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Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 11-03-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
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Driving US Plated car in Canada

Hi,

I ran into a little problem earlier this week at the Canadian border that I would like to clarify in this thread.

I was in the States (Seattle) for a business conference Monday and Tuesday, however, due to some obligations that caused me to have to come back to Canada Monday night, and drive back down to the states the same night.

Since my co-workers drove us all down to the states, the most economical option was for me to rent a car and make this round trip back up to Canada. So this is what I did, I picked up a rental car from Hertz (Volvo S80), and made the trip back into Canada, however I was pulled in for secondary inspection on my way back into Canada. The CBSA agent proceeded to tell me that I am not allowed to drive a US plated car into Canada due to insurance reasons. After being told this information, I was expecting him to not let me cross the border and send me back down into the states. However, he then said "just be careful next time" and let me proceed back into Canada.

So my question is that, if my insurance is indeed not valid on a US plated vehicle in Canada, then why did the CBSA agent let me drive back into Canada. This concerns me as I will be making a similar trip to Boston early next year, and I would like to rent a car and go visit a friend in Montreal, just do not want to run into the same issue, and not be allowed to cross the border.

So is there any truth to this rule? Am I actually not allowed to drive a US plated rental car (or just a US plated car in general) in Canada?

Thanks in advance
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:03 PM   #2
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bull,

1) i purchased a car in the US along with temp insurance for a week, i drove with US plate,insurance till it i completed transf. process (about 1-2 weeks).

2) rented a car from Detroit, drove it for a week in Toronto no issues. (didnt purchase insurance - border agent asked, told it was a rental, had papers ready)
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by skiiipi View Post
So my question is that, if my insurance is indeed not valid on a US plated vehicle in Canada, then why did the CBSA agent let me drive back into Canada.
This is your key that the guy is full of shit. If the insurance is invalid, and he knowingly lets you drive off without valid insurance, he could be liable for the consequences if anything happens.
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:33 AM   #4
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This is your key that the guy is full of shit. If the insurance is invalid, and he knowingly lets you drive off without valid insurance, he could be liable for the consequences if anything happens.
x2

If your rental agreement said not valid outside the country (which some do) then the CBSA would've turned you around.
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:59 PM   #5
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Oh, but I thought the law could do no wrong?
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:15 PM   #6
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I stand to be corrected but I don't believe that CBSA get little or any training on the BC MV Act and Regs. I have had past dealings with US visitors who were permitted to drive into Canada towing heavy trailers that required brakes with hand controls (a BC requirement) and all they had were surge brakes. They also permitted trucks/motorhomes towing trailers that were towing trailers...in other words double trailers.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:19 PM   #7
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Can't be that hard to print up little "cheat sheets" for them, can it?
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:43 AM   #8
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Cheat sheets are a summary of the information that you already know. Without understannding the nuances and details of the Act & Regs, they are useless and end up in things being missed and incorrect charges being laid, to the detriment of the issuer and the one ticketed.

For instance...when checking for a required emergency breakaway device, how long does the braking system have to hold for? How much tint can you have on your front/rear windows? What is the minimum required tread depth on your tyres? If you start making mechanical checks, you had better know what you are doing.
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:26 AM   #9
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At first I was going to poke fun of you for not having much faith in the border guards, but then I realized this thread is about a border guard who was confused about the legalities of allowing a US plated car into Canada...
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:05 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone for their responses.

So Zulu, based on your law enforcement background, can you confirm that I am allowed to operated a US plated rental vehicle in Canada provided that the insurance policy allows it?
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:16 AM   #11
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Last year when I was in LA, the rental agreement by the rental company was that I am not allowed to enter the Canadian border and Mexico border. I think it's a rental agreement rule vs. what is in the relevant Acts.

If you have roadside plus from ICBC. It should cover all rentals in Canada and USA.
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiiipi View Post
Thanks everyone for their responses.

So Zulu, based on your law enforcement background, can you confirm that I am allowed to operated a US plated rental vehicle in Canada provided that the insurance policy allows it?
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I know it's long...and I only have access to the BC Act/Regs...

You are dealing with 2 different things here...the conditions requiring registration etc and the conditions converning insurance coverage.

The insurance area has many different questions...US insurance coverage is private, not Govt as far as I know. Individual companies may/may not permit you to operate out of state or out of country under any restrictions they want to impose. If you comply then you would have valid coverage, if you don't then you don't. You cannot operate an uninsured vehicle on a BC "highway".

BC Regs say that if the vehicle is legally registered at home, then it would be considered the same in BC, under time and other restrictions, some of which are listed above.


Registration of foreign motor vehicles and trailers
21 (1) The owner of a motor vehicle or trailer

(a) that is duly registered outside British Columbia,

(b) for which the licensing requirements of the jurisdiction in which it is registered are fulfilled, and

(c) that has displayed on it the registration number plates of that jurisdiction for the current year, or is a trailer that is designed exclusively to carry one axle of a motor vehicle for the purpose of towing that motor vehicle behind another motor vehicle and is from a jurisdiction that does not issue registration number plates for that type of trailer,

is exempt from the requirements to register and license the motor vehicle or trailer under this Act, if

(d) the owner or operator of the motor vehicle or trailer is in British Columbia for, and uses the motor vehicle or trailer for, touring purposes only, for a period of 6 months, or

(e) the owner or operator of the motor vehicle or trailer is in British Columbia for, and uses the motor vehicle or trailer for, other than touring purposes, for a period of 30 days

from the date he or she began to operate the motor vehicle or trailer on a highway in British Columbia.

(2) If a motor vehicle or trailer is owned by a person resident outside British Columbia who has complied with the laws of his or her place of residence with respect to the registration and licensing of the motor vehicle or trailer and the motor vehicle or trailer has displayed on it the registration number plates for the current year assigned under those laws for that motor vehicle or trailer and is brought into British Columbia

(a) for temporary use by a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces on temporary posting in British Columbia for training purposes only for a period not exceeding 6 months, or

(b) by a person for the period that the person is registered as a full time student at and attends any of the following educational institutions:

(i) a university, as defined in the University Act;

(ii) an institution, as defined in the College and Institute Act;

(iii) [Repealed 2004-33-21.]

(iv) the University of Northern British Columbia;

(v) [Repealed 2002-35-9.]

(v.1) the Thompson Rivers University;

(vi) Royal Roads University;

(vii) the Open Learning Agency;

(viii) any other educational institution in the Province that is authorized under an enactment to grant degrees or is designated under section 3 (1) (a) of the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act,

then, at the earliest opportunity and in any event not later than 30 days after the motor vehicle or trailer is brought into British Columbia, the owner must cause the motor vehicle or trailer to be registered with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia by delivering to the corporation, a government agent or a person authorized in writing by the corporation to receive it a notice in the form required by the corporation and by giving proof of financial responsibility under sections 106 to 113.

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may order that the owner of a motor vehicle or trailer who gives proof of financial responsibility to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia under sections 106 to 113 is, for a period the Lieutenant Governor in Council specifies, and subject to conditions set out in the order, exempt from the requirements to register or license the motor vehicle or trailer under this Act.

(4) On receipt of the notice in the form required by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and proof of financial responsibility, and on being satisfied of the truth of the facts stated in the notice, the corporation must cause to be issued to the owner a certificate of registration in the form established by the corporation, together with a windshield sticker of a design approved by the corporation.

(5) The motor vehicle or trailer, with the sticker conspicuously displayed on the lower part of its windshield in the case of a motor vehicle other than a motorcycle, while being used by the owner within British Columbia for the purpose mentioned in subsection (2) during the period named in the certificate is deemed sufficiently registered and licensed for the purposes of this Act.

(6) A motor vehicle or trailer is not, merely because of compliance with this section, deemed to be sufficiently registered and licensed for the purposes of this Act for a longer period than that allowed by the law of the owner's place of residence for the operation there without local registration or licence of touring motor vehicles and trailers registered and licensed in British Columbia, but this subsection does not apply to permits issued under subsection (2).

(7) A person commits an offence who

(a) drives or operates a motor vehicle or trailer on a highway

(i) after the period of 6 months permitted in subsection (1) (d),

(ii) after the period of 30 days permitted in subsection (1) (e),

(b) makes a false statement in a notice given by him or her for the purposes of this section,

(c) being in possession of a motor vehicle or trailer for which a certificate of registration has been issued under this section, and being requested by a peace officer or constable to exhibit the certificate, refuses or fails to do so,

(d) fails to give proof of financial responsibility under subsection (2), or

(e) 30 days or more after entry into British Columbia of a motor vehicle or trailer that is required to be registered under subsection (2) but in respect of which notice has not been delivered in accordance with subsection (2), drives or operates the motor vehicle or trailer on a highway.
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:26 PM   #13
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Hi zulu, sorry if I don't fully understand,

Based on what I read,

Insurance wise, I will be using my icbc insurance, road side plus coverage allows me to transfer my insurance onto a rental car, which means it should be covered in any part of canada or US.

Registration wise, as long as I'm in canada for less than 30 days with a US plated vehicle, then I'm okay?
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:00 PM   #14
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You may want to confirm with ICBC that the insurance coverage they will transfer to the rental car is acceptable to the renters. If both ICBC and the rental company agree that it is acceptable then the insurance coverage thing should be OK. If you are using it for less than 30 days then that should cover the registration thing. I used to see all kinds of US rental cars all over Van Island in the summer...usually Alamo rental out of washington. You might also check with the rental company to see if they object to it being driven in Canada for extended periods of time. If noboby objects and they agree on the insurance then I can't see a problem.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:40 AM   #15
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I believe it has nothing to do with the MVA nor insurance.

https://www.alamo.ca/itemDetails.do?HelpItemID=ONE
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:10 PM   #16
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I stand to be corrected. A conversation with the rental car company where you tell them of your plans to take their US plated car into Canada, should have surfaced this legislation. Must be a Fed Statute that has changed since I did my training. They used to prohibit the operation of a US plated vehicle in Canada unless the US owner was present but that changed a few years back. Can't see the logic behind the Canadians being prohibited but the US being permitted?

I wonder how that really works though as U Haul trailers are plated in Arizona I believe yet are readily available for rental at Canadian agencies. I was told that U Haul does it because Arizona registration is very cheap and a lifetime plate is issued.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:25 PM   #17
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Canada
The Canadian Import Law prohibits Canadian Citizens from taking a U.S. owned rental vehicle from the U.S. into Canada. The rental vehicle will be seized by Canadian Customs at the border, whether the Canadian renter plans to return the vehicle to a U.S. or Canadian location. The U.S. owned rental vehicle cannot be imported into Canada, even to temporarily cross the border. However, a Canadian may rent a Canadian owned vehicle in the U.S. and return it to Canada or cross the border without the vehicle being seized. Any U.S. Citizen renting a vehicle in the U.S. may drive across the U.S./Canadian border with no restrictions. The driver may be asked by Customs to show a rental agreement and a form of identification, such as a driver's license.
So a Canadian citizen cannot drive a US rental vehicle into Canada due to Canadian import laws?

This must be one of those goofy prohibition era laws just like the one that prohibits shipping wine between provinces.



And as for the U-Haul trucks, doesn't ICBC require vehicles that have been in BC for more than 3 months to have BC registration, insurance and plates?
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:49 AM   #18
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I stand to be corrected but I don't believe that CBSA get little or any training on the BC MV Act and Regs.
I should rephrase: "If HE ACTUALLY BELIEVES the insurance is invalid, and he knowingly lets you drive off without valid insurance, he could be liable for the consequences if anything happens.

I was pulled over once for invalid insurance on my work van, and the cop wouldn't even let me pull around the corner and into a store parking lot - he stated specifically, if he allowed me to move the vehicle, KNOWING that it was uninsured, and I hit someone, HE could be held liable.

Sounds in this case like the CBSA office was either really stupid (actually believed the insurance would be invalid and decided to let the OP proceed anyway), or was just BS'ing like a douche.
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:13 AM   #19
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So I guess I shouldn't proceed with my plans of renting a car in boston and driving up to montreal.....definately don't want the rental car to get siezed.

I guess I'll have to find alternate modes of transportation upto montreal.

Thanks everyone for the help!
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Old 11-08-2011, 04:42 AM   #20
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I wouldn't worry about it... just check the terms of the rental agreement.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:22 PM   #21
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So I guess I shouldn't proceed with my plans of renting a car in boston and driving up to montreal.....definately don't want the rental car to get siezed.

I guess I'll have to find alternate modes of transportation upto montreal.

Thanks everyone for the help!
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I definitely will not take that chance. It's going to be a costly nightmare if your rental gets seized.
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:59 PM   #22
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:51 AM   #23
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According to CBSA
The CBSA Welcomes Travellers to Canada

Quote:
What Can I Bring Into Canada?

You must present and declare all goods upon entry into Canada. It is the traveller's responsibility to know what goods are allowed into Canada, such as food products, alcohol, tobacco and currency. Some goods may be prohibited and/or restricted and may require permits, such as firearms and weapons. Before travelling to Canada, check our Web site for important information.

If you are a Canadian resident, be aware that Canadian legislation places very strict guidelines on temporary importations of vehicles, such as rental cars, into Canada. If you rent a vehicle in the United States and drive to Vancouver, you may be told that your vehicle is inadmissible and turned away at the Canadian border. To learn more about the conditions under which a vehicle can be temporarily imported into Canada, please refer to D Memorandum D2-4-1 (publications and forms section) on the Canada Border Services Agency Web site.
I actually read that memo referred in the quote. It looks like the OP was permitted to bring the rental to Canada because it's an emergency situation: "(c) in the case of a resident other than a commuter, theconveyance is to be imported only for the purpose of transporting his household or personal effects into or out of Canada, or for personal transportation as a result of an emergency or unforeseen contingency;"

In the case of visiting a friend in Montreal, it falls with this. "(e) the conveyance is not to be used in Canada for the purpose of (i) touring or other leisure activity," therefore will not be allowed into Canada.

Hope this post provides more information than a
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Old 11-10-2011, 08:17 AM   #24
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Not exactly "free trade" huh?

This really has nothing to do with the subject, but we should cap the amount of laws on the books. If you want to introduce a new one, you need to get rid of an old one.

This is just one of those things that no one is going to realize, until their car is seized at the border.

And for what? My guess is the intent is to protect the Canadian Auto industry.
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