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
The ORV Management Framework helped lend direction to a number of
amendments to B.C. laws. This culminated on March 24, 2014 when Bill 13, the
Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Act, received Royal Assent. The ORV Act promises
certainty, safety and regulatory structure for thousands of off-road
The 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 provides specific rules governing British Columbia’s
growing off-road sector, and helps ensure these vehicles are driven in a safe
and environmentally responsible manner. For more details, please refer to the
Along with other key legislation, including the Motor Vehicle Act, and
the Forest and Range Practices Act, the 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 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”),
motorcycles (i.e. dirt bikes) and utility terrain vehicles (e.g.
“Argos”, “Rhinos” and “Razors”).
- Registration under the ORV Act has been aligned with the
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 assists in
search and rescue efforts in finding lost or injured riders.
- Implementation of the new registration system is targeted for
fall 2014 and will be implemented by ICBC and over 900 brokers across
- The proposed Off-Road Vehicle Act requires 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.
- Measures 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 snowmobiles, ATVs, off-road motorcycles and utility terrain vehicles.
- Compliance and Enforcement:
- The Off-Road Vehicle Act provides 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 wetlands.
- The Off-Road Vehicle Act also gives officers the ability to
stop, inspect and, where appropriate, seize ORVs for safety or evidence
purposes. The maximum fine for offences has increased from $500 to
up to $5,000.
- 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 of
public roads and highways at designated locations. Recent updates in
support of the Off-Road Vehicle Framework include:
- 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 network.
- 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 are
prescribed by regulation under the ORV Act. Final decisions have not
been made. The Province continues to consult with over 20 provincial
stakeholders, such as ATV BC, UBCM and the BC Snowmobile Federation, on
the details to ensure we get it right.
- Implementation of the new laws will begin in fall 2014.
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Phone: 250 356-5261