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Registry of Motor Vehicles - Off-Highway (off-road) Vehicles

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, Nova Scotia residents operating off-highway vehicles on land they do not own or occupy must carry a motor vehicle liability policy.

Coverage required includes third-party liability, accidental benefits and under-insured or non-insured coverage.

The minimum amount of liability insurance required is $500,000 as specified in the Insurance Act.

If you would like more information on off-highway vehicle liability insurance, please visit the Department of Natural Resources website at:

In Nova Scotia, off-highway vehicles include all terrain vehicles, snow vehicles, off-road motorcycles, four-wheel drive or low-tire-pressure vehicles, dune buggy and vehicles or class of vehicles designated by regulation.

These vehicles are important equipment to farmers, woodlot operators, trappers, and others whose jobs require travel over rough terrain. However, the vast majority of them are used for recreation - sometimes by people who lack experience with either the vehicle, the environment, or both.

Off-highway vehicles may be fun, but they are not toys. With a capacity for speeds up to 100 kilometres per hour, these machines can be dangerous in the hands of inexperienced operators.

In addition to the risk of injury, off-highway vehicles can do serious environmental damage, destroy crops, or harm private property. The restrictions placed on the use of off-highway vehicles are intended to lessen the potential for injury or property damage, without depriving responsible operators and their families of the benefits and pleasures of using off-highway vehicles.

All off-highway vehicles required to be registered must display an identifying number plate issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  Revalidation stickers will be issued to verify registration in subsequent years. As with number plates assigned to all vehicles in Nova Scotia, off-highway vehicle plates must be removed by the owner when the vehicle is sold.

Off-highway vehicles may be registered only to persons nineteen years of age or older, or to persons 16 years of age or older with written permission of the parent or guardian. Any operator of the vehicle must have the consent of the registered vehicle owner. As well, the registered owner must ensure the provisions of the Nova Scotia Off-Highway Vehicle Act are followed by anyone operating the vehicle.

Registration procedures for new vehicles can be handled by the dealers. If you purchase a used vehicle, you must get the previous owner's Certificate of Registration and present it to the Registry of Motor Vehicles for transfer of ownership. To register your current vehicle, contact any of the Registry of Motor Vehicle offices or Access Nova Scotia Centres for an application form.

Identification Requirements

How do I register my Off-highway vehicle if I cannot obtain the above documentation?

The first step is to obtain an “Off-Highway Vehicle Registration Form” from any Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office or Access Nova Scotia Centre with RMV services or click here..

The second step is to call your local Department of Natural Resources office or local police to set up an appointment with a peace officer. Take your “Off-Highway Vehicle Registration Form” and your OHV to the confirmed appointment with the peace officer. The peace officer will certify the Vehicle Identification Number and also certify that the vehicle is not stolen

Finally, take the “Off-Highway Vehicle Registration Form” to your local RMV office and complete a declaration which states who you’ve purchased the vehicle from, date of purchase, whether or not any tax was paid, and the purchase price. Your signature on the declaration must be witnessed by a Barrister or a Commissioner of Oaths of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

If you have already paid the tax as part of the purchase transaction, you will have to provide proof of such payment.

The fine/penalty for failing to register an OHV is a minimum of $250.00 to a maximum of $2000.

You are not required to register your Off-highway vehicle if you are:
  • an operator who rides solely on your own property,
  • Status Indian who operates an OHV on communal Reserve land, or
  • person related to a landowner by blood or marriage or a common-law or registered domestic relationship and who ride solely on the related landowner’s property.

EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 2006, as part of the annual off-highway permitting process, an additional $40 will be collected for an Off-highway Vehicle Infrastructure Fund. The fund will be used to fund trail systems and training programs.

Effective July 1, 2009, the annual fee for issuing and/or renewing an off-highway vehicle permit will be $53.20.

However, off-highway vehicles used exclusively for non-recreational use will be exempt from the additional $40 fee. Applicants will be required to submit an “Exemption from Off-highway Vehicles Infrastructure Fund Fee Form” declaring the specific non-recreational use of the vehicle.

Examples of non-recreational use include:

- Riders who operate an off-highway vehicle on private land they own or occupy;

- Persons related by blood or marriage, common-law or registered domestic relationship to a landowner and who ride solely on the related landowner’s property;

- Farmers, fishers and forest workers who use off-highway vehicles only for activities related to their work;

- Employees and self-employed persons (as defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act) who use their vehicles for work-related activities;

- Government employees who use vehicles for work-related duties;

- Peace officers;

- A person operating a golf cart on a public or private golf course

You may obtain an “Exemption from off-Highway Vehicles Infrastructure Fund Fee Form” from any Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office or Access Nova Scotia Centre with RMV services or click here.

For information regarding safety training, age restrictions, areas of use and the Off-Highway Infrastructure Fund click here.

Schedule of Fees:

Certificate of Registration $39.80
Registration Permit $13.20
Annual Registration Permit Renewal $13.20
Annual Off-highway Vehicles Infrastructure Fund Fee $40.00
Transfer Ownership $13.20

Vehicle Registration and Plates Information Index

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