Off-Road Vehicle Management Framework
The Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Management Framework was launched in 2009, with
the goal of establishing comprehensive rules for off-road vehicle use in British
Columbia. The Framework was developed in collaboration with a wide range of
The ORV Management Framework helped lend direction to a number of amendments
to B.C. laws. This culminated on February 24, 2014 when Bill 13, the
Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Act, was introduced in the legislature. The proposed
ORV Act promises certainty, safety and regulatory structure for thousands of
The proposed ORV Act replaces the 40-year-old Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Act
with a modern management structure, designed to align with existing regulatory
regimes at minimal cost. It will provide specific rules governing British
Columbia’s growing off-road sector, and will help ensure these vehicles are
driven in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. For more details,
please refer to the following
Along with other key legislation, including the Motor Vehicle Act, and the
Forest and Range Practices Act, the proposed Off Road Vehicle Act is
essential to the effective implementation of the ORV Management Framework.
Key components of the ORV Management Framework include:
- Expanded definition of ORVs:
- ORV laws will apply to a wide range of vehicles operated on Crown land and
other public lands.
- ORVs are used for work, leisure and commuting purposes and
include snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (aka “Quads”), off road motorcycles
(i.e. dirt bikes) and utility terrain vehicles (e.g. “Argos”, “Rhinos” and
- Registration under the
proposed ORV Act has been aligned with the Motor Vehicle Act to help keep costs
low for the systems upgrade.
- The registration fee is
one-time and user-pay; it will be $48 for an ORV owner to register their ORV and
the same applies for subsequent transfers of ownership.
- Once in place, the improved
ORV registration scheme, along with a visible number plate, will better assist
officers in identifying irresponsible ORV riders, help track down stolen ORVs
and assist in search and rescue efforts in finding lost or injured riders.
- Implementation of the new
registration system is scheduled for fall 2014 and will be implemented by ICBC
and over 900 brokers across BC.
- If passed, the proposed Off-Road Vehicle Act will require all ORV riders to
wear a safety helmet and use lights for low-visibility conditions. Regulations
defining specific helmet and light design for individual types of vehicles will
be defined in regulations to follow as early as fall 2014. Other regulations for
additional safety measures are being developed in consultation with key
stakeholder associations. Measures will include:
- Seatbelts will be required to be worn, where installed by the manufacturer.
For example, on side-by-side vehicles such as utility terrain vehicles.
to better protect youth, including mandatory adult supervision, and
appropriately-sized machines for age and weight of youth operators.
- By fall 2014 at the earliest, the safety provisions will apply to the
remaining types of ORVs such as ATVs, off road motorcycles and utility terrain
- Compliance and Enforcement:
- The proposed Off Road Vehicle Act will have improved enforcement tools to
better assist officers in addressing irresponsible ORV riders that endanger
others, harm animals or damage sensitive habitat such as grasslands and
- The proposed Off Road Vehicle Act will also give officers the ability
to stop, inspect and, where appropriate, seize ORVs for safety or evidence
purposes. The maximum fine for offences will also be increased from $500 to up
- A key element of the ORV Management Framework is the provincial
approach to compliance and enforcement that is underway with the broader
resource management sector.
- Public Road/Highway Crossings:
- All ORVs used for work, leisure or commuting purposes will be able to safely
and more conveniently cross or traverse portions public roads and highways at
designated locations. Recent updates in support of the Off Road Vehicle
- Amendments to the Motor
Vehicle Act Regulations (December 2011): Snowmobile operators no longer need to
obtain a police-issued operation permit if making a direct crossing across a
highway where there is a stop sign or traffic control signal. All other
Motor Vehicle Act requirements on highways have not changed. When in doubt, ORV
operators should contact local law enforcement to inquire about whether an
operation permit is required.
- Amendments to the Forest
Service Road Use Regulation (October 2012): a snowmobile operator may cross a
ploughed Forest Service Road if they have a valid driver’s license, third party
liability insurance, and both the driver and passenger must wear a helmet. In
addition, the snowmobile operator must yield the right of way to other traffic,
exercise due care and attention and take reasonable precautions for the safety
of other persons using the Forest Service Road.
- Improved road/highway crossings are being implemented in stages. These
crossings will connect our rural communities and support a world-class ORV trail
- The Forest and Range
Practices Act and Forest Practices and Planning Regulation were amended in 2007
to add penalties for irresponsible ORV operators that damage sensitive habitat.
- Amendments to the Wildfire
Act Regulations are also under consideration that would create a requirement for
spark arrestors to help prevent forest fires.
- The details of
registration, use and safety standards will be prescribed by regulation under
the proposed ORV Act. Final decisions have not been made. The Province continues
to consult with over 20 provincial stakeholders, such as ATV BC and the BC
Snowmobile Federation, on the details to ensure we get it right.
- If the ORV Act is passed,
implementation of the new laws will begin as early as fall 2014.
Ministry of Forests,
Lands and Natural Resource Operations