7 Things You Need to Know Right Now About Towing a Recreational Trailer in BC

You’ve got the boat and trailer (or a fifth wheel straight from heaven) and you’re ready to hit the road…

Wait!  Do you know everything there is to know about travelling on BC’s beautiful highways with a recreational trailer in tow? No?

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when you head out on the highway with your RV combination.

  • Know how heavy your load is. Most recreational trailers weigh less than 4,600 kg. If your trailer weighs under 4,600 kg (fully loaded), your Class 5 or 7 licence is all you need. If your load is over 4,600 kg fully loaded and you hold a Class 4 or 5 licence, you need to get a house trailer endorsement or hold a different class licence.
  • Understand your vehicle towing requirements. Your vehicle owner’s manual will tell you the maximum weight your vehicle can tow. Do not exceed this amount as it will put you, your trailer and others at risk. Most manufacturers have trailer towing packages including: type of engine, transmission (heavy duty), cooling systems, axles and suspension, power brakes, steering, tires, mirrors, electrical system and more. Make sure your truck is equipped for the trailer you intend to tow. Have more questions? Here’s what the CVSE wants you to know.
  • Know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the trailer including its load, and how much of that weight is on the hitch, to calculate if the truck is capable of towing the trailer. There is usually a plate or a decal on the trailer indicating the GVWR. This is the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight of the trailer and its load.

  • Do a pre-trip inspection. You should conduct an inspection of your truck and trailer at least daily and, when travelling, every time you stop. The inspection includes: checking under the hood, checking gauges in the cab, walking around the truck and trailer to check lights, tire pressure and mechanical components, making sure boats and other items on travel trailers are securely buckled down. The final step is to pull ahead slowly and check for brake and steering response. ICBC has compiled a detailed list of things to check in their pre trip inspection document.
  • Realize that speed and weight affect stopping power. Understand what is required of you and your vehicle combination to move and to stop. This includes giving yourself adequate stopping distance and stopping time (at least five seconds between you and vehicle in front of you). As always, inclement weather, construction zones, emergency work, and other unique situations on highways may require you to slow down or even stop with short notice. Be prepared and stay focused.
  • Keep safety in mind at all times. This is a given for all road trips you take but staying safe while travelling with your trailer ensures your journey will end well for everyone. A few things to remember:
    • Passengers are never allowed to travel in the trailer.
    • Propane appliances should be completely closed during travel and equipped with detectors to alert you of a leak.
    • Carry a fire extinguisher on board in case of fire.
    • Make sure water valves are closed, power lines are disconnected and all vents and awnings are completely closed before you take off.
    • Make sure ATVs and boats are properly secured to the trailer.
    • Regular vehicle maintenance is another important part of travelling with or without a recreational trailer; keeping your pride and joy road ready will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
  • Refresh yourself on the rules of the road. It’s always a good time to refresh your knowledge of BC road signs. Take this practice test.

Bonus Tip!

We regularly hear from travellers outside BC asking if they can legally pull a third trailer behind their fifth wheel in our province. Three Vehicle Combinations are NOT legal in BC, due to the unstable handling that results from this combination. The BC Commercial Transport Act Regulations (CTAR) covers this in more detail under section 7.18, It’s also prohibited under Division 19.02 (3) (a) of the MVAR and additional information can be found in Section 5.4 of the Commercial Transport Procedures Manual, but that is getting into the weeds.  If you plan on traveling outside of your home province or state, we encourage you to know the law before you go – we’d hate to have to spoil your vacation plans.

Now that you know the basics rules of the road for recreational trailers, you are ready to make the move to good times ahead.  If you have a question about your configuration – contact the CVSE directly at CVSEgeneralinquiry@gov.bc.ca

If you found this article interesting, you might want to check out some of our others here:

Happy and safe trails to you!

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Page 1 of 451 comments on “7 Things You Need to Know Right Now About Towing a Recreational Trailer in BC”

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  1. Hello, I would like to tow my boat from Blaine to Port McNeil via Tsawwassen-Duke Point Ferry. It is 3.2 meter wide X 10.4 Meter long X 3.6 Meter High and licensed in Washington State. May I use a Washington Oversize Load permit or can I get a BC permit?

  2. Hello, I have a Ford F150 towing a trailer 5000 LBS that is well under my rated towing capacity of my truck 8,000 LBS it also has the towing package. My friend indicated that you can get stopped in Golden, not sure by who, and not allowed to continue unless you have a larger truck. My trailer has its own brakes and is 23 feet. Is there any truth to this ?

  3. Why can’t a rotator tow truck be longer than 41 feet? In an episode of highway through hell when Jamie Davis went to pick up his 3/4 of $1 million rotator it actually came down to a matter of fractions and he stated if the truck was any longer than 41 feet in length it would not be allowed across the border into BC. Why not?
    I’ve asked this question a variety of ways on Google and other search engines and can’t get a straight answer. Can someone out there answer my question?? If so and it’s a knowledgeably correct answer please send me an email-

  4. just out of curiosity, why do i even need a special endorsement to tow a heavier trailer? I don’t see any difference in towing a 4500kg trailer or a 4600kg trailer. the connections are the same, brakes are the same, pre trip is the same. am I missing something, or is this another cash grab?
    (I’ve taken the restriction 20 test years ago, and I thought it quite the waste of time and money)

    • Hi Matthew,

      We would recommend reaching out to ICBC with your question as they regulate drivers licensing classifications and will be able to give you more information.

      Thanks for connecting with us. Safe travels!

  5. Hi.
    Our neighbours insists on parking his boat on a trailer attached to his truck all week long in front of OUR home just out of spite, as I asked them to park by their side, he moved it one meter just to put it in front of our stairs. He only takes it away to go I guess boating for a few hours then puts it right back.
    We don’t park our car there but need to do sometimes with bigger shopping.
    He asked us very in a very insistent way to tell our visitors not to park in front of his house which we have respected for over ten years.
    We are near 70 and live in residential street on a hill and they have plenty by their home and
    a big back lane parking space.
    The lady of the house works for the police.
    This is in the greater Vancouver area ( I don’t want to be specific)
    What are our rights?
    I can’t find any online document that specifies about parking boats on trailers 24/7

    • Hi there, Phil

      Sorry to hear you are having neighbour issues – never a fun thing. Please reach out to the City of Vancouver (or your local municipality) for clarification on local by laws governing street parking. Hope this is helpful.

  6. My Fiat 500e manual says it’s not recommended to tow a trailer with it. U-Haul will apprently sell me a hitch and rent me a trailer. What’s the law on this? How much weight could I put in the trailer?

    • Hello Ryan,

      If your vehicle manual recommends not towing a trailer, we recommend you follow their recommendation. The GVWR (the allowable weight for towing) will tell you the maximum – it changes depending on the vehicle. Hope this is helpful.

  7. Great article and reminder, refresher for all drivers!
    The article implies all operators towing a RV trailer in BC require a heavy haul endorsement or suitable class license, other than 5 or 7, if hauling more than 4600 kg. It would be helpful to distinguish BC residents from other Provinces and or states that may be exempt. For example, there is no code 7 house endorsement or code 20, heavy haul in Alberta, unfortunately. Please correct me if I’m in error, there is no requirement for Alberta class 5 drivers to obtain any further license requirements when traveling in BC aside from complying with total length restrictions, GVWR, GCWR, GAWR and tongue weight.

  8. I pull my trailer with a volvo tractor. The truck was a full highway tractor and i modified it by dropping a axle, installing a deck and a air-ride 5th wheel hitch.
    I hold a class 3 air endorsed licence in Alberta. Will I be allowed to pull my boat behind my fifth wheel trailer.


  9. Why is it illegal to tow a 5th wheel over 41 feet in length, yet most toy hauler triple axle units, and many others, I.e. Grand Design Solitude 375RES, 390RK, all of which are 42-43 feet in length, and for sale in BC RV dealers across the province?

  10. I’ve twice seen these combination vehicles, the second one was pulled over and the driver was getting a ticket. I always wondered how they made it into central B.C. without being pulled over sooner. I already new i was illegal after I had seen the first one because I inquired about it.

    • Hi Shane – thanks for connecting with us here. We believe you are referring to the hitch offset dimension. If so, this can be found in Appendix B of the CTR which is 1.8m for a single or tandem drive or 2.6m for a tridem drive. If you have any other questions, or concerns, you can also call or go to an Inspection station for more info or to get measured. We hope this information is helpful.

  11. Can I pull a Fifth wheel trailer that is over 12.5 m in length as long as the combination of the truck and trailer are under 20m? Of course the GVWR and the GCVW ratings must be within allowable limits.

    • Hello Cary – thanks for your message. A person cannot tow an RV over 12.5m regardless if the combination is under the 20m maximum. We hope this information is helpful.

      • Where does it say this in the MVA or regulations? A fifth wheel is a semi trailer as the tow vehicle Carrie’s part of the load. A 43’ fifth wheel is shorter behind the tow vehicle than a 38’ bumper tow. Seems to me this rule is in a pamphlet only and not in regulation.

    • Hello Robert – our apologies for the delay in getting this response to you. Yes. MVAR 7.07 1(c) requires the auxiliary coupling device (safety chains/cable) to attach the vehicles. Not from the tow bar.

      (c)the vehicles are equipped and connected with an auxiliary coupling device with a breaking strength of not less than the gross weight of the vehicle or vehicles being towed, except that this provision shall not apply where the coupling device is a fifth wheel and kingpin assembly used to couple a semitrailer to a truck tractor.

      Hope this information is helpful. Safe travels.

  12. Our son is coming from Saskatchewan to stay in our 32ft RV for a week this summer, then plans to tow it to Victoria to see his wife’s aunt. The RV is licensed in BC, and their truck is licensed in Saskatchewan. Is that OK?

  13. Hello

    Are there any weigh scale locations in BC where you can accurately measure the weight of your fully loaded tow vehicle , your recreational travel trailer and the weight on each axle to ensure you are not exceeding any manufacturer’s or legal limits?
    Thank you.

  14. DO you require a equalizer hitch in bc for a 2 axil holiday trailer under 4600kg when it is towed by a truck with a 11000gvwr also if you are hauling a 2 axil car trailer 24 ft long do you a equalizer hitch?

  15. Do you need to display insurance stickers on your travel trailer? Cant find any info online anywhere!

    We have insurance but the papers won’t come in the mail before we want to leave. Is electronic okay?

  16. If you are towing a small 14 ft aluminum boat does the boat sides have to be within the fenders of the trailer or can in hang over a few inches on either side ?

  17. The pick up I own does have to tow package and is quite capable of towing. However the truck box is too short to put a 5th wheel hitch in it. Are 5th wheel dollies allowed in BC? The small dolly that hooks onto the tow vehicle and has a 5th wheel hitch on it to tow a 5th wheel trailer???

  18. Apparently you people only like to respond to questions that suite you. I asked a question last week and not only did you not respond but you took it off the comment list.

    • Hi there T Robertson – we are sorry to hear your frustration. We respond to all comments posted on our blog (unless the comment violates our standards of conduct). This blog does hold comments for review before they are posted publicly to the page. As far as we can see, this is the first message we have received from you here. If you could repeat your question, we’d be happy to try to help and get you an answer.

  19. Is it still illegal to tow a second trailer( a golf cart trailer) behind a 5th wheel even with proper frame mounted hitch, safety chains and lighting etc. I am from Manitoba and all prairie provinces including Alberta have allowed this for years. I have a class 2 license with air endorsement and tow with a 1ton dully. I fail to see why BC will not allow this and yet allow B train transports through the mountains. I feel BC needs to review their laws and get in line with other provinces. You may not be aware but Manitoba has some steeper grades than BC.

    • Hello Nick and thank you for your question. There isn’t a separate speed limit for towing a trailer in BC, however; we do encourage you to travel at or below the posted speed limit in order to maintain control over your load. Let us know if you need more information!

  20. Have a Ram 1500 with 5.7 Hemi with a tow rate of 10,000 lbs and have a 5 th wheel trailer at 7000 lbs loaded. Is this truck good enough to go through the mountains from Alberta ( Edmonton Ab ) to the island?

    • Hi there Wayne – thanks for your question. The most important feature for safe winter driving in BC is your winter tires (those with mountain snowflake logo). Remember not to rush, give yourself plenty of time and don’t forget to check your route on DriveBC.ca.

  21. I have a code 7 house trailer endorsement on my license. We are planning to purchase a new 5th wheel toy hauler from a BC dealer that is 43′ 1″ long.
    There is a lot of conflicting information online to the maximum length of RV that can be towed in BC.
    I went to the ICBC office in Victoria and spoke to the head licencing tester. He confirmed that as long as I have my code 7 house trailer endorsement to tow an RV over 4600KG, the RV length doesn’t matter as trailer lengths do not apply to personal RV’s.
    Please can you clarify this for me as the only document I can find on the CVSE site is from 2007 stating that the maximum length of an RV is 41′. I have checked all weights for my 2020 Ford F350 and I will be comfortably under on GCWR, GAWR, and combined truck/rv length under 65′.

  22. I own a 2012 VW Golf TDI with a DSG (automatic) transmission. I am thinking of getting a recreational lightweight trailer to tow with it. Here is the problem. In North America, there are no recommended towing weights for any VW Golf by VW, however in Europe and Australia, the same vehicle (Golf) can tow 1450 lbs without electric brakes, and over 3,000 lbs with electric brakes. From what I have read online regarding the Golf in Europe and Australia, it is an exceptionally good tow vehicle. Since my Golf weighs over 3,000 lbs, can I use the formula of 50% of tow vehicle weight for a trailer without brakes and 100% for a trailer with electric brakes? I am thinking of buying a trailer with no more than 2,200 lbs GVW.

    • Hi Peter. The regulations in BC require you to not exceed the manufacturer’s ratings. We recommend reaching out to VW Canada to see if they can provide you with tow capacity information for your specific Golf. If they are able to confirm what you suspect, you are already on the right track with when electric brakes are and aren’t required for trailers. Brakes are required if the weight of a trailer exceeds 1,400 kg or more than 50% of the tow vehicles weight. Further information on towing trailers can be found here: https://www.cvse.ca/references_publications/trailer_towing_info_sheet.pdf

      Hope this helps!

  23. My understanding is that GVWR of trailer that used for commercial use must be transferred to power unit stock trailer,box trailer,deck trailer,this pushes over 5.500 Kg Wich mean you need N.S.C,fire bottle, triangles or flares,first aid kit.Log book for pre trip and post trip,getting hard to find.I never see this unforced.I feel I have over insured my truck and trailer Wich also have to be inspected yearly.I know someone with roofing company.Hes been stopped many times always over weight nothing is inspected no N.S.C,no log book and never gets charged call me an idiot telling me this B.S. So who wrong .e or him

  24. I’m looking for direct answers to towing a fifth wheel trailer with a 1500. Can a 1500 tow a fifth wheel travel trailer in BC?

    I have been told many times this isn’t possible. Plus, I know of friends who have had issues at the Golden weigh scales with this. Waved in or pulled over and had to turn around or get a rental truck. The 1500 was well with in the towing ability but because its not HD they where told its not allowed. HD meaning, axles, brakes, transmission, frame and and and. But the truck was more than able to tow it. Its legal in Alberta but not BC. So what is the correct answer here please?

  25. My car is a manual VW Jetta with a towing capacity of 1500#. If I get a trailer with a dry weight of 1250# and don’t add any extra weight to the trailer and keep the car’s GVW under its GVWR are we legal? I’ve been told that it is the law that a car’s towing capacity needs to be at least double the trailer’s weight but I can’t find that info anywhere. Is that true?

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. The CVSE has put together a handy pdf for reference. In a nutshell:
      How much can my vehicle tow?
      Check your owner’s manual to find your vehicle’s towing capability. If you tow a load that is too heavy for your vehicle, you create a potential
      safety risk for yourself and others on the road. You may also damage your vehicle. It is important that you be able to stop both your
      vehicle and your trailer. Braking requirements for all trailers are regulated and enforced. You may receive a violation ticket if you carry more weight than you are licensed to carry.
      Q. If I am towing a trailer (or other vehicle), is the weight of the trailer considered tobe part of the load of the towing vehicle?
      No, the weight being towed is not part of the load of the towing vehicle; therefore, you do not need to include it in your calculations. You do, however,
      need to include the weight your trailer will put on the trailer hitch or 5th wheel. The weight on the hitch (known as the tongue weight) is part of the
      load of the towing vehicle.

      Hope that this is helpful!

    • Hi Brian. It’s a steep, winding two-lane paved highway. There should be no issues if you take care. The only restricted road in that area for that type of vehicle is Highway 31 between Gerrard and Trout Lake.

  26. Hey,

    I have seen people with a truck and camper combo (camper in the box of truck) then use a tow bar (without dolly/ trailer) for a small tow vehicle like small Toyota pickup, jeep, Suzuki side kick etc where in the regulations is this ? I see people doing it all the time but yet I can only find something saying the vehicle in tow must be less then 900kg which the ones I’ve seen are not. Are they just breaking the law or have i missed it somewhere ?

    • Hi again Cal – here’s what we heard:

      There is some information regarding towing dollys in section 7.19 of the CTR:

      Towing dollies

      7.19 A person must not drive or operate on a highway a commercial vehicle that is towing a towing dolly if the net weight of the towing dolly plus the gross weight of a motor vehicle, one axle of which is being carried by the towing dolly, exceeds 2 800 kg.

      We suggest you contact any scale to go over any details such as proper securement. You cannot exceed any manufactured ratings of the tow vehicle.

      Scales: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/inspection_stations.htm

  27. If my travel trailer gvw is 11,200lbs and I load it up and drive it across the scales and it comes in under 4600kgs do I still need to get get my code 7 or is it legal to haul it without code 7? And I am a B.C resident

  28. I am a BC resident who drives a BC licenced vehicle and ICBC insured. I have a second home in Alberta and a tent trailer licenced in Alberta (w/ a permanent plate).

    I don’t plan to use this trailer more than 2 months in BC on yearly basis. Having it parked in my Alberta home majority of the time, am I legally allowed to tow it in BC? Both are registered under my name in two jurisdictions. Thank you!

  29. Hello,

    I was told once at a scale towing my gooseneck flatdeck trailer with my Ram 3500 that I had to switch my trailer hitch from a gooseneck ball to a fifth wheel plate/kingpin as the overall length of the trailer was over 40′. Is this true? I can’t find that law anywhere in the BC COMMERCIAL TRANSPORT REGULATIONS.

  30. I am attempting to find out if an 18″ 2×2″ Tow Bar extension is legal in BC, my searches on-line proved fruitless. I have a 10′ flat bottom boat in the back of my Ford Ranger, so need the back down. To tow my 18′ 2-axel camper, I was told to buy an 18″ 2×2″ Tow Bar extension. So far, I’m receiving conflicting information as to legality.

  31. good afternoon,

    I was told that there is a length max for towing a toy hauler in BC. what is this maximum length and is there actually one? so truck and trailer combined length what is the maximum?

    thank you

  32. I have recently bought a new fifth wheel trailer in BC, which according to the manufacturer’s website, has a length of 41’10” (12.750 m).
    This exceeds the 12.5 metres (41′) length as stipulated in the CVSE Recreational Vehicle Towing Fact Sheet.
    My question is how the length of a fifth wheel trailer is measured?
    Is it the dimension from the most rear part of the trailer (including the factory installed bike rack) to
    A) the centreline of the king pin,
    B) the front part of the nose cone of the trailer, or
    C) to the rear bumper of the towing truck?
    I can’t imagine a reputable RV Dealer could/would sell an illegal oversized vehicle in BC.
    But I do want to obtain this information to confirm my trailer is legal in BC and other Canadian Provinces, and to ensure there is not potential for problems arising with ICBC if I have to claim on my insurance policy, because knowing Insurers, they will exploit any loophole they can to get out of paying out on the policy.

    • Good afternoon Martin! It sounds like the CVSE have also responded to your question, but we are going to post their response here, just in case someone else has a similar question.
      The maximum dimensions for a trailer can be found under 7.08(6) of the Commercial Transport Regulations, where it states:

      (6) A person must not, without a permit, drive or operate

      (a) except as provided in paragraph (b), a single vehicle having an overall length in excess of 12.5 m,

      (b) a trailer having an overall length in excess of 12.5 m, but not including the following as part of that length:

      (i) an air deflector, heater or refrigerator unit attached to the front of the trailer;

      (ii) the draw bar of the trailer if the draw bar articulates in the horizontal plane relative to the main load-carrying structural component of the trailer;

      (iii) auxiliary equipment or devices that are not designed or used to carry cargo and do not extend more than 30 cm beyond the front or 10 cm beyond the rear of the vehicle, including, but not limited to, air connectors, electrical connectors, hydraulic connectors, rollers, pickup plates, bumpers, ladders, glad hands, load securement devices or dangerous goods placards;

      (iv) a platform mounted on the front upper portion of the trailer if the platform is used exclusively to assist in the installation or securing or both of load securement devices,

      (c) subject to section 7.27 (1), a combination of 2 or more vehicles

      (i) if the combination contains one articulation point, having an overall length, including its load, in excess of 20 m, and

      (ii) if the combination contains more than one articulation point, having an overall length, including its load, in excess of 23 m,

      (d) a vehicle combination consisting of a jeep and low-bed semi-trailer as allowed by section 7.22 if the combination has an overall length in excess of 23 m, or

      (e) a combination of vehicles that contains a licensed booster axle assembly mounted to the rear of a semi-trailer lowbed and has an overall length that exceeds 23.0 m.

      [en. B.C. Reg. 95/2006, s. 3; am. B.C. Regs. 128/2008, s. 3; 205/2016, s. 1.]
      The CTR defines overall length as being the greatest overall longitudinal distance of the vehicle, so it would be from the front of the fifth wheel to the rearmost point. Unfortunately the bike rack would not meet the allowance under (iii) for auxiliary equipment, so it may need to be removed to help get you under 12.5 m. Permits are not available for travel trailers to exceed the maximum OAL found in 7.08 (6).

      Hope that this helps!

  33. Hi there and thanks for all you do!

    We pull our jeep every year from Calgary to Vernon Bc. We use a very safe blu ox tow bar system and the jeeps lights are activated by the truck. The jeep has no usable brakes while in tow. The tow vehicle is a 2003 f350 diesel single rear wheel.

    The jeeps actual curb weight is 1390kgs
    The F350 weighs 3225 kgs

    The ministries act talks about only motor homes can be tow vehicles for another vehicle but does not mention towing vehicles under 1400kgs without brakes. But you can tow a trailer under 1400 kgs without brakes.

    Doing the calculations we are splitting hairs but if im good by 1 kg im going for it!

    Am I legal to enter BC

    • Hello Darcy,

      Thanks for the comment and kind words! We shared your comment with the good folks in the BC CVSE and they informed us that theinformation you are looking for can be found in Division 5 – Brakes of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations, with 5.02 (3)(c) being the most relevant. If the Jeep’s gross vehicle weight (not curb weight) combined with the dollies net weight is below 1,400 kg’s then brakes are not required. I would advise you visit a scale in Alberta, with the jeep loaded as you intend to have it during transit in BC, to confirm the GVW before your trip in order to avoid any surprises. Hope that this helps!

  34. Hi,
    can you please point me to a site where I can find info for a roadworthy inspection in BC. I want to get a 5th wheel ready for the road, it has been parked for a few years. Thanks

  35. No sure how to ask. I am looking for a small trailer to tow behind my suv but nothing quite right. I have since found atv trailers are perfect but need to know if it is possible to convert it to a road legal trailer and what I would need to do? (Paperwork, inspections, changes required to be road worthy, etc) have asked others but no straight answers.
    Thank you

    • Hi Dirk,

      We sent your question to the good folks at the CVSE and here’s what they had to say.

      It’s difficult to provide an answer with just this information. ATV trailers are not manufactured to on-highway safety standards. However, in general terms, all trailers used or operated on highway must meet all applicable mechanical safety standards as defined in the MVAR and Vehicle Inspection Manual. All components, including the hitch, tires, body and lamps must meet safety standards. Without subjecting a trailer – or modified trailer – to inspection, a compliance or acceptability statement can’t be determined. Hope that this helps!

  36. Hi!

    I will be travelling into BC and I have a one ton dually truck towing a fifth wheel camping trailer. what my question is, is it legal for me to tow my quad trailer with my quad in it behind my fifth wheel camping trailer.


  37. I’m having a really hard time figuring out what’s allowed when trailering on a boat launch.
    ICBC’s “Towing a Recreational Vehicle” (which I THINK applies to boat trailers too) says
    “Never drive with people inside your trailer. It is illegal and unsafe. All occupants must be in the truck.”
    but I can’t find a reference to it being illegal in the BC Motor Vehicle Act and I’m not sure if boat launches are even considered “highways” in BC.

    The only thing I could find about having someone in a boat while the trailer is moving is that in Transport Canada’s BOATsmart program it says you can have someone in the boat as it’s backed down the launch (although I’m not sure if there’s some law allowing it), but do the Provincial laws take priority over what Transport Canada says? Is it really illegal to have someone in a boat while it is driven down a boat launch?

    • Hi Terry,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. We shared your question with our traffic engineering department and here’s what they had to say:

      This is not a straightforward situation. However, ultimately it boils down to the fact that the Motor Vehicle Act and Transportation Act are written (with the exception of some small bits about ferries), in a way that applies to land based vehicle movement only. A boat has no definition or use in the Motor Vehicle Act except as possibly something which could be carried on a trailer. The use of boat launch ramps is simply not covered because that is not the intent of these pieces of legislation. A boat launch ramp is an area of transition. Areas of transition are often not included in legislation and have fewer “rules” associated with their use because it is simply not practical.

      To address your points more specifically:

      • What is a highway? The Motor Vehicle Act and Transportation Act define what constitutes a highway (see below for excerpts from the acts). Generally, a highway is land which is intended for the passage of vehicles and used by the general public. Therefore, one could argue that a public boat launch ramp is a highway if it is available to the general public. However, it is a bit of a stretch.
      • It’s illegal to ride in a boat being towed on a highway? The main (legal) reason one is not allowed to travel in a boat while it is being towed down the highway is due to the requirement for the driver and all passengers to be in a “designated seating position” (Section 39 of the MVA Regs), which includes a seatbelt. The requirement to wear seatbelts does not apply when a vehicle is being operated in reverse (such as backing down a boat launch ramp) – Section 220 of the MVA.
      • Jurisdiction? Fresh water is provincial jurisdiction whereas salt water is federal. So, there may be differences based on the body of water being accessed.

      From the Transportation Act:
      “highway” means a public street, road, trail, lane, bridge, trestle, tunnel, ferry landing, ferry approach, any other public way or any other land or improvement that becomes or has become a highway by any of the following:
      (a) deposit of a subdivision, reference or explanatory plan in a land title office under section 107 of the Land Title Act;
      (b) a public expenditure to which section 42 applies;
      (c) a common law dedication made by the government or any other person;
      (d) declaration, by notice in the Gazette, made before December 24, 1987;
      (e) in the case of a road, colouring, outlining or designating the road on a record in such a way that section 13 or 57 of the Land Act applies to that road;
      (f) an order under section 56 (2) of this Act;
      (g) any other prescribed means;

      From the Motor Vehicle Act:
      “highway” includes
      (a) every highway within the meaning of the Transportation Act,
      (b) every road, street, lane or right of way designed or intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles, and
      (c) every private place or passageway to which the public, for the purpose of the parking or servicing of vehicles, has access or is invited,
      but does not include an industrial road;

      All this being said, it seems like having someone seated responsibly and safely in your boat to help assist you down the boat launch ramp (and only on the ramp) is allowed.

      Hope that this helps!

  38. What are the safety hook up requirements for a car dolly behind a motor-home.
    I have the basket style tie down straps for the car wheels to attach them to the dolly.
    I also have the safety chain hookup for the dolly to the motor-home hitch.
    Do I need separate axle straps to connect the car wheels with the motor-home hitch?

    • Hi Manley,

      We asked the good folks in the CVSE who said it sounds like this is being secured correctly – the car is secured to the dolly, and the dolly has its safety chains connected to the tow vehicle. Everyone is happy! Thanks for connecting with us here to double check.

  39. Are there any requirements for a company vehicle that has company decals to report to weigh scales when pulling a recreational vehicle in BC? The trailer is under the 4600Kg requirement and the towing vehicle has the required capacity.

    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. We sent your question directly to the CVSE and here is what they had to say.

      Commercial Transport Regulations 7.03 (3) states: “If the vehicle(power unit) is licenced over 5,500kg regardless of what kind of trailer they are towing, must report to any open Inspection Station Scale along their route”. If the power unit is under that weight they do not have to report.

      Here is the complete regulation for your reference:

      (1) The driver of a vehicle on a highway, when so required by a peace officer or by any person authorized by the minister, must
      (a) stop the vehicle at the time and place specified by the peace officer or authorized person for the purpose of weighing the whole or part of the vehicle by means of stationary or portable scales, measuring the dimensions of the vehicle and load, measuring and inspecting the tires, inspecting the load carried, or for any other purpose under the Act or these regulations,
      (b) stop the vehicle if the vehicle or the load it is carrying is, in the opinion of the peace officer or the inspector, unsafe for operation on the highways and fix the defect in the vehicle or secure the load, as the case may be, before proceeding,
      (c) drive the vehicle onto the nearest public stationary or portable scales for the purpose of weighing the vehicle and load, or
      (d) rearrange the load on the vehicle or remove the whole or part of the load from the vehicle in order to comply with the provisions of the Act, regulations or permit before continuing to drive or operate the vehicle.
      (2) The driver of a vehicle on a highway, when directed by a traffic sign on the highway to report to scales, must drive the vehicle onto the scales for the purpose of weighing the whole or part of the vehicle by means of stationary or portable scales, measuring the dimensions of the vehicle and load, measuring and inspecting the tires, inspecting the load carried, or for any other purpose under the Act or these regulations.
      (3) Subsection (2) does not apply to the driver of a commercial vehicle of a licensed gross vehicle weight not exceeding 5 500 kg.

      Hope that this helps!

  40. I read that if a house trailer (RV) has a maximum mass greater than 4,600 kg a Code 07 is required for a clas 4 or 5 drivers license,. My question is does this apply to out of province vehicles. There is no such Code in my home province.

  41. Hello can you help me find good source links regarding flat towing in BC. I would appreciate that. My second inquiry is about towing a wagon style trailer with a class 7 or 5?

    • Hi Dustin,

      We need a bit more information from you to get you an answer:

      How long is the trailer (without load)
      How much “hangs over” from the last axle of the trailer (this is the proper measurement) and your right – “what is the load”
      How long is the total combination – power unit and trailer


  42. Hello,
    I will be traveling from Arizona to the Yukon this spring. I am towing a fifth wheel trailer and it will be towing a small ATV trailer. The rig is under GVW and under 65′. I will be entering B.C. near Dawson Creek and traveling to the Yukon via Whitehorse. Everywhere I am towing this configuration is ok but I’m not sure about northern B.C. Do you know if highway law enforcement in upper B.C. has a reciprocity understanding for towing through this area or are they out to get me and the almighty $$$ ?
    I’ve heard from many that I’ll have no problems but I thought I’d ask here too.

    Thanks for your time, Craig From Arizona

  43. Hi, there are rumors about getting fined for leaving a towbar/ball hitch on a vehicle without a trailer. Is this possible? If so which act and section of said act is this written?

  44. I like that you suggest to do a pre-trip inspection at least daily. I can see why this would be a good way to make sure that everything is in good shape and nothing is loose. It might even be good to not only look at things, but to pull and push on them as well. Odds are if they can move around, then they will not last very long on the road.

  45. Hello, I have been advised by my RV dealer in AB that when thing a fifth wheel trailer in BC the 7 pin power cord must be connected to a socket in the bed of the truck, not the 7 pin connector on the rear tow hitch. Is this correct?


  46. I have a Heavily Modified personal 1ton pickup for work and towing purposes, I would like to drive it to the lower mainland to pick up a motorcycle on the flat deck.

    Is my tuck subject to the provincial road safety’s legislation even though im completely legal in my Territory? Tire Protrusion,Exhaust,Suspension ect..

          • Hi Scott,

            All vehicles – including vehicles licensed outside of BC – that operate on BC highways are subject to the provincial Motor Vehicle Act & Regulatory requirements. Vehicles found to be non-compliant may be subject to enforcement. Transport Canada and the BC Motor Vehicle Act – Regulations speak to the requirements that manufactured or modified vehicles must meet.

            In terms of our provincial laws, Part 3 Section 25 of the BC MVA-Regulations covers off the need for inspection.

            ICBC will be looking for the inspection certificate when they go about insuring the vehicle.

            Hope that this helps.

  47. I tow a small camping trailer with a car in Alberta. I would like to go camping with it in B.C. Everything is legal about it in Alberta but I see one rule may be different In B.C. I have heard there is a reciprocity rule where if its legal in the registered province its legal in the other provinces as well. Is this true? The trailer weighs between 1400 and 1700 pounds loaded (630 and 770kg) depending on whats in it, but is over half the weight of the tow vehicle. It has trailer brakes but In Alberta I do not need a breakaway device, do I need one in B.C? Also since it is a car it does not have a tow rating or GCWR, the total GVWR for the car is not exceeded nor is the weight rating for either car axle. The trailer axle, frame and tires are all rated above what the weight is as are the car tires and hitch. The unit easily exceeds the alberta braking distance requirements and the BC rule i found that says Vehicles must have at least 1 horsepower per 150 kg of total GVW. So Do I need a breakaway device and Would there be any other problems or changes I would have to make to tow this in B.C?
    Thank you.

  48. My Dodge Ram has a GVWR of 12200. It has a towing capacity of 15850. These numbers are on the door frame. I just weighed my truck and trailer when they were connected. The truck was carrying 12000 on the two axles and my trailer was carrying 14000 on it’s axles. I’d say that I was in safe territory. Together I’m pulling 26000lbs (truck and trailer).

    However, someone just asked me what my GCWR is for my truck. I didn’t know there was a GCWR. It turns out that my GCWR is 23000lbs. This means that I’m over by 3000lbs!

    Does this mean that I’m travelling illegally? Or do I just need to satisfy the GVRW and Towing Capacity?

    The Gross Combination Weight Rating isn’t even on the truck. I needed to go online to find this number.

    • Hello Mark and thank you for connecting with us here. Unfortunately, GCWR can not be exceeded. It sometimes is not on the door panel but should be in the manufacturers manual for the vehicle or online as you found. The warranty on a vehicle is void if your combined weight exceeds the manufacturers rating. Hope that this helps!

  49. Hi.
    Re towing a 5th wheel with an SUV … is it legal … They make ‘tow dollies’ to pull 5th wheels. An example of one of the many available is this one … http://ridingmode.com/tow-all-dolly/ —- specifically designed to properly mount and tow a 5th wheel with a suitable towing vehicle such as a truck or SUV (I have a Dodge Durango AWD with 5.7 L) Assuming, all the usual things like brakes, lighting, breakaway cable, etc. Is this a legal form of towing in BC ? My question is related to private recreational towing, not a commercial towing question.

  50. I have been told by several different people that we have to have a 3/4 ton truck to pull our fifth wheel trail through B.C. It is a 26 ft. light weight trailer and we have a heavy duty 1/2 ton 4 x 4 chevy truck. We would only be going in the summer time and I don’t want to get stopped for doing something illegal. What are the requirements for pulling a trailer. We are not exceeding the load limitations of our truck. We are presently dealing on a new truck and want to have the right one.

  51. I just purchased a landscaping trailer made of aluminium that ahs an axle rating of 3500lbs, a box rating of 2500lbs and is equipped with electric brakes. My Santa Fe cando up to 5000lbs of towing and has a brake controller. Now, there is different opinions when it comes to speed limits when towing. Some old folks told me there is an 80km/h speed limit on highways in British Columbia when you tow, whereas the trailer place I bought from said it is always posted limit. Which fact is correct?

    • Hello Helmut,

      The Commercial Transportation Act defines a commercial vehicle as:

      SO even a pickup truck is a commercial vehicle.

      When a highway speed limit is posted, say 100km there sometimes will be another sign saying “commercial vehicles, 80km.

      So the answer here is not that you are towing a vehicle that restricts the speed limit, it is because you are a commercial vehicle and when a sign says commercial vehicle you must go that speed limit.

      I hope that is understandable.

  52. Hi,

    I need to tow my truck with another truck about 5 kms home. I cannot find anything clear about it in the motor vehicle act.

    Is it legal for a 1 ton truck to tow a 3/4 ton truck with a properly rated tow strap?

    A licensed driver will be in the towed truck with the engine running, for the brakes, turn signals, & steering. The towed vehicle won’t move forward on its own power when in drive but is perfectly operational otherwise, engine runs, brakes, wipers, lights, & AC works, goes into neutral, park & reverse.


      • Hello again,

        Sorry to be the be the bearer of bad news, but we spoke with the CVSE and told us that the answer to your question is no, because of MVAR
        7.07(6), listed below:

        Towing occupied motor vehicle prohibited

        (6) No person shall tow a motor vehicle if there is a person in or on the towed motor vehicle.

        [am. B.C. Regs. 69/59, s. (p); 46/67, s. 14; 343/77; 256/84, ss. 7, 8; 150/91; 103/2006, s. 1; 97/2009, s. (b) .]

          • Things you should know for towing a trailer.
            Get a Little Help from a Friend.
            Know Your Vehicle’s Tow Rating.
            Ensure the Vehicle and Trailer Are a Good Match.
            Stop the Sway.
            Check the Tires.
            Enlist the Teens for Oversight.
            There’s no confusion about it, flatbed tow trucks are the safest and most secure way to transport an object from one place to another. It is an excellent choice for those with show cars or high-end vehicles which do not wish to use conventional transportation methods for their vehicle.

  53. Hello. I have a truck with a GVWR of 7200 lb and a curb weight of 5677 lb. with a published payload capacity of 1180 lbs. The same truck in the U.S GVWR is also 7200 and curb weight 5670 lbs. (only 7 lbs lighter) with a published payload capacity of 1530 lbs. A 350 lb difference. The U.S. published payload capacity is exactly GVWR minus Curb Weight. Why would the Canadian calculations be different? Is some set weight for passengers already included etc?? I’m baffled. For safety and enforcement considerations, should I just concern myself with the GVWR minus curbweight when considering payload when hauling or towing? Thanks

    • Hi Corey,

      We spoke with the CVSE who told us Canadian and American calculations should be the same, that passengers are not included in the GVWR and that you are correct – the GVWR minus “curb weight” is the weight of the vehicle empty, will tell you what weight you can haul. Hope that this helps!

  54. We’ll be moving from Alaska to Colorado in October. We have a Dodge Ram 2500 4WD that will be towing our 37ft 5th wheel. What are the Canadian laws for snow tires/chains along the ALCAN? Are chains required on the 5th wheel? What about the tow vehicle since it’s 4WD? Our other vehicle, a Chevrolet Trailblazer 2WD will be towing a 12 ft flat-bed tilt-trailer with an ATV on it. Even though the current tires are rated for snow, we planned on putting our studded tires on before we hit the road, but would chains be better? I just want to make sure we’re adhering to all the laws and making our long trek south as safe as possible during the start of winter. Anything else we need to know?

  55. If I have a private plated tractor for personal use not for hire and a 9 wide low bed trailer and pick up my owne mini excavator and my new pickup
    Would that be an issue its a five Axle unit and what kinda permit would I need if I need any

    • Hi Mike,

      Because 8’6” is a legal width, anything over that width personal or for business, must buy a permit. It is $15.00 a trip or you can buy a term permit for a month(30.00 or year for 360.00) by calling the Provincial Permit Center at 1-800-559-9688.

  56. Hi I’m traveling to Bc this October with my travel trailer, it does not have tires that are marked m/s. My new 1500 series gmc has tires marked with the mud and snow symbol and new tread less than 5000km on truck. Just became aware of snow tire requirement for bc highways. I would like to know if I meet the winter tire requirements, before I leave Ontario to visit Nanaimo.

  57. Hi there.
    Not sure if I missed the response, but if I am towing a heavy 12,000+ lb 5th wheel holiday trailer (registered in Alberta), into BC for holidays, do I need to worry about those special license requirements? (I’m an Alberta driver and all vehicles are Alberta registered).

  58. Hello

    I need to trailer a sailboat though BC to Yukon. The boat is 30′ in length and max width is 9’3″ (2.8 meters). I recognize that I need an oversize permit as I am over the 2.6 m limit.

    What sort of conditions can I expect? Will I require a pilot car? Do I need municipal permits as well?

  59. Hello, I have a vehicle that is rated for zero towing capability. But the exact same car in Europe is rated to tow 2200kg.
    Q1 Class1 hitches are commercially available for purchase on N America, can I legally install them?
    Q2Can I install european hitch and legally tow here?
    Q3 can I make my own hitch for the car and legally tow here?
    Q4 what would be the max weight I could tow?

      • Seconding the question by Bob about european tow ratings! If its true that the manufacturers manual rating is supplied for warranty and liability reasons, does that mean the true towing capacity can be found by comparing the gross combined weight and…? The GVWR?

        • Hi Vero,

          The manufacturer’s rating is: GVAWR – gross vehicle axle weight rating
          GVWR – gross vehicle weight rating
          GVWCR – gross vehicle weight combination rating – for towing purposes
          All on the door panel of the vehicle and none of these can be exceeded. You also can not exceed the GVW that you pay to ICBC for insurance.

          If this isn’t enough or the right info, let us know and we can connect you with the CVSE directly.

  60. Is there any regulation that states what the maximum tongue length on a trailer can be? I have a small utility trailer that I would like to transport kayaks on and require a longer tongue to accommodate the length of the kayak.

    • Hi Brandon,

      Thanks for your question about transporting kayaks. I’m checking in with our CVSE folks to get the answer to your question about a tongue for your trailer. Will get back to you here, when I have the answer.

  61. I need to move a 3500 GVWR car, Uhaul rents tow dollies within that weight class, but their tow dollies do not have brakes.
    Total weight of the dolly is 750 lbs + vehicle 3500 lbs = 4250 lbs total. Would I be able to tow this combination to Alberta with a truck equipped with a 5000 lbs hitch, GVWR of 7200 lbs, 8300 lbs max towing capacity, and a GCWR of 14000lbs?

    Also what would the fines be if that is not legal?

    • Hi John,

      We asked the folks at the CVSE and here is their reply:

      A trailer shall be equipped with brakes at each end of each axle, but brakes are not required
      (a) on one axle of a house trailer that is equipped with more than 2 axles,
      (b) on any axle of a trailer other than a towing dolly if the licensed vehicle weight of the trailer
      (i) is 1 400 kg or less, and
      (ii) is less than 50% of the licensed vehicle weight of the vehicle by which it is being towed,
      (c) on any axle of a towing dolly towed by a motor vehicle where
      (i) the aggregate of the net weight of the towing dolly and the gross vehicle weight of the motor vehicle one axle of which is being carried by the towing dolly does not exceed 1 400 kg, or
      (ii) the motor vehicle towing the towing dolly has a gross vehicle weight rating in excess of the aggregate of
      (A) the net weight of the towing dolly,
      (B) the gross vehicle weight of the motor vehicle one axle of which is being carried by the towing dolly, and
      (C) the gross vehicle weight of the motor vehicle towing the towing dolly,
      (d) on any axle of a motor vehicle one axle of which is being carried by a towing dolly

      We hope that this answers your questions. Something to keep in mind is: GVWR is a rating amount for the vehicle, not necessarily what the vehicle weighs.

  62. Hi, great resource you have here. I’m looking at buying an older 5th wheel. I have found two models. Both have been converted or built into toy haulers. The first one is an early 90’s and has a serial number and a gvwr of 6400lbs.The trailer now has 3 7000lb axles instead of two 3200lb axles it came with.
    Axles have electric brakes and 16″ load range G tires and the rear frame has be strengthened. The other 5th wheel trailer is basically the same thing but with three 6000lb axles but the trailer has no vin number as it was home built.
    My question is can the first trailer i taked about be recertified with i higher gvwr somewhere? And can the second trailer be certified at all? I think I can get a vin for it but will it have a gvwr given to it as well when vin is applied?
    I am in Alberta but plan to travel all over B.C with what ever I decide to buy.

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. We shared your question with the CVSE and they have the following response for you.

      We are not sure what Alberta allows in this situation. If you are legal in Alberta, we do honour Alberta decisions while travelling in BC.

      Ist question – A higher GVWR can be applied to a trailer (in BC) with an engineer’s inspection to certify it when heavier axles and rear frame have been added.

      2nd question – Home built trailers can be certified (in BC) given a serial number and the axle(which isn’t home built) will have a rating on it to determine the weight allowed on that axle.

      Hope this helps!

      • Hi again Mel,

        We don’t regulate campers as it is not a vehicle. The size would have to be legal (2.6 m) in width and secured in a way to meet standards of load security. Also if propane is involved it would need to be inspected by the safety authority.

        Also keep in mind that the building products do not cause the vehicle to exceed the GVWR of the manufacturer’s rating.

        Hope that this helps!

  63. 65.6 is the max length for rv can u permit for longer occationly i see toterhomes with race cars that appear to be longer
    Is there afine or what trouble do u get if your over

    • Hi Ted,

      Thanks for asking about toterhomes that exceed the maximum legal length for an RV to be towed. I’m checking with our Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement folks and will get back to you on that.

      • Hi Ted,

        I have heard back from Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement that the overall allowable length for an RV and trailer is 65.6 feet or 20 metres. There are no permits or exception allowed. Exceeding that length would be illegal, and a fine could be possible, with an order to not proceed.

  64. I am looking at buying a 5th wheel it says on the tag gross vehicle weight of 5218KG. I have a class 5 what does getting a code 7 consist of?. My truck can easily haul it F350 dually

  65. Hello,

    I would like to tow my car(2001 Jeep) with a school bus that I’ve just bought. Is this legal in BC? The school bus will have an in transit permit from Alberta to BC.

    Thank you

    • Hi Mike,

      There is not a problem towing a jeep behind a school bus, as long as the school bus is not operating as a school bus, ie. children being picked up and dropped off. Also the towed vehicle must be licenced.

  66. Hello,

    I have one for you, I have a alberta registered toy hauler (43′ triple axle 14000LBs) I bought it while working away. I plan on bringing to bc to do some camping.

    I know bc has that “heavy trailer” endorsement.. how does this work for albertans that do not have that (because it is not reqired in alberta) coming into bc?

    • Hi Justin,

      We do honour another province regulations for drivers licence conditions for recreational travel. However, we only allow a trailer with a hitch (other than a fifth wheel) to be 12.5 m in overall length. That is 41 feet. You mentioned your trailer is 43 feet, which would not be allowed.

  67. I have heard that your wiring harness that plugs in to the bumper for a fifth wheel trailer that the connection has to be in the box of the truck to travel into bc. is this true?

    • Hi Darin,

      Thanks for your comment and patience while we looked into this for you. Nothing in the CVSE inspection manual or regulation specifies that the plug must be in the truck box. Hope that this helps.

  68. We are looking at buying a travel trailer in Alberta (the model was not available in BC – sold out). The dealer in BC advised us to be wary of the trailer not being certificed for BC. Is that true? What should we be looking out for ?

    • Thank you for your inquiry regarding a fifth wheel travel trailer from Alberta. British Columbia does not require a fifth wheel travel trailer to have a Commercial vehicle inspection, it only applies to “motor vehicles”. Hope that this helps!

  69. I bought a new 2015 3500 Dodge Ram with a factory built in fifth wheel/ gooseneck ball….. I have a 40 foot fifth wheel trailer. My question is, can I pull my trailer in British Columbia with the gooseneck ball an is my length gonna be within the legal limit?

    • Hi Danny,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. We spoke with the CVSE and they informed us that the legal length for a pickup and trailer is 20m (65’6”) regardless of which kind of hitch you use. Hope that this helps!

  70. We recently purchased a new boat with tandem axle trailer.
    The combined dry weight of the trailer and boat is about 6300 lbs. Then fuel and accessories.
    The trailer is equipped with surge brakes on both axles and has a GVW rating of 7500 lbs.
    Is this setup legal for towing in BC?

  71. Hi there,
    Im thinking about building a “tiny cabin” at a place i have near Princeton that is designated as “RV” lots. Meaning no permanent structures. I have a trailer that was a dual axle travel trailer before with 2 3500 pound axles and my idea was to build a “cabin” on top of it. It wouldn’t be towed around unless the lease went south for some reason. The idea would to build onto it a 10×21 foot structure. If i followed the height guidelines would there be any issues with this setup as long as i stayed below the weight rating of the trailer? I know i would need a permit to tow because of the load being 10 feet.

    • Hi Daniel,

      The CVSE has responded directly to you with their answer to your question, but we wanted to share their response here, just in case anyone else has the same question.

      “We get a lot of inquiries regarding tiny homes and there has been research on tiny homes by our department and decisions on allowances are under construction.

      The challenge if we are to offer permits for oversize tiny homes is to know that they are built to some sort of criteria. The alternative and our current practice is to limit them to legal dimensions. 2.6 m wide, 4.15 m high, 12.5 m long including axles, hitch, etc. Unlike more typical manufactured homes they do not move under Mobile Home Registry permits and we are not aware of any CSA standard that applies. We hope you find this information helpful and are able to build your tiny cabin to legal dimensions.”

    • Hi David,

      Great question! We spoke with the folks at the CVSE who confirmed that commercial vehicles are required to travel 10 km per hour than the posted limit. But because you are not a commercial vehicle driver, those rules do not apply. Our best suggestion is to contact the BC RCMP and travel at the speed you feel most comfortable at. Hope that this helps!

  72. I pull a horse trailer and the dealer is telling me that in BC I have to have trailer tires on it and my friend is telling me to buy the same size tire in a truck tire, my dealer says truck tires on a trailer is illegal in BC. Any truth to this?

    • Hi Jeanne,

      The only rule we have around tires is: their condition, can’t be bald, must use chains in winter etc. AND
      Can not exceed 100kg per centimeter in width for weight.

      Perhaps the manufacturer has an issue with the axle of the trailer they manufacture that requires a certain tire.

      Hope this helps.

  73. I am planning a trip to Alaska. I have a 5th wheel that is set up to pull an ATV trailer. I have spoken with the RCMP and they said that this would not be legal….
    I have a question about a trailer like device that attach’s to the back of my 5th wheel using to 2″x2″ square stock and the trailer would be attached by bolts to the back of the 5th wheel.
    There is no tongue involved and the trailer has two wheels at the back that would pivot and carry wait.
    Would this be legal????

  74. I just wanted to know if based off of the house trailer endorsement requirement, what applied to people from Alberta vacationing in BC. I have a one Ton truck and my trailer could be over the 4,600KG, but almost always it is under. So does anything apply to out of province people that we need to be aware of. With trucks or RV’s other than being within our rated capacities?

  75. We own a 2007 Salem travel trailer, purchased new in 2007 in Grande Prairie AB. when we lived there. We have since moved to B.C. two years ago. We just brought our trailer here this year but seem to have lost the original bill of sale and the registration slip for the Salem. How do we go about registering it here now in B.C.?

  76. I have conflicting information. I have an 1998 SUV that has a tow rating of 680kgs, GVWR 1791kgs, GAWR FRT 910kgs, RR 990kgs. It uses all the same wheel, brake and suspension components as the V6 version that came out as few years later with a 1580kgs tow rating. I want to use it tow a trailer that weighs 1360kgs that is equiped with brakes. I see there are rules that apply to vehicles manufactured after 2001 that say the trailer must not exceed the tow vehicle ratings. But there used to be a document that said vehicle tow ratings were for warranty purposes. I assume that this was for older vehicles and that new rules came into effect in 2001. I have tried towing this trailer and vehicle handling is not compromised. No axle weights are exceeded. Stopping distances are easily much shorter that required. Mechanically my vehicle is capable of towing the trailer with only normal increased wear one would expect from working components working harder but for the few times a year I want to tow this trailer 20kms, its not significant. What are the laws that apply to my situation?


    • Hi Steve,

      The CVSE has already responded directly to you with an answer, but we wanted to share the answer here as well, in case anyone else might have the same question.

      “It would appear that if you do not exceed axle weights on your motor vehicle and trailer you are compliant on British Columbia highways.

      The CGVWR of the power unit and trailer is a manufacturers number for warranty purposes. Keep in mind, it is best not to exceed this number as you risk transmission trouble and other warranty issues. You also want to verify the hitch rating by manufacturer.”

      Thanks for connecting with us here!

  77. I am looking at building a new aluminum boat and want to know where to find information on trailer licensing relative to width of boat. I am looking at a 9 1/2 foot width, but it will be only 24 feet long and weigh about 6000lbs. Trailer is not an issue but I need to know how to legally license for width as I plan on towing it 5-6 times a year.

    • Hi Stephen,

      The CVSE has responded directly to you, but we wanted to share the response here just in case anyone else has a similar question.

      You will just licence your trailer as normal, utility trailer plate. What you will have to do is buy a permit for over width. Legal width is 2.6 m or 8’ 6”.

      You can purchase this permit by phoning the Provincial Permit Center when you are ready to transport. The cost is $15.00 a trip or you can buy a term permit in which you can make as many moves as you like for $30.00 The permit center phone number is 1-800-559-9688.

  78. I have a registered utility trailer that I recently added a small structure to sleep in while camping. Is there anything I need to do in terms of re-registering it, or any modification I need to complete that will keep it legal?

  79. Can a person who has moved to BC with a vehicle that now has BC lic and Insured Plates, tow a utility trailer that is registered in Albert,a which is being brought into BC from a home in Alberta to be sold in BC as part of a move

  80. Hi. I bought a 17 ft single axle travel trailer for a reno project and Im wondering if I m able to roll up to highway scales to check the weight of my Ram and trailer before and after completiion. Could you help?

    • Hi Pat,
      The good folks at the CVSE have just sent you a response directly, but we wanted to share their response here just in case anyone else has the same question.

      British Columbia does not require a fifth wheel travel trailer to have a Commercial vehicle inspection, it only applies to “motor vehicles”. The requirements you listed below for electrical or gas systems is not in our jurisdiction.

      Sounds like you are doing a great job of investigating your requirements. I hope you enjoy your travels in British Columbia.

  81. hello I have a 31 foot travel trailer with a gvwr of 11290 , its dry weight is 7702 so that means I can carry 3116 of gear water ext ext , I have herd I need a special licence if im over 10000 lbs ? . my question is as long as I don’t load my trailer 100% im fine with a regular licence ? there is no way ill ever need to be even close to full capacity on my trailer . I would be surprised if I had 1500lbs of stuff including water propane batterys food cloths , and what not . my truck is a 2010 f 350 so im good that way. thanks for your time

  82. Hello, my father in law has a large boat he tows from central bc to Prince Rupert, it does not exceed the 8’6″ width, but is heavier than 4,600kgs loaded on the trailer. Why does he need a commercial heavy trailer license for this, it is strictly recreational, no air brakes. His tow vehicle has more than enough capacity for the weight. It’s quite puzzling why recreational “house” trailers have a simple strategy for licensing, but a recreational boat owner has to deal with commercial training, annual checkups and reporting with a physician once 66 years old, etc. thx.

  83. I’ve seen these in the USA while traveling and am wondering if they’re legal in BC? http://www.trailertoad.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/IMG_3224.JPG

    The idea behind them is that this ‘hitch extension’ can take the weight of the tongue when a vehicle is nearing it’s payload capacity but still within GCW. Example would be an F350 with a cargo capacity (GVW – tare) of 3600#, currently loaded with 3000# of stuff and wanting to tow a 8000# trailer. Tongue weight of 800# (10%) would put the vehicle over despite the F350 having a GCW allowing t5he trailer.

    I know they are sold in Alberta & Ontario, so what is BC’s rules?


    • Hello Andrew,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. Unfortunately, a hitch extension is not allowed in British Columbia. The reasons are:

      As per section 7.07 (d) of the MVAR, only a motor vehicle (not trailer) is allowed to be towed behind a “towing dolly”.

      Also, as per section 19.10 (a) (i) of the MVAR, “an axle or axle assembly”, i.e., pony trailer cannot be fitted to the towing dolly.

      • For my knowledge sake then, when does such a device become legal? Minimum GVW? Air-brakes? etc?

        I ask because I see large commercial trucking firms (let’s pick on UPS) that run double 20/23ft trailers (and now 40/53ft on the Coq) with a tow dolly between the pair. I’m assuming air-brakes are required as they, unlike electric/hydraulic, apply automatically if the trailer separates from the tow rig.

  84. Hey there, I live in Alberta and I’m owner & operator of my commercial light duty hotshot and transport business. I only stay within Alberta for my commercial hauling at this point in time, but I am curious. My tow vehicle is an F350 SRW 4WD, Crew Cab, Long Bed. I generally haul my tandem axle equipment/car flatbed trailer which weighs roughly 2000 lbs empty. The Tare weight of my F350 is 7400 lbs with my toolbox with tools etc in it. My trailer is rated for 10,000 lbs GVWR and my F350 has a GVWR of 9900 lbs. I am just curious really if I would ever have an issue going through BC with my truck & trailer set up commercially with my Business name, Tare Weight and my registered commercial GVW weights decaled on both sides of the vehicle (Alberta’s transport laws) I also run a Commercial Class 1 License plate on the truck. Both my truck & trailer have Alberta Registered plates. The trailer is a pintle hitch trailer. Like I said before, I don’t conduct business in transporting commercially outside of my home of Alberta at this point in time, but my question is this. If I was on vacation/holidaying in BC, would I have any issues or criteria to be aware of driving my commercial labeled truck and or trailer through BC? Such as if I was hauling my own ATVs or picking a car up from BC to bring home with me, granted I am purchasing the car etc? Is there any form of paperwork, or permits I would need to do so because I am commercial? My registered GVW is under the 11,794 KGs mark. I have it registered at 11,500 KGs GVW if that makes a difference. I appreciate any info you can give me. Thank you for your time.

    -Dynamo Transport.

    • Hi Emmett,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. This sounds like a question for the good folks at the CVSE. We have sent your question directly to them. Stay tuned for follow up.

    • Hello again Emmett,

      Given your weight and vehicle combination, you are classified as a commercial vehicle in BC. If you are entering BC for business purposes, you will need to have either BC pro-rated on your Alberta registration or call the permit centre at 1-800-559-9688 for a non-resident permit. If you are not travelling in BC for business purposes, you will need paperwork showing the purchase of the vehicle you are transporting or paperwork that shows the ATVs are yours and you are only holidaying in BC.

      Also, your registered weight will require you to stop at any open inspection station, at which time you will have to produce this paperwork.

      Hope that this helps!

  85. Hi, we have a travel trailer that has a dry weight of 6200lbs. GVWR of the trailer is 9600lbs. If I have a tow vehicle rated to tow 9100lbs, will this be an issue in BC? There is NO way I would ever have 3400lbs of additional items/weight in the trailer

  86. Hi
    I live in Alberta and own a piece of property in BC. I have constructed a garden shed for my lot and want to know of any restrictions during transportation. the shed is less than 2000lbs and the trailer will be rated for 7000lbs (car hauler) with brakes on two axles and I have a one ton dully which I am way under its towing capacity. As for height it is lower than my 5th wheel so I assume that is ok but is there a width restriction and if I am over what do I need to do to be compliant?

    • Hi Tony,
      If the manufacturer`s rating indicates you can tow a certain weight using a single axle and that is the weight of your trailer, you would be ok. If you have a heavy trailer and the 2 tires on your single axle is not capable of towing that weight, you would need a “dually“ which is 4 tires on a single axle. Hope that this helps!

  87. HI, I am planning to tow an auto trailer with a 15 uhaul truck. The total trailer weight is within specs, but as it is over 6160 pounds it seems I will need a device so I can operate the trailer brakes independently. This seems like a good safety precaution, but I can’t seem to find any information about these devices and uhaul doesn’t seem to know much either.
    Do you know where I could find some information about these? I know you can’t recommend a dealer but i”m just thinking about if they are easily installed. Thanks.

    • Hello Wyatt,
      While we can’t recommend anyone specifically we did research the BC MVA regarding requirements. We found that the regulations don’t specify a specific device, only what the expectation and requirements are. See below:

      Trailer brakes
      (4) Brakes with which a trailer is equipped shall
      (a) when applied be adequate to maintain control of the trailer,
      (b) when applied not affect the direction of travel of the trailer, and
      (c) where the licensed vehicle weight of the trailer exceeds 2 800 kg, be capable of being applied by the driver of the motor vehicle towing the trailer from his normal seated position.

      If the vehicle or vehicle combination does not meet this requirement or is unable to, it would be considered non-compliant when operating on highway. Hope that this helps!

  88. I am clueless in regards to trailer distribution of weight,etc My bf’s thoughts is that he can move the trailor fully loaded from Washington to California. Is this possible? I do not intend to have my nickers all over the road. I would like to save by moving everything from the storage into the
    trailer and taking it down like that. What should I do?

    Weight is 7,500lbs. Hitch only. His truck pulls 7,500 lb

  89. Hello,

    We will be traveling from Oregon to Penticton, BC this summer for vacation. I have a boat that weighs 3500lbs and 5000lbs with the trailer included. It has surge brakes. My question is that sufficient or do I need actual brakes for the trailer? I was told by my Yamaha dealer that it shouldn’t be a problem since I have Oregon plates but I wanted to make sure before I tow it all of the way up there. Will they stop me at the border to look at the rig set up? I have never been up to BC before so I want to make sure everything is compliant.

    • Hi again Jeff,
      The CVSE responded directly to you, but we wanted to share their reply here in case anyone else was wondering the same thing: Yes, surge brakes are allowed up to 2,800kg or 6,173 pounds.
      Thanks again for connecting with us here. Hope that this helped.

  90. Is it legal to flat tow a vehicle in BC? I have gotten conflicting answers. If the vehicle I am towing is less than 50% of the weight of the vehicle doing the towing, it does not require brakes, so can I tow smaller vehicle with a tow bar? My tow vehicle is 6500Lbs and the vehicle I want to tow is 2500Lbs. I know RVS can do it, can smaller trucks do it as well as long as the towed vehicle is less than 50% of the weigh?
    Thank you

    • Hi Clint,

      The good folks at the CVSE have replied to you personally but we wanted to share their response here just in case others were wondering:

      When towing a vehicle the law looks at it as a trailer. You are right that if the “trailer” is less than 50% of the vehicle doing the towing AND is less than 1400kg (3000lbs) you do not need brakes.

      You would also want to check the manufacturers rating of your motor vehicle to insure it is able to do the towing. Also the vehicle being towed must have licencing on it.

    • The limit works like this. Say you have a truck and it’s Tow Capacity is 2,000lbs. If you go over 50 percent of that capacity you require brakes. If you haul something 999lbs your fine but hit the 1000lb mark. It’s tow capacity not weight. So if your truck is rated 10,000lbs towing you have to be 5,000lbs and above. The tow rating is set on the engine, transmission and braking system installed meaning if they say it can tow it also means it can stop it.

    • Hi Carol.
      Yes. BUT if the size of the trailer hitch is quite large, there might be a situation where the hitch has to be treated as rear projection itself, when no trailer is attached. In that case, the vehicle including hitch could likely not exceed 12.5 m long, per section 7.08(6) and Appendix B of the Commercial Transport Regulations, and two sections of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations would be relevant: 4.20(2) and 19.02(3).

      Lamps or flags on front and rear projections
      4.20 …
      (2) A vehicle on a highway must not carry a load or have an integral part of the vehicle which projects more than 1.2 m to the rear of the load-deck or body of the vehicle unless,
      (a) during the time specified in section 4.01, the extreme tip of the projection is lighted with a lamp that is capable of displaying only red light visible from a distance of 150 m to the rear of the vehicle, and
      (b) at any time other than that specified in section 4.01, a red flag or cloth that complies with section 8.05 (c) of the Commercial Transport Regulations and which is visible to the driver of a vehicle to the rear is attached to the extreme tip of the projection.

      Provisions of Commercial Transport Regulations adopted
      19.02 …
      (3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Division, no person shall, without a permit issued pursuant to section 19.06, drive or operate on a highway
      (a) a combination of vehicles consisting of more than 2 vehicles,
      (b) a vehicle or combination of vehicles so loaded that the load extends more than 1 m beyond the front wheels thereof, or, if equipped with a front bumper, more than 1 m beyond the front bumper,
      (c) a vehicle or combination of vehicles any part of which, or the load upon which, extends more than 4.5 m behind the centre of the last axle of the vehicle or combination of vehicles,
      (d) a vehicle or combination of vehicles the load of which extends more than 185 cm beyond the back of the vehicle or combination of vehicles, or
      (e) a vehicle so loaded that any part of the load extends beyond the sides of the vehicle.

  91. Hi there. I want to build my own car hauler to haul a typical 3,500 lb. car. Obviously has to have brakes with an arrestor. I am wanting to make my own axle because no one has the right size for me. I want it to be a single axle 6,000lb with a 3″ drop – going to use pre-made spindles and brake backing plates and 3″ diameter 1/4″ thick mild carbon steel for the axle itself. Is this allowed? I know I have to show receipts for the trailer parts when I register as well. For the axle it will show the purchase of the items. Thanks.

  92. I am looking to do some camping in B.C. next year. Am i able to tow my brothers travel trailer that is registered and insured in B.C., with my truck that is registered and insured in alberta?
    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Travis,
      This is courtesy of one of our CVSE Commercial Transport Advisers: “Thank you for your inquiry regarding camping in British Columbia. As long as both vehicles are registered and have valid insurance it is not a concern that one is British Columbia and the other is licenced in Alberta.
      I hope you have an enjoyable camping trip.”

    • Hello Travis,

      We asked ICBC about your question and here is their reply:

      You are OK to tow a BC registered trailer in BC with your AB registered truck, as long as it’s for personal use (non-commercial) for up to 6 months (touring/vacation). You should check with AB to ensure they have no concerns but as long as AB is fine with him towing a BC registered trailer, BC has no concerns.

      Hope that this helps!

  93. We are planning to bring an 8′ utility trailer into BC to carry our inflatable pontoon boats. This trailer weighs about 600# and I do have a title to it. However, Oregon does not require a license for this trailer and it is not licensed. Will we be allowed to bring it in for a two week trip?

    Thank you, David

    • Hi David,

      While the CVSE has responded to your question directly, we are posting the response here as well in case anyone else has the same question.

      Thank you for your inquiry regarding travel in BC.

      Your trailer, while not required a license in Oregon, does need to have coverage in BC. We do sell a temporary operators permit, but it is from A to B and as I understand you would like to travel around for two weeks? If you are just going to one place you can order a permit by phoning our permit center at 1-800-559-9688.

      I would also recommend contacting your licencing department to see if they could put a binder on your insurance to cover your trailer while out of state.

      I hope you are able to enjoy your holiday with your pontoon boats.

      Hope that this helps!

  94. We have just purchased a 4 horse gooseneck trailer (2006 Silverlite). Can anybody tell us if we need to get an inspection done on the trailer before we can insure it to bring it home? We are picking it up on Vancouver Island and bringing it back to Langley. If we so need an inspection first, can we just get an A to B permit without inspection and them have it inspected in Langley?

    • Hi Rick,
      The requirement for a trailer inspection depends on usage and trailer weight. The definition in the Commercial Transport Act reads as follows:
      “trailer” includes a vehicle without motive power designed to be drawn by or used in conjunction with a motor vehicle and constructed so that no appreciable part of its weight rests on or is carried by the motor vehicle, but does not include
      (a) a trailer having a gross vehicle weight of less than 1 401 kg that is licensed under the Motor Vehicle Act,
      (b) a trailer that is
      (i) designed, constructed and equipped for human habitation, or
      (ii) designed, constructed and equipped for human occupancy for industrial, professional or commercial purposes, or
      (c) a boat, horse, snowmobile, automobile or motorcycle trailer that is not used for business purposes or financial gain;

      As you will note under subsection (c) “Horse” trailers are note included as part of the commercial trailer definition and thus would not trigger for inspection. Purchasing a Temporary Operating Permit from ICBC is an option which excludes the requirement for inspection anyways and would allow the vehicle to travel from A to B. The cost and whether ICBC will issue it to this specific vehicle is at their discretion as we don’t have all the details about the vehicle.
      Hope this helps.

  95. I have heard conflicting opinions on this subject, I would like to ask once again.
    I have a swivel wheel trailer that I use to haul my motorbike behind my fifth wheel, I purchased this so I could travel through the US in the states that will not allow pulling behind a fifth wheel, all states have approved this method of hauling my bike behind the fifth wheel.
    I am planning on going through BC down into the USA, and wanted to know for sure if this is not legal.
    I am leaving within the week, I just need to know if I have to bypass BC on my travels.
    thank you,


    • Hi again Dale,

      Here is the official word:

      These configurations are not allowed in BC, in fact they are prohibited in a number of ways:

      First, Section 7.12 of the Commercial Transport Regulations prohibits the operation of “self steering” axles such as these swivel wheels.

      Second, BC does not allow the operation of three-vehicle RV combinations, as explained in section 5.3.14, Chapter 5, of the Commercial Transport Procedures Manual.

      Third, if one says instead that this is a frame extension on the second vehicle (and therefore it is not a three-vehicle combination), then the fifth wheel trailer would require certification from an approved secondary manufacturer, certifying that the modified vehicle meets Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS). And it would still be equipped with “self steering” axles.

      Sorry it’s not the news you were hoping to hear.

  96. I have a truck that is allowed to haul 17100lbs. My proposed trailer a GVWR of 18000lbs. If I maintain an ACTUAL weight on the trailer below my truck limit am I legal? My main concern is what is used to determine if I’m legal. Actual weight or GVWR weight on decals?

    • Hello Dennis,

      The answer to your question is “yes”, but there is more to it. There are three kinds of weight limits on trucks and trailers (and their component parts), and you can’t exceed any of the three.

      1. Manufacturers’ ratings: The GVWR is the weight rating, from the manufacturer, stating the maximum weight that that piece of equipment is built to support. Lots of different components have manufacturers’ ratings on them (such as the axles, the tires, the hitch), in addition to the overall rating on each of the two vehicles. A manufacturer may also provide a specific maximum ‘towing capacity’ for a vehicle. None of those ratings can be exceeded.

      2. Licensed weight: In BC, pickup trucks, which have a cargo-carrying body style, must be licensed for at least 1.5 times their empty weight, but the vehicle owner can request that the vehicle be registered for more. Except for tiny utility trailers (under 1400 kg and for non-commercial use), the registered weight on the truck must be high enough to include the weight of the trailer and any load. However, it is pointless to request a registered weight that is higher than the manufacturers’ ratings – see the paragraph above.

      3. Regulation (or permit) weights: Commercial vehicles that are large enough that the limits in the Commercial Transport Regulations apply to them also can’t exceed the maximum weights set out there, on tires, axles, axle units, vehicles and vehicle combinations, unless they are a vehicle/load that is eligible for and travelling under a permit for additional weight.

      We are not sure what you mean when you say your truck is ‘allowed’ to haul 17,100 lbs. You may have already done some of the calculations explained above. In any case, there is no reason you cannot tow a trailer that is rated for more than you need, provided you are within all the other equipment ratings and the insured or registered weight on your truck, and the regulation or permit weights for your vehicle combination, if they apply.

      Hope that this helps!

  97. I’ve been told that if you have a tri-axil (6 tires) on your fifth wheel the the vehicle you are using to tow it also needs to have 6 tires, so a dually or something larger would be needed. Is this true? Cause we would like to get rid of the dually but can’t if we need it for moving our fifth wheel.

    • Thank you for your question, Vania. We recommend checking your owner’s manual for towing capabilities of your particular vehicle. In this case, if you need a dual single axle on your truck, it would depend on the weight of your trailer, not the fact that it has a tri-axle.

  98. I would like to clarify. Can you put a fifth wheel hitch on top of a wooden boxliner if you make sure it is tightened regularly in case the wood compresses? If not, can you install it with tube spacers so it is still metal to metal or do you have to remove the boxliner (or cut around the rails). And is a plug in the truck box mandatory in BC?
    Thank you,
    Erika =)

    • Hi Erika,
      It is recommended that the hitch be installed and attached to an integral part of the vehicle. Further, the installation of the hitch should be based on the manufactures instructions. Any variance from that, is not recommended. Hope that this helps!

      • So if it is on top of the wooden box liner is it legal to tow in BC? And do you need an extra plug in the box or can you plug in over the tailgate to the bumper plug?

        • Hi again Erika,
          Because we can’t know for certain that your wooden box liner is an integral part of the vehicle, we can’t say yes to your question in certain terms. We can say that there is no specification required for wiring, only that vehicle lights must function as required. We hope that this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions, or you can connect directly with the good folks at the CVSE here: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/contacts.htm Hope that this helps!

  99. Not quite on topic but I’m not sure who to ask. I would like to haul a canoe or kayak in the back of my pickup for personal use, not commercial. I know about the red flag being necessary.
    But what length of a canoe or kayak can extend over the end of a pickup with the tail gate down? i.e. pickup bed is 8 feet with tailgate down. What length can extend past that?
    Thanks for your help.

    • Here’s the response from the CVSE: The Motor Vehicle Act 4.20 refers to 1.2m beyond the rear deck of the vehicle needing a flag or a light if travelling during darkness. The MVA has adopted the Commercial Transport Regulations which states in section 7.31, appendix B, that you are allowed a 4m rear overhang from the last axle, which is probably a lot more than you need. Hope that this helps!

    • Hi Steve,
      Jan Lansing, our Commercial Transport Policy Advisory, has followed up with an email. To summarize, in BC, a fifth wheel coupler is specifically defined in our Commercial Transport Regulations, in this way:
      “fifth wheel coupler” means a device that is mounted on the vehicle chassis and that consists of a skid plate, associated mounting brackets and latching mechanism that couples or connects to a kingpin located on the other vehicle or component; The device pictured at the web link you provided would be considered a ‘ball hitch’, not a ‘fifth wheel’.”

      The next step is the process to have a piece of new technology, such as the one you mention, reviewed for potential acceptance in the province.

      • OK. So this hitch is more akin to a gooseneck ball in a truck bed. Where it differs is that it is not on the floor of the bed but, rather, raised on a support structure in order to meet the ball to kingpin conversion block. Are goosenecks legal in some part of the code? The next question is whether a “raised” gooseneck pin meets the regulations.

        p.s. Can you provide a link to the code addressing the hauling of fifth wheels and trailers.

        • Hi Steve,
          The trailer you’re talking about would be considered a ‘pony trailer’ in our regulations, and it is fine to use in BC as long as he does not exceed any of the manufacturers’ ratings on his axles, trailer or hitch, and has appropriate insurance, registration and driver license in his home jurisdiction.

          Our general dimensional limits would apply to this combination, and those maximum dimensions are:
          • 2.6 m wide
          • 4.15 m high
          • 12.5 m long for the trailer, and 20 m long for the trailer and pickup together

  100. I have purchased a 29′ toy hauler with a 50 liter factory installed fueling station. I am told we are not allowed to carry gas in this tank on an inland ferry. It must have diesel. I have been told to empty my 50 litres of gas into 2 x 25 liter Gerry cans and put 10 liters of diesel in the tank instead. Can you verify this?

  101. I Have An Older Dodge quad cab 4×4 Dually 5 Speed Manual Diesel with Pretty Good Power But I am about to possibly buy A pretty Big Boat with a fifth wheel trailer. Loaded The Trailer is 14.600 lbs with the boat and While I have the Power to pull it i need to know if I am Legal to pull it. Also the boat is 9 foot beam so over 102 inches what kind of permits and sigs will i need to tow it?

    • Hi Corey,

      We asked the good folks in the CVSE about this and here is what they had to say: We are not aware of any specific prohibition stating that it is illegal or a violation for having the ball hitch in the vehicle receiver when not towing. Only other regulation that comes to mind, depending on what the enforcement officer is saying, would be Motor Vehicle Act Regulation Division 7 section 11 under the schedule of approval of a motor vehicle, where it states: “No part of a vehicle may have a sharp or ragged edge which could injure persons or objects.” – This would be at the discretion of the officer and would be a far stretch from what the intent was of this statement. Hope that this helps.

  102. i have an 18 travel trailer in bc. What type of tires do I need for my trailer?
    Can I use passenger car or light truck tires? Or is it required by law
    To have trailer tires? Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

  103. I am having a problem understanding why another small trailer like a car trailer or dolly for example is not allowed behind a fifth wheel. I know it is not legal, but do not understand the logic behind it. This would be the exact same configuration as a B train on a commercial tractor/trailer with another trailer behind. this is a common combination on lumber carriers and I have also seen logs hauled this way. So if you had a commercial vehicle licence and you were within you weight limitations, Why not? I bought my 36 foot Montana in Southern Oregon and I saw several combinations like in Washington.

  104. I have a 1993 3/4 ton Chevy truck and it has a bumper hitch which states the maximum trailer weight is 3500lbs and maximum tongue weight is 350lbs. I have recently purchased a 1978 tent trailer which is almost exactly like my neighbours 1980 tent trailer which he ran through a scale when it was loaded and he mentioned that the tent trailer was 1900lbs loaded. My question is are these bumper hitches legal to use to tow my tent trailer. I don’t know what the tongue weight of my tent trailer is but I can lift it off the ground so it cannot be too heavy. Any suggestions or clarification would be greatly appreciated

  105. Restoring a 1969 13 foot triple e travel trailer and want to tow with my 2007 canyon. Any foreseeable problems. I cannot find the trailer weight but exoect that it is no more than a boler.


  106. Indeed, know the weight of your load. You need to be sure your vehicle can handle it. Knowing how the weight is positioned is good too. If you have most of the weight at the back, the back end will swing farther.

  107. I have bought a 1995 Chevy Suburban and am planning on going camping in BC this summer (I am an Alberta residence). My question is two-fold:

    1. As per a previous post, I am planning on towing an older 24′ trailer with a GVW of 6500 lbs, but the manufacturer specifies a maximum tow weight of 6000 lbs. I will be weighing the trailer at a commercial scale before embarking to ensure compliance with manufacturer limit, but will the trailer GVW result in non compliance?

    2. I am looking at upgrading drive train to 2005 suburban (engine, transmission, rear differential, brakes) with tow rating of 8200 lbs (same vehicle GVW). Given that I have proof of origin of components, will this allow legal towing at the donor vehicles capacity?

  108. We will be purchasing a 18ft travel trailer this weekend. I know we go to ICBC to register it, do they also provide insurance? If so, does anyone the ballpark of how much this costs? Someone told me that it’s insured under the towing vehicle?
    Thanks for the help.

  109. I have a Ford 350 dually registered in Ontario. We plan on cruising acrross Canada, ending in BC for 4 months, which includes the annual inspection date. Does BC have a reciprocal arrangement which would preclude returning to Ontario for inspection?
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. If your vehicle was here (in BC) and required an inspection, the owner of the vehicle would be able to get a BC inspection and it would be valid while operating on highway.

      If Ontario has insurance requirements that the vehicle must have a Ontario inspection, then they should be contacting someone in Ontario because we would not know the specifics.

      Hope this helps. Safe travels and enjoy your trip – sounds like a great one!

  110. Hi:

    I have read through all the posts on this blog, and found lot of helpful information.

    I would like to verify one thing.

    We are towing a 31′ trailer with a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel. The towing capacity of the trailer is 7500 lbs.

    The GVWR of our RV trailer is 7600 lbs, but we never get close to that, it just has a lot of capacity. We usually weigh in around 6500 lbs. Would this setup be legal, or would we automatically get a ticket for having a trailer with a higher GVWR then the tow vehicle is rated for?

    Thanks, and thanks for this great resource.


    • Hello Randolph,

      Since your example was so specific, the good folks at the CVSE have replied directly to you. Should you have any other questions or concerns, please let us know!

  111. What kind of vehicle is required to tow an RV with a dry weight of 4900 lbs. in BC.Have heard of people being told their vehicle is not sufficient for towing even when GVWR has not been exceeded.Is there a factor for braking capacity or something else that comes into play here?…would appreciate any advice or input on this subject…..thanks

    • Hi Bob,

      MVAR3.b.i.ii states if a trailer is less than 1,400kg and is less than 50% of the licenced vehicle weight of the vehicle by which it is being towed ” no brakes on the trailer are required.

      Hope that this helps!

  112. We would like to tow a 45 foot trailer (vintage 1956 ABC Supercoach) from Montana into BC. What do we need to do to accomplish this due to the trailer length?

  113. Hi
    Question about putting a truck camper on a truck. The length of the box is 6 foot 6 inches with the tailgate down its length is 8 foot 5 inches, is it legal to put on a 9 foot camper on this truck with those dimensions and overhang of the tailgate.

      • Hi Dale,

        Here’s the scoop:

        The Motor Vehicle Regulations state that you can have a legal rear overhang of 4m measured from the center of the last axle. At over 1.2m rear overhang from the body of the truck you require a red flag. If you need further help and are close to an inspection facility, it might be helpful to have your truck and camper weighed, as the more rear overhang you have can negatively affect the weight on the rear axle.

        I hope this helps!

    • Hello,
      MVAR3.b.i.ii states if a trailer is less than 1,400kg and is less than 50% of the licenced vehicle weight of the vehicle by which it is being towed ” no brakes on the trailer are required. Hope that this helps and happy travels!

    • Hello,

      The Commercial Transport Regulations allow 9,100kg on a dual axle (4 tires) If you have 2 tires on the axle you are only allowed by regulation, 100kg per centimeter of tire width. It would be helpful to weigh both vehicles to determine if you need a dual axle based on the gross weight. I am not certain of the regulations in other provinces. Hope that this helps!

  114. I’m considering purchasing a 5th wheel that has a “dry weight” of 11835 lbs. The GVWR is not available until next month as the owner has the trailer in for servicing. My 2500 GMC duramax has a towing capacity of 12,000 lbs according to the owners manual. The pin weight of the trailer of 1950 lbs (taken from spec sheet) is less than my 2500 lb truck capacity so I’m good there I think. If I purchased this 5th wheel and towed it “dry” i.e. all tanks empty, would I be legal in BC? I’m from Alberta. I guess I need to know if I have to use the GVWR of the trailer to see if I’m in compliance. Or perhaps I can get a weigh scale weighing if that’s acceptable.

    • Hi Randy,

      The basic weight rule for commercial style vehicles that are smaller than full size commercial vehicles (meaning pickups and trailers) is that you cannot exceed the manufacturers’ ratings on the axles or on the vehicle overall.

      That’s from Section 19.11 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations. The wording there is that you can’t exceed the manufacturers’ ratings without a permit, but in fact, there is no permit available for weight on those vehicles.

      You will need to know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the trailer as well, because it cannot be exceeded, whether or not the towing unit has enough room in the towing capacity for it. It is concerning that the dry weight of the trailer you are describing is so close to your towing capacity, as it makes it very likely you would be over as soon as there was any load on the trailer at all.

      Another thing to consider is insurance. You will need to have enough insurance on the truck to include the weight of whatever you are towing, up to the maximum (the manufacturers’ ratings.)

      Finally, because you are coming in from Alberta, and this sounds like a vehicle combination intended for working, you may want to have a look at the information about the non-resident commercial vehicles in section 1.2, Chapter 1 of the Commercial Transport Procedures Manual, especially the sub-section on the Canadian Agreement on Vehicle Registration (CAVR).

      You are very welcome to call our contact with the CVSE (if you still have questions, or would like a hand working with this information.
      Jan Lansing
      Commercial Transport Advisor | Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement
      Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
      Phone: (250) 953-4026 | Fax: (250) 952-0578

  115. Hi,

    I am a resident of Washington. I would like to vacation in BC with my truck and fifth wheel Toy Hauler. The truck/RV combination is within prescribed weight limit and is legal in WA state without special permit or Driver’s license endorsement. Will I be allowed to operate in BC while on vacation or is a special permit/endorsement required?

    • Hi Mark,

      Just to confirm – your truck and rv combination is within 4,600 kg (as outlined in the blog?) If so, you will not require a special permit to travel on BC highways.

    • Hi Jim,

      The maximum legal width allowable on BC highways is 2.6 m. To be clear – when we say ‘maximum legal’, we mean ‘maximum without an oversize permit’. If you wanted to haul something beyond this width, you would be required to get a permit before you travelled. Hope that this helps!

    • Hi Aaron,

      Is the truck you are speaking of a tow truck? Or a standard pick up? You might be able to pull someone, who is helping you steer with a winch but a tow truck pulling a vehicle cannot have a passenger occupy the towed vehicle.

      • I have a jeep that will run, but a bottom end bearing is broken so I can’t drive it to the shop of my choice, as it doesn’t have enough power.
        Can I pull it with a standard pickup, or do I need to pay for a tow truck? I know in other countries you can do this with a rope between vehicles.

  116. Hi I am moving from Saskatchewan to BC this winter and I know winter tires are a must on my truck which I do have but I am renting a 5X8 U-Haul trailer and I was wondering if the trailer needed snow tires or chains on them?

    • Hi Megan,

      We spoke with the folks in the CVSE and they told us that the expectation is that the power unit is equipped with winter tires, but the trailer is not specifically required. Thanks for connecting with us here!

  117. would like to know if there is any regulation concerning trailer hitch length. I have a 10 ft. camper on a 350 hd. would like to tow a 93 tracker behind . the trailer hitch would have to be under the tail gate approx. 20inches. the trailer hitch receiver is commercial grade and could take that length to the hitch ball. any thoughts ..thanks ….Dave. P.S all done for B.C.

  118. Can I tow an Alberta licensed and insured trailer with my vehicle registered in BC? In either BC or the rest of Canada? Am I covered in case of an accident on my tow vehicle?

      • Is it legal for me to pull a BC travel trailer with a US truck? My father has loaned me his truck, which is registered in the US, to use to pull my BC registered travel trailer on a trip from BC to Michigan. I’ll bring the trailer back home to BC and then the return the truck to my father. I’ve just recently be told I may not be able to do that. Could you shed some light in this? Thanks!

        • Hi Abby,
          As long as the trailer and truck have valid licensing in their home jurisdictions, and there is no commercial use at all (strictly touring), there is no vehicle licensing issues for BC. We have full reciprocity with the US for vehicle licensing.

          That said, in BC
          If the trailer weighs:
          • 1401 kg up to 2800 kg it will need functioning:
          o brakes at each axle
          o break-away device
          o safety chains attached to an anchor point on the tow vehicle
          • 2801 kg – 4600 kg
          o All of the above plus
          o Independent braking in the truck
          • 4601kg and over
          o All of the above plus,
          o the driver will need the heavy trailer endorsement (or class 3 minimum) on his/her driver’s license to pull it.
          All axles on the truck and/or trailer weights (regardless of weights above or use) must be not exceed any:
          • axle rating
          • tire capacity
          • hitch rating
          • safety chain rating
          These ratings are on the doorpost of the truck and/or on the devices themselves.

  119. A friend of mine has an older boat and trailer which is equipped with hydraulic surge braking system. We replaced all the bearings and seals, brake shoes, master and slave cylinders and machined the brake drums and also replace all the brake fluid.
    He was told by someone else that surge brakes are now illegal and has to change them over to electric over hydraulic.

    The boat fully loaded with fuel, water and everything else that seems to end up in a boat and trailer weighs in at 7300lbs (3300kgs)

    Is the information he was given true and has to convert his trailer to electric over hydraulic?

  120. So, the tow vehicle GVWR is applied to the combination of truck and trailer rather than the combined axle ratings? Does this not eliminate many half ton tow vehicles on the road since the GVWR of the half ton is comprised mainly of handling, stopping and acceleration characteristics under loaded conditions for a single vehicle without trailer and can be overcome very readily by a number of modifications including heavier suspension, improved brakes etc? I believe the requirements for any other jurisdiction I have travelled have only been axle ratings and tire ratings, the former not being able to be upgraded at all.

    • Hi Mike,

      We asked the folks in the CVSE and here is what they had to say:

      A vehicle GVWR is related to the maximum weight that the vehicle by itself is allowed to have.
      The manufacturer’s Gross Combination Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) is the combined maximum gross vehicle combination weight allowed by the tow vehicle’s OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for the tow vehicle and trailer as a vehicle combination.

      Half-ton pickups may have a wide range of GCVWRs, depending on the engine size, braking capacity, and Final Reduction Gear Ratio (for traction purpose). Owners of pickup trucks needed to
      inquiry about the GCVWR of their equipment via the truck’s OEM.Aftermarket modifications do not come into consideration on the OEM’s GVWR or GCVWR.

      • That’s an interesting response. But here is an interesting snip from that response which is what has me confused:

        “A vehicle GVWR is related to the maximum weight that the vehicle *by itself* is allowed to have.
        The manufacturer’s Gross Combination Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) is the combined maximum gross vehicle combination weight allowed by the tow vehicle’s OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for the tow vehicle and trailer as a vehicle combination.”

        The reason that is interesting is because by definition, the truck and trailer combo is no longer a vehicle by itself. The tongue weight of a travel trailer applies forces on the receiver, rear of the frame, and rear axle. Each axle is designed to run up to and including it’s GAWR safely, the frame and associated mounting points, even with OEM equipment, are designed to run at full axle load at any given time. Braking, cooling, all of the above. It is truly a strange rating.

        At any rate, I appreciate your reply- it’s unfortunate we are unable to travel to BC because of this. There are many vehicles *without* trailers in tow that exceed the GVWR, so it’s a little confusing.

        • Hi again Mike!

          Sorry about the confusion. Here is a response to your response. If you have further questions after this, let us know or you can connect directly with the CVSE (http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/index.htm)

          The truck OEM’s GVWR and GCVWR ratings are not arbitrary settings: these limits were tested rigorously by the OEM to ensure safety and performance. GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) is predominantly confined by the axle’s bearing strength and brake’s retardation force. The sum of the GAWR must be lower than the GVWR to account for the total braking capacity (sizing of the air-brakes reservoir, air-brakes line size and brake timing etc.) of the vehicle as a whole. It is against the law to have a truck running with axle weights exceeding the GVWR. We welcome you Mike to visit British Columbia with a compliant and safe vehicle or vehicle combination.

          • We are certain to visit Fairmont as we do every year, just a shame we have to leave the trailer behind until the two oldest kids are out on their own in a couple years. I do appreciate you takin the time to clear the confusion up though.

  121. It’s great to read the emphasis on safety. There are way too many people towing travel trailers and 5th wheels that do not understand the inherent dangers and take the task too lightly. I’ve seen fatal accidents involving RVs and it was driver error that caused these accidents. When towing a trailer of any sort you need to check your ego at the door and error on the side of safety.

  122. I would like to attach a swivel wheel tote to the back of my 5th wheel rv trailer, it is attached on 2 points on the bumper and has a single swivel wheel. Is this permissible in BC.

    • Hi Ron,

      Under the Commercial Transport Act Regulations 7.18, three vehicle combinations are very restricted. I have been told that the arrangement you are talking about would likely fall under 7.18 (1) (b) — a combined weight under 11,000kg. This would not be legal in BC.

      Here is an excerpt from the legislation (http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/30_78):

      Three-vehicle combination
      7.18 (1) A person must not drive or operate on a highway a 3-vehicle combination of vehicles
      (a) consisting, in part, of a semi-trailer and pony trailer, or
      (b) having a gross combined weight less than 11 000 kg.
      (2) Despite subsection (1), a person may, without a permit, drive or operate on a highway a 3-vehicle combination of vehicles if the combination consists of
      (a) motor vehicle,
      (b) a towing dolly, and
      (c) a licensed motor vehicle, one axle of which is carried by the towing dolly.
      (3) A person must not, without a permit, drive or operate a 3-vehicle combination consisting of a truck and 2 trailers, or a logging truck combination that includes 2-pole trailers.
      [en. B.C. Reg. 95/2006, s. 3.]

      If you want to confirm that this applies to your situation, or gain greater clarity, here is a link to the inspection stations contact numbers: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/inspection_stations.htm (You may want to be equipped with a photo of the setup you are considering).

  123. I’m thinking of getting one of those new dodge ram 1500 Ecodiesels. Towing capacity is 9,200 pounds and I wanted to tow an Arctic Fox (7500 pounds) through the Rocky Mountains. I’m worried about not having enough power in the higher elevations with the little 3.0L, although I have not read anywhere on the internet that these trucks are not enough… but at the same time, it’s the Rockies so I’m a bit worried.

  124. Hi Terry,
    When determining if my rv trailer does not exceed the weight limits for my truck/trailer combination, do I use the actual weight of the units as measured at a weigh scale, or the manufacturer’s GVWR and GCWR? ie, my truck weighs 6000 lb and the trailer 7500 lb. The total of 13500 lb is under the GCWR of 15,000 lb. However the GVWR of the truck is 8200 lb and the GVWR of the trailer is 8400 lb for a total of 16,600 lb which is over the 15,000 lb GCWR.

    • Hi Don,
      You will need to use the actual measured weight (from a weigh scale) and then compare that to the manufacturers gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr). If the actual weight is under the gvwr and gcwr then you should be good to go.

  125. We are purchasing a 5th wheel and are installing a fifth wheel hitch. We were told that the wiring box needed to be mounted inside the box instead of plugging it in where the wiring is originally below the tailgate?

    • Hi Terry,

      Motor Vehicle Act Regulation (MVAR) does not prescribe where and how the mounting of the wiring box is, MVAR Division 4 – Lamps – specifies the appropriate lighting devices and how they must function. Hope that this helps. Thanks for connecting with us here!

    • Hello again Angie,

      We spoke to the folks in the CVSE and they informed us that no, a fifth wheel hitch cannot be installed on wood. Any vehicle hitch must be attached directly to structurally adequate frame components and must be installed in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

      Hope that this helps clarify it for you.

  126. Hello I’m from Alberta. A friend told me that my half ton pickup cannot tow my 28ft travel trailer into BC even though my vehicle is well within its limits just because the trailer is too long. I’ve had it weighed and am well under the vehicles limits for all weights. Is this true? This length limitation is something I’ve never heard of and is disappointing since I did alot of research before buying this combination tow vehicle and trailer.

  127. I understand a heavy trailer endorsement is needed on a BC class 5 license to tow a holiday trailer in excess of 10,000 lbs. How does this apply to out of province drivers? Is this just an ICBC thing or is it BC gov regulation? If so, what is required by an Alberta driver visiting BC with a holdiday trailer > 10K?

    • Hi John,

      We sent your question to the good folks in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement department and here is what they had to say:

      “A visitor from out of province that is here for pleasure use can operate in BC with their vehicle combinations legally as long as they are licensed appropriately in their home jurisdiction. Basically, if John’s DL is legal in Alberta for his truck and travel trailer then he is ok to operate here while on vacation. Reciprocity is granted.”
      Hope that this helps, if you have any other questions, let us know or send an email to the CVSE at: http://www.cvse.ca/contacts.htm

      • I just want to be sure we are legal for our upcoming BC visit as I am with Law Enforcement. In your Feb 12, 2014 response to John you indicated that there is reciprocity for out of province visitors. We are legal to tow in Colorado and have a 2012 Ram 2500 diesel with a GCWR of 22000 lbs., a curb weight of 7711 lbs., and a 39′ trailer with a GVWR OF 10500 lbs. The trailer weight slightly exceeds the provincial regulations of 4600 kgs. Does reciprocity apply to US visitors?

        • Hi Bill,
          The restriction that occurs at 4600 kg trailing weight in BC is on the driver’s license. We’ve consulted with the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) and they confirmed that if you are properly licensed in your home jurisdiction for the vehicle combination that you’re operating, then you are good to drive in BC.

          By the way, ICBC publishes a great guide that’s full of safety tips and useful information for towing recreational vehicles. If you’re interested in having a look, you’ll find that guide here: http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/types-licences/Pages/Towing-a-recreational-trailer.aspx

    • Hi Margaret,
      Sorry, this configuration isn’t legal in BC. Straight from our Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement branch, this could post significant operating concerns and therefore not legal. No permitting is available for this either. For more info, check the Commercial Transport Procedures Manual under 5.4 Recreational Vehicle Combinations. Reference: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/ctpm/Chapter_5.pdf
      Thanks for the question.