The SVAO: Dedicated to the protection and preservation of Specialty Vehicles
SVAO meets with MTO on kit car / home builds, issue


SVAO Report:


Based on an inquiry to the Specialty Vehicle Association of Ontario, we have been doing some research on potential problems for anyone intending to build and register a kit car in Ontario.  The main trouble spots are in the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Reference Handbook for the Passenger / Light-Duty Vehicle Inspection Standards which were issued in October of 2015. 

The MTO has, as in the past, stated that a new kit / home-built vehicle must be registered as the model year in which it was completed, hence any such vehicle completed now would be registered as a 2017 model.  One problem lies in the fact that, by federal regulation, any light duty vehicle built after September 01, 2011 must have an Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system.  MTO has adopted this requirement for a Safety Standards Certificate inspection, and they insist that it applies to all vehicles built since then with no exceptions, factory built or home-built.  Due to the complexity of these ESC systems, adapting such a system to a kit cars or a home-built car would be almost impossible, resulting in such cars not being licensed in Ontario.   

After a good deal of e-mail correspondence as well as telephone calls across Canada by all concerned, the SVAO finally arranged a meeting with Ministry of Transportation officials to discuss this issue, and May 30th saw the SVAO meet with an MTO team at their offices in St. Catharines.  Present were Chris Whillans, SVAO chairman, Andy Soutar, SVAO advisor, and MTO officials including a senior vehicle standards engineer, a senior enforcement program advisor, as well as another senior vehicle standards engineer who joined by tele-conferencing from Toronto.

After preliminary introductions we outlined SVAO’s concerns about the potential problems for hobbyists with this perceived need for an Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system on all new kit / home-builds as outlined in the Handbook. The MTO officials offered the reasoning behind the ESC clause and a free roaming period of questions and answers followed.

Our position was that the ESC requirement was too restrictive for kit/home-built cars and would prevent the licensing of such vehicles despite their limited use and good maintenance.  After an hour and a half of healthy discussion, the MTO officials agreed to consider our concerns.  While they were clear there is little likelihood of the Handbook being rewritten any time soon (since it has only been out for a very short time), they agreed that perhaps a “clarification” or “interpretation” of the wording of the ESC section in the Handbook might resolve the issue.  This will require the approval of executives higher up in the MTO structure, and they will pursue this approach. 

The SVAO was also able to bring up some other areas of concern regarding the Handbook and put forth the specialty vehicles’ community points of view which the MTO officials noted.  All in all, a good deal of information and ideas were exchanged at this meeting which hopefully will lead to some positive changes.  The SVAO will keep our web page updated as news comes out.

SVAO Urges Caution on Kit / Home Builds


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Province of Ontario Kit Car Registration Requirements (download .pdf)

SVAO Alert:

Based on a recent inquiry to the Specialty Vehicle Association of Ontario, we have been doing some research on potential problems for anyone intending to build and register a kit car in Ontario.

Briefly put, the problem seems to be in the MTO’s interpretation of the Reference Handbook for the Passenger / Light-Duty Vehicle Inspection Standards which were issued in July of 2015.  The MTO has, as in the past, stated that a new kit / home build must be registered as the model year in which it was completed.  Hence any such vehicle completed now would be registered as a 2017.

That in of itself shouldn’t be a problem as mandated things like side marker lights, back up light requirements, etc. are build problems which can be surmounted.  The problem lies in the fact that by federal regulation, any vehicle built since September of 2011 must have an (ESC) Electronic Stability Control system.  The new Ontario regulations’ handbook states this applies to all vehicles with no exceptions.

It hardly seems fair to expect the home builder to have the capabilities to design, install, set up and calibrate all of the high tech systems found in today’s vehicles.  Other systems also include ABS brakes, collision avoidance technology, anti-upset systems, etc.  Where will it end?

At this point in time the Specialty Vehicle Association of Ontario has started preliminary discussions with the MTO, but we have received nothing as yet to indicate to us that the MTO is at all concerned with this problem.  Thus the SVAO is issuing an alert to all prospective new kit / home build owners to be aware of this problematic registration problem before investing heavily in your kit / home build.

The SVAO will be adding information as it becomes available to its website www.svao.org

The whole specialty vehicle community needs to be warned and be aware that this may need political action to solve it.  If the provincial government can do this to the newly built kit or home builds, is it possible that they will consider going after the older vehicles, especially ones that have been modified?
UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL!

Chris Whillans,
SVAO Chairman
(905) 649 – 2664

 

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