Registration for off-road vehicles - including snowmobiles and 4-wheelers - became mandatory Nov. 1

Registration for off-road vehicles - including snowmobiles and 4-wheelers - became mandatory Nov. 1

Canadian Taxpayers Federation blasts province over off-road vehicle registration

B.C. director says the fee and regulations for off-road vehicles has gone “too far.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is criticizing the provincial government over its off-road vehicle (ORV) registration.

Registration for off-road vehicles – including snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes – became mandatory on Nov. 1, 2015. The combined cost of the number plate and registration fee is $48.

“A $48 licence fee is just the start,” said Jordan Bateman, B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, in a recent Huffington Post article. “To get the paperwork in order, one has to do a vehicle identification number search and pay a notary public to sign off on it.”

In the article, Bateman explained that the owner often has to pay back taxes on the ORV – a 12 per cent provincial sales tax (PST) on the purchase price of their machine, even if they bought it five years ago. In addition, owners have to buy a liability insurance policy for every vehicle.

“For some people, that adds up to thousands of dollars,” said Bateman in the Huffington Post article. “For a government that prides itself on holding the line on taxes and cutting red tape, the B.C. Liberals have sure blundered on their new ORV tax and licensing scheme.”

Bateman said that although ORV licensing may be here to stay, the B.C. government can make things better by waiving the requirement for people to pay PST on items they’ve owned for years.

“And they should carry through on their promise to allocate all of the money collected to trail maintenance and development and things that benefit the people paying the tax and licence fee.”

Bateman added that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation had foreseen the “bureaucratic headache” of ORV registration when it was first proposed. In a 2013 press release, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation encouraged taxpayers to write their local MLAs and ask them to rethink the ORV regulation.

The changes to ORV registration were made possible by the passage of the off-road vehicle act on March 24, 2014, supporting the province’s off-road vehicle management framework. The regulations govern the rules of operation, safety standards, penalties and conditions of use for a wide range of ORVs.

Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, said off-road vehicle registration helps combat vehicle theft and promote responsible use of ORVs.

“The new safety standards will help keep ORV users safe in B.C.’s backcountry,” he said in 2015.

An estimated 200,000 off-road vehicles are used in the province.