Canadian Federal Legislation (Exporting a Canadian Vehicle) 2021

Vehicles registered or domiciled in Canada Vehicles 50 years old or older.

This information may help any person contemplating selling their collector vehicle outside of Canada. Canadian Federal legislation may affect the ability to do just that!  The National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation is often consulted by the Federal Government in these matters

Exporting Canadian Vehicles over 50 years old — When you should apply for an Export Permit under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act for land vehicles that are more than 50 years old

The export permit process under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act (Act) helps protect important examples of Canada’s culture and heritage. Not having a permit when one is required contravenes the Act and could result in penalties for the exporter.

Antique automobiles (not including kit cars or replicas), motorcycles, etc. (or their components) require a cultural property export permit to leave Canada if they meet specific criteria under Group VI (Scientific or Technological Objects) of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Control List (Control List) as a “machine”.

Exceptions

No permit is required for cars and motorcycles being exported:

  • on a temporary basis for personal use; or
  • for a manufacturing, industrial or commercial use, i.e. they are not being acquired for a private or public collection.

The Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) is responsible for administering the export permit process in collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

It is the exporter’s responsibility to determine whether a permit is required based on the following questionnaire. Written confirmation from PCH is not required.

  1. Is the object more than 50 years old?
    If yes, continue to step 2).
    If no, no permit is required.
  2. Does the object meet the definition of a “machine” as set out in the Control List? A machine is defined as: A contrivance that is used in the performance of some kind of work or activity and that consists of inter-related parts and uses any source of energy including animal power, manpower, air, water, light, steam, gravity, friction, combustion or electricity, but does not include scrap metal intended for industrial purposes;
    If yes, continue to step 3).
    If no, no permit is required.
  3. Is the machine intended to be used for a manufacturing, industrial or commercial purpose?
    If yes, no permit is required.
    If no, continue to step 4).
  4. Was the machine made, designed or invented in Canada, or made, designed or invented outside of Canada by a person who normally lived in Canada, and has a fair market value in Canada of more than $3000?
    If yes, apply for a permit.
    If no, continue to step 5).
  5. For a machine made outside of Canada, does it relate to the development of technology (see examples below) in Canada and have a fair market value in Canada of more than $5000?
    If yes, apply for a permit.
    If no, continue to step 6).
  6. For a machine made outside of Canada, does it relate to the development of technology (see examples below) in general and have a fair market value in Canada of more than $8000?
    If yes, apply for a permit.
    If no, no permit is required.

Definition of “relating to the development of technology” for machines made outside of Canada

Only model years that introduced an innovative, ground-breaking technological feature that led to technological developments in Canada, or influenced the automotive industry as a whole are considered to relate to the development of technology. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Henry Ford’s 1932 one-piece V8 engine, which was also the first to be mass-produced;
  • Oldsmobile’s 1940 introduction of the Hydra-Matic transmission;
  • Hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension, patented by France’s Paul Magès in 1954;
  • Chevrolet’s industry-first 1955 small block engine;
  • other developments that impacted the automotive industry as a whole

For guidance

If, after reviewing the above information and the questionnaire, you are still not sure whether you must apply for an export permit,                                                                                                                 you may contact PCH by email at: pch.bcm-mcp.pch@canada.ca  
To assist with our assessment your request should include all of the following – the vehicle’s:

  • year, make, model, serial no or identification number (VIN), place of manufacture and Canadian dollar value.

No photographs or supporting documentation need be included with your request. Please allow five business days to receive a response from PCH.

Points to consider

  • If a permit is required, the application must be made by a resident of Canada.
  • CBSA will issue the permit automatically (within two business days) if the vehicle:
    • is being exported for a period of less than five years for one of the following reasons:
      • appraisal, authentication, conservation, exhibition, on loan, processing, research, restoration or repair, as personal effects; or
    • has been in Canada, or was imported into Canada within the 35 years preceding the permit application date.
  • In all other cases, CBSA will seek a recommendation from an Expert Examiner either to issue or refuse the permit based on an assessment of the vehicle’s outstanding significance and national importance to Canada.

More detailed information about the permit application process is available in the Guide to Exporting Cultural Property from Canada.

Contact us

Movable Cultural Property (Export and Import)
Heritage Policy and Programs Directorate
Department of Canadian Heritage
25 Eddy Street, 9th Floor (25-9-P)
Gatineau, QC K1A 0M5