support hard-wiring of Daytime Running Lights due to the complexity of the vehicle electronics.

On certain USA vehicles, depending on model, production date and specification, it is possible to have the Daytime Running Lights turned on by means of:

• The Personal Profile feature which allows the driver to switch the DRL function on and off from within the car using either the Controller (i-Drive) or Instrument Cluster functions. Turning on the DRL via the Controller or Instrument Cluster does NOT constitute

• The Car Key Memory (CKM) functions. This feature was designed for USA vehicles only. Therefore operation and illumination brightness varies depending on the production date of the vehicle or software level of the relevant module. To ensure correct operation to Canadian specification, CKM must NOT be used as an alternative to performing the correct USA – Canada conversion.

Depending on the model, the vehicle technology can be divided into two categories:
• Vehicles with an I-Level: E60/E61, E63/E64, E65/E66, E70, E90/E91/E92/E93, R56
• Vehicles without an I-Level: E46, E53, E83, E85/86, R50/R52/R53
Vehicles with an I-Level (Software Integration Level)
Situation for E60/E61, E63/E64, E65/E66, E70, E90/E91/E92/E93, R56 models

These models use Integration Software technology, usually referred to as an I-Level, which basically means all control modules fitted to a car have to be compatible with each other in order to function correctly – they have to be at the correct I-Level.

Canadian specification vehicles are built with km/h Instrument Cluster, which is written into the Vehicle Order, which is the “fingerprint” of the car, and this determines how all control units fitted to a vehicle interact. Therefore, for a car to be correctly converted for use in Canada it should have a km/h Instrument Cluster fitted and the relevant Vehicle Order modification carried out using the BMW Diagnostic and Programming equipment within the retailer workshop.

Using this correct process ensures the Daytime Driving Lights function as Canadian specification requires, and any future programming updates can be carried out without problems. If the correct process is not followed this invariably results in customer inconvenience, non-warrantable costs and potentially a non-compliant vehicle.

Another benefit from using the correct procedure for converting cars from USA to Canada is that technical support will be provided to assist with the conversion.

Note: Technical support may not be provided for programming, coding or diagnosis issues related to a vehicle not converted using the recommended procedure.

When carrying out the USA to Canada conversion using the BMW Diagnostic and Programming equipment the technician is instructed to replace the Instrument Cluster (Kombi) and on E60/61/63/64 models the Heater Control Module (IHKA), before the conversion can be carried out.

This is due to the I-Level needing the correct control module for operation within the vehicle electronics network and therefore cannot be worked around without replacing the specific part. Note: The USA R56 models only have a MPH display, km/h marking are required, so the Instrument Cluster (speedometer) should be replaced with the Canadian km/h version.

Vehicles without an I-Level (Software Integration Level)
Situation for BMW E46, E53, E83, E85/E86, R50/R52/R53
For vehicles without an Integration Level, the control modules infrastructure does not have the same inter-dependencies based on Software and Hardware. Therefore, the Instrument Cluster does not need to be replaced, except for the R50/R52/R53 – see note.

The Progman procedure must be followed to ensure the Canadian specific options are compliant and included in the Vehicle Order or Central Encoding Key (ZCS).
Note: R50/R52/R53 models require a replacement Instrument Cluster and Rev Counter due to the location of several warning lights causing incorrect illumination or not lighting at all, such as the Fasten Seatbelt light.

USA to Canada conversion (status as of 11/2007):

Models Parts required Tech Dept assist Other work required
E46 No No – Progman OK CKM for other settings
E53 No No – Progman OK CKM for other settings
E60/E61,Kombi No - Progman OK i-Drive for other settings
E63/E64 and IHKAN
E65/E66 Kombi No – Progman OK i-Drive for other settings
E70 Kombi Yes – modified VO i-Drive for other settings
E83 No Yes – modified VO CKM for other settings
E85/E86 No Yes – modified VO CKM for other settings
E90/E91/E92/E93 Kombi No – Progman OK Kombi / i-Drive for other settings
R50/R52/R53 Kombi and Rev counter No – Progman OK CKM for other settings
R56* Kombi Yes – modified VO Kombi / i-Drive for other settings

*Note: The USA R56 models only have a MPH display, km/h marking are required, so the Instrument Cluster (speedometer) should be replaced with the Canadian km/h version.

Progman: Diagnostic and Programming software for SSS
CKM: Car Key Memory
VO: Vehicle Order
Other settings: Temperature display, Board Computer display, mileage display
Kombi: Instrument Cluster

Monday, February 11, 2008

Importing a 2007 PORSCHE CAYMAN S from the US

Submitted by a recent importer and client of UCanImport:

"There were no modifications required, only a Drive Clean emission test at Canadian Tire which was not included in the free Provincial Inspections in Ontario. Other than that, no modifications needed."

In addition, UCanImport can confirm that Porsche - at this time- does not require a Letter of Admissibility and does not charge for the Recall Clearance Letter.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Changes to Volvo Compliance Process for Importers

Submitted by: UCanImport Reader

Please note that this is the process you must follow once the vehicle is in Canada. Remember that you will require a Letter of Admissibility from Volvo Canada to present to the Canada Customs officer on the date of import.

Thank you for your email regarding the importation of a Volvo vehicle into Canada from the USA.

Once the vehicle is in Canada, you must bring the vehicle to an authorized Volvo Canada retailer for a safety/mechanical inspection and to ensure the completion of any required CMVSS modifications. Please be advised that the following modifications may be necessary to meet Canadian specifications:
  • Recall clearance Letter (Issued through Volvo Cars of North America at 1-800-458-1552
  • The vehicle must bear a manufacturer's valid U.S. statement of compliance label at the time of importation.
  • The Registrar of Imported Vehicles will mail a Canadian statement of compliance label to you after passing the federal inspection.
  • Valid alpha-numeric 17-digit VIN
  • Metric speedometer and odometer labels (provided by inspection centre)
  • Daytime running lights
  • Infant restraint kit
  • Child tether anchorage
  • 8 km/hour bumpers (2000 - 2004 Volvo S40 and V40 only)
  • If the GVWR of this vehicle is less than 10,000 lbs, and the manufacture date after September 1, 2007, it must be equipped with an electronic lock and immobilizer system that meets CMVSS 114.

Volvo Cars of Canada will issue a Safety Inspection Compliance Letter to the consumer after receiving from them, a copy of the Safety Inspection report, applicable invoices related to CMVSS modifications and other required work. All requests for the Safety Inspection Compliance Letter must be in writing and must contain a return mailing address. You may fax this at 416-850-5618.

The consumer will then take the Safety Inspection Compliance Letter to a RIV approved Canadian Tire centre for the issuance of a final Certificate of Compliance.

Best regards,

Shiva Nimapoo
Customer Relations Consultant


Sunday, February 3, 2008

RIV Update For BMW Imports - Admissibility and Recall Information

Please note: Information regarding admissibility and recall information is only provided by BMW Canada.

This list is based on information supplied to Transport Canada and The Registrar of Imported vehicles by the Vehicle manufactures on a voluntary basis. Therefore, they do not have to provide it under any circumstances.

Moreover, if a manufacturer fails to supply any compliance or modification information at all on a particular make or model; the vehicle is also deemed inadmissible.

This information is under the control of the manufacturer, and therefore must be obtained directly from them.

If you wish to import any BMW into Canada then, please contact an authorized Canadian BMW or MINI Retailer to request a letter of admissibility and for information regarding the exact nature and costs of modifications required. The modifications vary by model and may be expensive. ALL modifications MUST be performed by an authorized Canadian BMW or MINI Retailer and must be completed before a recall clearance letter can be issued by BMW Group Canada. Prior to reviewing your request for a letter of admissibility, the following information must be

- Model
- Model year
- 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

An official letter of admissibility from BMW Group Canada must be presented to a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer at time of importation. In addition, the official recall clearance letter obtained from BMW Group Canada once the required retrofits have been completed and documented by an authorized Canadian BMW or Mini Retailer must be presented to the Registrar of Imported Vehicles in order to properly register a vehicle.

Please note: BMW, Transport Canada and The RIV have all agreed that if you can prove that you've purchased the BMW BEFORE November 26th, BMW will issue a letter of admissibility free of charge.

You can contact BMWs Customer Relation department at 905-683-1200 for a letter.

Please be aware that as of June 1, 2007, BMW has initiated a new policy regarding recalls. We can only accept a letter from BMW Canada's head office typed on their official letter head. To obtain a recall document when you take your vehicle to an authorized BMW dealership, have it undergo a visual inspection, complete all recalls, and pay a fee of $500. At that point, BMW North America will issue a recall letter directly to you. The RIV will also automatically receive a copy of said letter directly from head office as well.

Under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act the responsibility for bringing an imported vehicle into compliance with Canadian safety regulations lies entirely with the importer; the RIV cannot be held responsible for any reason should the importer fail to complete the process successfully. Any information provided by the RIV is strictly based on the facts presented by the importer and reliance upon such information is at the importer's discretion.

The information contained in this email is intended to assist individuals interested in importing a vehicle from the United States, and contains information on the admissibility of various makes, models, model years and class of vehicles provided by the original equipment manufacturer. This information is contained on the List of Vehicles Admissible Form the United States which is available to the public on our web site at or directly at:

The admissibility of any particular make, model and model year of vehicle can only be ultimately determined by a) the presentation of the vehicle to Canada Customs at the time of importation, b) the decoding of the VIN contained on the vehicle import form - form 1 as presented to Canada Customs, and c) the successful completion of the federal inspection.