FAQ for MTO

Mandatory Vehicle Branding Program
(Mandatory Stolen and Salvage Vehicle Program)
FAQs for MTO website

General

1. What is the mandatory vehicle branding program?

The mandatory vehicle branding program is a road safety initiative that has been designed to enhance road user safety, better protect consumers in the used vehicle market, and reduce vehicle registration fraud and theft. The program, which has been voluntary in the past, is now becoming a mandatory one.

This program requires insurers and others (including self-insurers, auctioneers, importers, salvagers and individuals) to "brand" vehicles that are severely damaged and declared a total loss* ("write-offs") and report those brands to the Ministry of Transportation's Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

*Link to definition of total loss

*(A total loss vehicle is a vehicle that has been damaged by collision, impact, fire or flood, or has been stolen and dismantled, such that the estimated cost of repairing it exceeds the difference between the fair market value of the vehicle immediately before it was damaged or stolen and its salvage value. "Salvage value" means the value of a damaged vehicle that is legitimately recoverable through commercial means of disposal.)

2. What does vehicle "branding" mean?

Vehicle "branding" refers to the process whereby the Ministry of Transportation assigns an identifier in the ministry's Vehicle Registration System (VRS) computer database to classify the condition of a vehicle.

The vehicle "branding" process more accurately identifies the condition/status of severely damaged vehicles. The brands are included in the vehicle registration file and, with the exception of the "stolen" flag, are printed on registration permits, vehicle histories, and Used Vehicle Information Packages. These items can be purchased from any Driver and Vehicle License Issuing Office or ServiceOntario self-service kiosk.

The Used Vehicle Information Package has recently been enhanced to include not only the vehicle brand, but also their definitions such as "Irreparable", "Salvage" and "Rebuilt".


3. Why is the mandatory vehicle branding program required?

It is required because although approximately 90,000 vehicles are written off by insurance companies, each year in Ontario, many of these "write-offs" find their way back onto Ontario roads illegally or are sold to unsuspecting consumers. The vehicles may be severely damaged and unsafe to drive.

4. When will the mandatory vehicle branding program be in effect?

The mandatory vehicle branding program will be in effect as of March 31, 2003. Any vehicles written off as of March 31, 2003 that meet the regulatory criteria must be branded.

5. What will the vehicle branding program do?

The vehicle branding program will make it more difficult to put stolen and damaged vehicles on Ontario roads, will enhance road user safety and better protect consumers in the used vehicle market.

As a result of this program, vehicles that can never be adequately repaired for on-road use will not be put back onto Ontario roads (known as "Irreparable" vehicles) and vehicles that may be rebuilt (known as "Salvage" vehicles) may be reconstructed and then inspected according to strict regulatory criteria. If "Salvage" vehicles pass an inspection and are deemed safe to go back on the road, then the brand is changed to "Rebuilt".

Only those written off vehicles that fall under the mandatory vehicle branding program registered with the brand of "Rebuilt" will be allowed back onto Ontario roads.

6. What triggers a vehicle brand?

A vehicle must be declared as a total loss* ("write-off") as the first trigger to be included in the Mandatory Vehicle Branding Program.

The vehicle must then meet the definition of either "Irreparable" or "Salvage" to be branded.

*Link to definition of total loss on website:

*(A total loss vehicle is a vehicle that has been damaged by collision, impact, fire or flood, or has been stolen and dismantled, such that the estimated cost of repairing it exceeds the difference between the fair market value of the vehicle immediately before it was damaged or stolen and its salvage value. "Salvage value" means the value of a damaged vehicle that is legitimately recoverable through commercial means of disposal.)

7. What are the different types of vehicle brands?

There are four different types of vehicle brands that fall under the mandatory vehicle branding program. They are:

"Irreparable" - a vehicle that can be used for parts or scrap only. This vehicle can never be driven in Ontario.
"Salvage" - a vehicle that can be repaired and is subject to inspection criteria approval.
"Rebuilt" - a vehicle that has been previously branded as "salvage" but has been rebuilt and inspected in accordance with regulatory criteria.
"None" - is applied to all vehicles in Ontario that have not been assigned a brand. This does not mean the vehicle was never given a brand in another jurisdiction, or that it was not rebuilt in Ontario prior to the mandatory vehicle branding program.

For Highway Traffic Act definitions, see Ontario Regulation 376/02*.

*Link to Regulation 376/02

8. Are any vehicles exempt from the mandatory vehicle branding program?

Yes, the following vehicles are exempt from the mandatory vehicle branding program:

Trailers, traction engines, farm tractors, road-building machines, bicycles, motor assisted bicycles, motorized snow vehicles, street cars and motorcycles (other than motorcycles* that are irreparable) or motor vehicles with a model year of 1980 or earlier.

*Link to explanation as to why motorcycles included for "Irreparable" category.

*( Motorcycles are included under the "Irreparable" category where there is frame
damage requiring replacement. Motorcycles are susceptible to fraudulent
registration much more readily than an automobile. Requiring an "Irreparable"
brand to be affixed to heavily damaged motorcycles will allow for tracking of
resale parts. This will assist law enforcement agencies to reduce motorcycle
theft or the laundering of stolen motorcycle parts). 

Reporting

9. Who determines the vehicle brand?

Insurance companies, self-insurers, importers, salvagers, auctioneers or anyone who deals in second hand motor vehicles are required to determine whether a severely damaged vehicle is "Irreparable" or "Salvage" (based on the new standard under the mandatory vehicle branding program).

Individual vehicle owners who do not receive a claim settlement through their insurance company for a severely damaged vehicle must have the brand determined by an authorized mechanic in a Type 6 Motor Vehicle Inspection Station*.

The vehicle brands must be reported to the Ministry of Transportation where they will be added to the Vehicle Registration System computer database.

*Link to definition of Type 6 Motor Vehicle Inspection Station

* (A Type 6 Motor Vehicle Inspection Station* (MVIS) is a collision repair facility that is licensed by the Ministry of Transportation and employs registered and certified mechanics who are able to assess the structural integrity of a vehicle.

A list of Type 6 Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations* may be found on the MTO public website or you may call MTO's Toronto Call Centre at 416-235-2999 or
1-800-387-3445. For French enquiries, please call 1-800-461-4803).

*Link to list of Type 6 stations

10. When should the vehicle brand be reported?

Insurers must report the vehicle brand to the Ministry of Transportation within six days after acquiring ownership of the severely damaged vehicle or 14 days after the date on which the insurer settles the claim but does not acquire ownership of the vehicle.

Self-insurers must report vehicle brands to the Ministry of Transportation within six days after the date of the incident.

Individuals or organizations with 9 vehicles or less must notify the Registrar within:
26 days if no brand has been applied and the person:
odoes not have insurance
odoes have insurance but the damage is not covered by the policy
odoes have insurance but a claim is not paid within 25 days.

A person, other than an insurer, including an importer, salvager or
auctioneer, who buys, sells, wrecks or otherwise deals in used
vehicles, must report vehicle brands to MTO within six days of acquiring ownership of the vehicle.

11. How should the vehicle brand be reported?

Vehicle brands must be reported to the Ministry of Transportation on a specific Notification of Vehicle Brand* form. These forms are available at any Ministry Office, Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, or on the Ministry of Transportation's website.

*Link to Form

Enforcement

12. What if a vehicle brand is not reported to the Ministry of Transportation?

If your vehicle is involved in a collision, is severely damaged, and meets the prescribed branding criteria, you are required by law to have the vehicle branded and reported to the Ministry of Transportation. A person who fails to notify the ministry is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of $400.00 up to $20,000.00.

Out-of-Province Vehicles

13. My vehicle has a brand in another jurisdiction. Now I want to register it in Ontario. What will happen?

Vehicle brand information from other Canadian or US jurisdictions will be carried forward when these vehicles are registered in Ontario with the exception of the "Rebuilt" brand. Imported vehicles with a Rebuilt designation or its equivalent from other Canadian or US jurisdictions will be registered as "Salvage" in Ontario thus requiring them to undergo a structural inspection to ensure that the vehicle has been properly repaired before being branded as "Rebuilt" in Ontario.

Reassembled Vehicle/Vehicle Status

14. What is a reassembled vehicle?

A reassembled motor vehicle means a motor vehicle assembled using the body of a motor vehicle with a model year of 1981 or later and the chassis frame assembly of another motor vehicle, both of which were manufactured utilizing a full frame assembly as part of the vehicle's structure.

A full frame vehicle is a vehicle that utilizes a separate frame that extends from the front to the rear of the vehicle to support the body and chassis components.

Under the mandatory vehicle branding program, reassembled vehicles will be branded as 'Salvage' and will be required to undergo a structural inspection as well as a safety inspection before being registered as fit.

Stolen Vehicles

15. My vehicle has been stolen. What should I do?

If your vehicle is stolen it is important to notify the police. The Ministry of Transportation is notified by police when vehicles have been stolen and all vehicle transactions involving stolen vehicles are blocked on the Ministry's Vehicle Registration System computer database. This includes the production of information products (e.g. vehicle abstracts).

Scenarios

16. Is "Stolen" a vehicle brand?

No, "Stolen" is not a vehicle brand. "Stolen" is the status of the vehicle and can only be removed when the ministry is advised by the police that the vehicle has been recovered.

17. Can I legally drive an "Irreparable" or "Salvage" vehicle on Ontario
roads?

No, if your vehicle is branded as "Salvage" you cannot drive your vehicle on the road. However, a "Salvage" vehicle can be towed for the purposes of repairs or for the purposes of receiving a Safety Standards Certificate.

If you want to drive your "Salvage" vehicle it must be upgraded to a "Rebuilt" brand which can only be done if it has passed a strict structural inspection and passed a safety inspection so that it can be registered for on-road use.

Vehicles branded as "Irreparable" can never be driven on Ontario's roads and can only be used for parts or scrap.

18. How can I change the brand on my vehicle from "Salvage" to "Rebuilt"?

The vehicle must have successfully passed an inspection in accordance with the
requirements in Ontario's Regulation 611 of the HTA and have been issued a
Structural Inspection Certificate (SIC). The owner must then submit the SIC and
registration permit to a Ministry of Transportation licensing office. Once accepted
and approved, the "Salvage" brand will be changed to "Rebuilt". This process
helps ensure that damaged vehicles are repaired to meet minimum prescribed
standards before being allowed back on the road.

Once the "Rebuilt" brand is placed on the vehicle registration file, a Safety Standards Certificate must be obtained in the same manner from any Motor Vehicle Inspection Station in order for the vehicle to be declared "fit". The vehicle may then be plated and legally operated once it has been provided with a drive clean certificate (if required).

19. Does the ministry still recognize "WRK" status?

Yes, a vehicle that is in the possession of a wrecker or recycler that has no
additional value as a motor vehicle and has been shredded, crushed or baled
qualifies for a "WRK" status. All other vehicles will be unfit and may or
may not be branded depending on their condition. Vehicles that receive the
WRK status will automatically be branded "Irreparable".
				

OUTSIDE OF ONTARIO "REBUILT" VEHICLES

If a vehicle is to be inspected is registered in any state of the United States or any Canadian jurisdiction outside of Ontario, is banded "REBUILT" or an equivalent to "REBUILT", this vehicle will become "SALVAGE" in Ontario. For structural inspection purposes, the following documents need not be supplied:

1) Colour photographs taken before the rebuilding showing all sides of the vehicle

2) Insurance company estimate of repairs

3) A statement of total loss from insurer or other

4) Address of rebuilder

5) Bill of sale

Note:The requirement that all welds be free of undercoating is waived

Successful completion of the structural inspection will permit the vehicle to be branded as "REBUILT" in Ontario
The vehicle will still require successful completion of an inspection for purposes of a Safety Standards Certificate and for a Drive Clean emissions certificate as applicable, before license plates can be issued.


"REASSEMBLED" VEHICLES

If the vehicle to be inspected is a "REASSEMBLED" vehicle, the following need not be provided:

1) Insurance company estimate of repairs

2) Total loss statement from insurer or other

3) Photographs of the vehicle prior to re-assembly if the Director receives photos in sufficient numbers to display all of the manor components used in the re-assembly of the vehicle.

Note: Inspection of REASSEMBLED vehicles is only for full frame vehicles.

Successful completion of the structural inspection 
will permit the vehicle to be branded as "REBUILT" with a pink/purple colored registration permit. The vehicle will still require successful completion of an inspection for purposes of a Safety Standards Certificate and for a Drive Clean emissions certificate as applicable, before license plates can be issued.