Off Road Vehicle Act—What it Means for Local Governments

As implementation moves forward on the new Off Road Vehicle Act (ORV Act), UBCM seeks member direction on the potential application of the new Act to private lands owned by local government.

First, any authority granted to local governments under section 4(3) and (4) of the Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Act ended when this Act was repealed with the new ORV Act. This means that any local government bylaws relying on the old Act ceased to have any legal authority, and the bylaws are no longer effective.

Second, the ORV Act and ORV Regulation applies to prescribed classes of ORVs used or operated on provincial Crown land and prescribed private lands. Crown land includes resource roads and leased lands. There are no prescribed classes of private land at this time.

ORV Act & Private Lands Owned by Local Governments

Many elected officials and staff participating in UBCM’s ORV Local Government Working Group have expressed a strong interest in adding to the ORV Act private lands owned by local governments.

Discussions with local governments over the past few years have identified several key benefits of applying the ORV Act to these private lands:

  • A modern vehicle registration scheme will:
    • support search and rescue efforts to find lost or injured riders, in cases where an abandoned ORV is found first;
    • assist officers to identify irresponsible ORV riders that endanger others, harm animals or damage property (e.g. sensitive habitat); and
    • improve tracking of stolen ORVs, using ORV registry data from ICBC.
  • Standard baseline ORV use and safety laws will apply to the ORV riding public, whether they ride on lands owned by the Province or by a local government.
  • Officers will be authorized to stop, inspect and, where appropriate, seize ORVs for safety or evidence purposes.
  • Under the ORV Act, officers may issue violation tickets directly to irresponsible ORV riders (for example, a ticket and $115 fine for riding on private land without the owner’s consent). Previously, under the Trespass Act, enforcement was only achievable by taking an irresponsible ORV rider to court.
  • Upon conviction, the maximum fine for each offence has increased from $500 to $5,000, and certain offences (e.g. careless operation) include up to six months in jail.
  • Fines for violation tickets have increased:
    • $86 to $288 for using or operating an ORV in such a manner as to harass, run over, injure or kill wildlife, livestock or a domestic animal;
    • $115 to $368 for using or operating an ORV in a careless, reckless or negligent manner that may endanger or cause injury to persons or damage to property; and
    • $58 to $230 for using or operating an unregistered ORV.
  • Under Section 26 of the Motor Vehicle Act, ICBC may, without a hearing, refuse to issue a driver's licence or vehicle licence to a person convicted under the ORV Act who has failed to pay the associated fine.

UBCM seeks local government feedback on whether private lands owned by BC local governments should be included by regulation under the ORV Act.

Further Information

Find information about regulation of ORVs in BC on the ORV Management Framework website of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Feedback regarding private lands owned by BC local governments, as well as questions about the UBCM ORV Local Government Working Group, may be directed to Marie Crawford, Associate Executive Director, UBCM, tel: (604) 270-8226 ext. 104.

Questions about the ORV Act and its implementation may be directed to Vera Vukelich, Manager of Land Policy and Programs, with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Of interest:

ICBC has informed us that of the estimated 200,000 ORVs in BC, 64,735 ORVs registered under the ORV Act between November 17, 2014 and February 29, 2016. This translates to ATVs at 65% (41,824), snowmobiles at 25% (16,424), off-road motorcycles at 7% (4,771) and side-by-sides at 3% (1,716).

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