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.
Implementation of mandatory registration and details on safety
regulations has been deferred from June 1, 2015 to November 1, 2015. In
addition, a sticker option will now be available for those ORV owners who prefer
this to a metal plate. 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 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 side-by-sides (e.g.
“Argos”, “Rhinos” and “Razors”).
- Effective November 17, 2014, off-road vehicle owners can obtain a
one-time registration for off-road vehicles that is integrated within
the pre-existing structure of the Insurance Corporation of British
Columbia’s (ICBC) motor vehicle registry. For more details, please refer
to the following news release.
- To provide plenty of notice and allow for a smooth transition, the
new registration system is currently voluntary for operation on Crown
land, but will become mandatory on November 1, 2015.
- 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.
- The improved ORV registration scheme, along
with a visible number plate (or sticker), 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 will be implemented by ICBC and over 900 brokers across
To find a broker near you, visit the
ICBC web site.
- As with other vehicles, proof of ownership and payment of applicable taxes must be provided at time of registration.
- For detailed information on Provincial Sales Tax see the Ministry of
notice to off-road vehicle owners.
- The 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 in
fall of 2015, coinciding with the onset of mandatory registration. 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 2015 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 Regulation allow off-road vehicle operators greater
access to highways, including the ability to:
- Cross a highway without having to obtain an operation permit if the
crossing is controlled by a stop sign or traffic light.
- Travel on any highway anywhere local police authorize within the limits
set out in an operation permit.
- Load or unload in a parking lot without an operation permit.
- Obtain an operation permit with an extended term of up to two years.
- 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:
snowmobile operator may cross a ploughed Forest Service Road if they have a
valid driver’s license, $200,000 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.
- In terms of other types of ORVs, the status quo insurance
requirement on a Forest Service Road continues to apply, such as a
valid driver’s license, wearing a helmet and having a minimum of
$200,000 in third party liability insurance.
- Improved road/highway crossings continue to be 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.
- All ORVs are required to have spark arrestors to meet requirements under
Wildfire Act regulations.
- The details of use and safety standards are prescribed by
regulation under the ORV Act and is targeted for implementation in
fall 2015. Final decisions on these aspects of the legislation have not been
made. The Province continues to consult with over 20 provincial
stakeholders, such as the BC Wildlife Federation, ATV BC, UBCM,the BC
Snowmobile Federation and the Canadian Off Highway Vehicle Distributers
Council, on the details to ensure we get it right.
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Phone: 250 356-5261