February 14th, 2016

Register or Die! New ORV Act

Okay fine, you won’t die, but as of November 1, 2015 there is a new registration system for all off-road vehicles (ORVs) in BC and it is mandatory. If you fail to register your off-road vehicle, you could be ticketed and/or charged with an offense.

FYI, 41,478 ORVs have been voluntarily registered under the Off-Road Vehicle Act between November 17, 2014 and October 31, 2015. Of these, 78% (32,317) have been all-terrain vehicles, 12%  (5,045) were snowmobiles, 6.5% (2,764) were off-road motorcycles, and 3.5% (1,352) have been side-by-sides.



Believe it or not, conservation and police officers are taking snowmobile clinics, avalanche courses and snowmobile operator safety courses, not just because it’s the safe thing to do, but because they know it’s a rapidly growing sport that needs monitoring. People are getting out in the mountains to enjoy what this beautiful planet has to offer and we can only hope they are taking care of the pristine environments they visit. Unfortunately, some people are not. People’s sleds break down and they are left in the backcountry to “rot”, but metal and plastic don’t rot, remember? People are shooting guns and leaving their spent shells on the ground. People are drinking and riding which endangers others around them. The new ORV registration laws will increase the ability of authorities to pursue certain bad apples who are caught or reported breaking the law.

Since the 1970s in BC, it has been mandatory for snowmobiles to be registered & display that ugly yellow sticker, but now all off-road vehicles must follow the same rules. ATVs, dirt bikes, and side-by-sides are all included. BC is actually one of the last provinces in Canada to put this rule into place and you have the option to use a 5×8 metal plate or (thanks to pushback by the BCSF) a 4×7 decal sticker.

Alberta has registration laws too. If you’re from Alberta, or any other province, and ride in BC you’ll be required to have a registered ORV. In BC, it is a one-time registration fee per vehicle of $48.00, unless there is a transfer of ownership, in which the ORV must be registered again under the new owner. They say this $48 is actually to pay back the capital costs that ICBC incurred to upgrade the system to handle ORV’s and once that capital cost is paid back, a portion of that fee will be set aside into a trail fund to help all power sports users.



• You can cross highways/roads without getting in trouble (only if you have liability and
highway insurance – which is not part of the registration, and only at controlled crossings)

• Better assists officers in identifying irresponsible riders

• In BC it’s a one time registration fee (unlike many provinces where it’s yearly)

• It may help track down stolen ORVs

• It might assist search and rescue efforts in finding lost or injured riders

• Helps protect the environment by allowing others to report bad apples

• You get a choice of either a sticker or metal plate to display registration



• “Money grab” – some controversy here; a lot of people are quoting this. It’s especially hard on those with many units to register.



– Julie-Ann